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Michelle McCalpin, Blair Evans and Jean Côté

Competitive engineering is a process whereby sport organizations modify the rules, facilities, and equipment involved in sport to facilitate desirable athlete outcomes and experiences. Competitive engineering is being increasingly adopted by youth sport organizations with empirical evidence positively supporting its influence on skill development and performance. The purpose of this study was to explore young female athletes’ experiences in their modified soccer environment. Seventeen recreational and competitive soccer players, aged 8–11, participated in semistructured photo elicitation interviews that featured several visual qualitative methods (i.e., athlete-directed photography, drawing exercises, and pile-sorting) to facilitate insight on their sport environments. Results revealed that the athletes’ competitively engineered soccer experience was perceived as being a distinct environment that emphasized personal development, positive relationships, and the underlying enjoyment of sport. These findings shed light of how youth sport structure modifications influence the athletes’ experiences, providing practical implications to further promote positive youth sport experiences.

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Kathleen Williams, Lavon Williams and H. Scott Strohmeyer

This longitudinal investigation examined the shift from use of a marking time to an alternating stepping pattern by young children. A set of twin males was videotaped between ages 37 and 46 months climbing stairs of 3.8-17.8 cm height. One boy began to alternate consistently on the highest steps at 41 months, the other at 46 months. Anthropometries (leg lengths) and a measure of foot overshoot (maximum height of the foot over the stair) were used to investigate the timing of the shift for the 2 boys. Magnitude of overshoot decreased with age and with increased use of the more advanced pattern. Immature balance and an initial need to visually guide the foot to the next step may be important factors in the timing of the pattern shift.

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William G. Thorland, Glen O. Johnson, Craig J. Cisar, Terry J. Housh and Gerald D. Tharp

This study assessed strength and muscular power of elite young male runners in order to determine the relationship of these characteristics to age and specialization in either sprint or middle distance events. Forty-eight national junior-level sprint and middle distance runners were evaluated for isokinetic peak torque for leg extension as well as muscular power and fatiguability. Peak torque values were greater for the older runners and for the sprinters when measured at higher velocities. However, when adjusted for body weight, the peak torque values of the sprinters became significantly greater at all testing velocities. Muscular power values were also greater for the older runners, but event-related differences only appeared for peak power and mean power measures (being greater in the sprinters).

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Guellich Arne, Seiler Stephen and Emrich Eike

Purpose:

To describe the distribution of exercise types and rowing intensity in successful junior rowers and its relation to later senior success.

Methods:

36 young German male rowers (31 international, 5 national junior finalists; 19.2 ± 1.4 y; 10.9 ± 1.6 training sessions per week) reported the volumes of defined exercise and intensity categories in a diary over 37 wk. Training categories were analyzed as aggregates over the whole season and also broken down into defined training periods. Training organization was compared between juniors who attained national and international senior success 3 y later.

Results:

Total training time consisted of 52% rowing, 23% resistance exercise, 17% alternative training, and 8% warm-up programs. Based on heart rate control, 95% of total rowing was performed at intensities corresponding to <2 mmol·L-1, 2% at 2 to 4 mmol·L-1, and 3% at >4 mmol·L-1 blood lactate. Low-intensity work remained widely unchanged at ~95% throughout the season. In the competition period, the athletes exhibited a shift within <2 mmol exercise toward lower intensity and within the remaining ~5% of total rowing toward more training near maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) intensity. Retrospectively, among subjects going on to international success 3 y later had their training differed significantly from their peers only in slightly higher volumes at both margins of the intensity scope.

Conclusion:

The young world-class rowers monitored here exhibit a constant emphasis on low-intensity steady-state rowing exercise, and a progressive polarization in the competition period. Possible mechanisms underlying a potential association between intensity polarization and later success require further investigation.

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Nicholas D. Parr, Chris J. Hass and Mark D. Tillman

Cellular phone texting has become increasingly popular, raising the risk of distraction-related injuries. The purpose of this study was to compare alterations in gait parameters during normal gait as opposed to walking while texting. Thirty able-bodied young adults (age = 20 ± 2 y, height = 171 ± 40 cm, mass = 61.7 ± 11.2 kg) who reported texting on a regular basis were tested using an 11-camera optical motion capture system as they walked across an 8 m, obstacle-free floor. A reduction in velocity (P < .05) was seen along with additional significant changes in spatial and temporal parameters. Specifically, step width and double stance time increased, while toe clearance, step length, and cadence decreased. Although many of the changes in spatial and temporal parameters generally accompany slowed gait, the complex distraction task used here may have amplified these potentially deleterious effects. The combination of the slower gait velocity and decrease in attention to the surrounding environment suggests that an individual who is texting while walking could be at a greater risk of injury. Tripping injuries while texting could be more likely due to the decreased toe clearance. In addition, increased step width may increase the likelihood of stepping on an unstable surface or colliding with obstacles in close proximity.

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Sabine Felser, Martin Behrens, Susanne Fischer, Mario Baeumler, Ralf Salomon and Sven Bruhn

Purpose:

To investigate differences in muscle activation of both legs between the straight and the curve and changes in muscle activity during a 1000-m time trial (TT) and their relationship to the change in skating velocity in 9 young short-track speed skaters. The authors recorded skating times and EMG data from different leg muscles during maximum-effort skating trials on the straight and in the curve, as well as during a 1000-m TT.

Results:

Muscle activation differs between the straight and the curves and between legs; ie, average activities of selected muscles of the right leg were significantly higher during skating through the curves than in the straights. This could not be observed for the left leg. The reduction in speed during the 1000-m TT highly correlates with the decrease in the muscle activity of both the tibialis anterior and the rectus femoris of the right leg. Muscle recruitment is different in relation to lap section (straight vs curve) and leg (right vs left leg). The decreased muscle activity of the tibialis anterior and rectus femoris of the right leg showed the highest relationships with the reduction in skating speed during the 1000-m TT.

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Jorge E. Morais, António J. Silva, Daniel A. Marinho, Vítor P. Lopes and Tiago M. Barbosa

Purpose:

To develop a performance predictor model based on swimmers’ biomechanical profile, relate the partial contribution of the main predictors with the training program, and analyze the time effect, sex effect, and time × sex interaction.

Methods:

91 swimmers (44 boys, 12.04 ± 0.81 y; 47 girls, 11.22 ± 0.98 y) evaluated during a 3-y period. The decimal age and anthropometric, kinematic, and efficiency features were collected 10 different times over 3 seasons (ie, longitudinal research). Hierarchical linear modeling was the procedure used to estimate the performance predictors.

Results:

Performance improved between season 1 early and season 3 late for both sexes (boys 26.9% [20.88;32.96], girls 16.1% [10.34;22.54]). Decimal age (estimate [EST] –2.05, P < .001), arm span (EST –0.59, P < .001), stroke length (EST 3.82; P = .002), and propelling efficiency (EST –0.17, P = .001) were entered in the final model.

Conclusion:

Over 3 consecutive seasons young swimmers’ performance improved. Performance is a multifactorial phenomenon where anthropometrics, kinematics, and efficiency were the main determinants. The change of these factors over time was coupled with the training plans of this talent identification and development program.

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Søren E. Larsen, Henrik S. Hansen, Karsten Froberg and Jens Rokkedal Nielsen

This study investigated a group of young elite cyclists at the age of 19–20 years. The cardiac characteristics, left ventricular function and structure, after long-term and high intensity endurance training, were examined by echocardiography during resting conditions. In comparison with an age-matched control group, the elite cyclists had significantly lower systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and total body fat and a significantly higher physical fitness. Left ventricular mass, left ventricular mass indexed for differences in body size, and both systolic and diastolic dimensions of the left ventricle were increased significantly in the elite cyclist group. No significant difference was found in left ventricular function. Left ventricular diastolic function was examined (E/A-ratio, E = early passive, A = late active, atriale induced transmitral diastolic flow) and showed no significant difference between the two groups in spite of the structural changes observed in the left ventricular structure. We conclude that structural but not functional cardiac changes can be observed in elite cyclists when examined during resting conditions.

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Tara K. Scanlan and MichaeI W. Passer

This field study examined the intrapersonal and situational factors related to the stress experienced by 10- to 12-year-old girls participating in competitive youth soccer. Factors potentially related to competitive stress were assessed at preseason, midseason, pregame, and postgame periods. Competitive stress, measured by the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory for Children, was assessed 30 min. prior to and immediately following a competitive game. Results indicated that higher pregame stress was related to high competitive trait anxiety and basal state anxiety as well as low self-esteem and team performance expectancies. The situational factor of game outcome (win, tie, loss) was the predominant variable associated with stress exhibited after the game, with losers evidencing the highest and winners the lowest postgame stress. The most important intrapersonal factor related to postgame stress was the amount of fun experienced during the game. The findings were quite similar to previous field research with young male soccer players, indicating that both sexes seem to share common sources of stress.

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Jan Rintala and Susan Birrell

The availability of female role models is examined through a content analysis of Young Athlete magazine. Two research questions are posed: Do males and females receive differential treatment in Young Athlete? Does the representation of males and females in Young Athlete reflect actual participation rates? Young Athlete depicts sport as a male activity. For example, less than one-third of all photographs depict females, and the percentage decreases with the prominence of the photograph. Compared to actual participation rates, Young Athlete subtly distorts girls’ involvement. Girls are markedly under-represented in team sports, even those they dominate numerically. Discussion focuses upon the issue of fair treatment. The conclusion that statistical representation is a safe but narrow definition of fair treatment is explored with reference to current theoretical perspectives on media.