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Matt D. Hoffmann, Todd M. Loughead and Gordon A. Bloom

The general objective of the current study was to explore the experiences of elite level athletes who reported being peer mentored by other athletes during their sporting careers. The primary purpose was to identify the mentoring functions provided by athlete mentors, while the secondary purpose was to examine the outcomes related to peer mentored athletes’ (i.e., protégés) mentoring experiences. Individual interviews were conducted with 14 elite peer mentored athletes, and the data were analyzed using a hierarchical content analysis. The results indicated that athlete mentors provided a variety of specific functions that facilitated protégés’ progression through sport and development from a personal standpoint. The findings also showed that protégés benefitted in terms of enhanced performance and confidence, and also demonstrated a willingness to provide mentorship to their peers. In sum, the results of the current study may be used to enhance the effectiveness of peer mentoring relationships between athletes.

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Megan E. O’Connell, Vanina Dal Bello-Haas, Margaret Crossley and Debra G. Morgan

Regular physical activity and exercise (PA&E) reduces cognitive aging, may delay dementia onset, and for persons with dementia, may slow progression and improve quality of life. Memory clinic patients and caregivers described their PA&E and completed the Older Persons’ Attitudes Toward Physical Activity and Exercise Questionnaire (OPAPAEQ). Caregivers and patients differed in their PA&E attitudes: patients were less likely to believe in the importance of PA&E for health promotion. PA&E attitudes were explored as predictors of self-reported exercise habits. Belief in the importance of high intensity exercise for health maintenance was the only variable that significantly predicted engagement in regular PA&E. Moreover, caregivers’ attitudes toward high intensity exercise predicted memory patients’ participation in PA&E. These findings may aid in development of exercise interventions for people with memory problems, and suggest that modification of specific attitudes toward exercise is an important component to ensure maximum participation and engagement in PA&E.

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Nicole G. Dubuc, Robert J. Schinke, Mark A. Eys, Randy Battochio and Leonard Zaichkowsky

Within the current study, the process of adolescent burnout is considered in relation to perceived contributors, symptoms, consequences, and subsequently, effective and ineffective coping strategies. Through case studies, the researchers sought the burnout experiences of three competitive female gymnasts. Participants were selected based on scores obtained from Raedeke and Smith’s (2001) Athlete Burnout Questionnaire. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the process, athlete data were considered in tandem with interviews from at least one parent and one coach. Transcribed data were segmented into meaning units, coded into a hierarchy of themes and verified by each respondent. Despite common trends among the participants, differences were also found in relation to symptoms, contributors, and the progression of the condition. Implications are provided for the athlete/parent/coach triad and also for sport psychologists.

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George J. Holland, Kiyoji Tanaka, Ryosuke Shigematsu and Masaki Nakagaichi

This review examines the influences of physiological aging processes on connective tissue, joint integrity, flexibility (range of motion [ROM]), and physical functions of older adults. Studies that attempted to improve older adults' ROM are also critiqued. Multiple mechanisms of musculoskeletal and soft-tissue degeneration, as well as disease processes (osteoporosis, arthritis, atherosclerosis), contribute to significant decreases in neuromuscular function and ROM in older adults, all of which can be exacerbated by disuse influences. No delineation of disuse effects on the rate of aging-related decrements in ROM can be provided, however, because long-term investigations (with physical activity controls) have not been conducted. Research efforts have documented both upper and lower extremity decrements in ROM with development of physical impairments, reductions in basic and instrumental activities of daily living, and progression of disability. There is limited research evidence that either specialized stretch-training or general-exercise intervention protocols moderately improve ROM in older adults and the frail elderly.

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Jean Côté, John H. Salmela and Storm Russell

The purpose of this study is to report the knowledge used in training and competition by 17 expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. A qualitative research methodology was used to collect and inductively analyze the data. The knowledge elicited for the competition component was categorized as competition site, competition floor, and trial competitions. These categories indicated that the coaches are minimally involved with the gymnasts in competition. The knowledge of the coaches elicited within the training component were categorized as coach involvement in training, intervention style, technical skills, mental skills, and simulation. Properties of these categories that were extensively discussed by the expert coaches, such as teaching progressions, being supportive, and helping athletes to deal with stress, are consistent with the literature on coaching and on sport psychology. Other aspects considered important in the sport psychology literature, such as developing concentration skills, were not discussed as thoroughly by the expert coaches.

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William C. Whiting, Robert J. Gregor and Marie Halushka

Eight male javelin throwers were filmed while throwing new-rules javelins during competition at five meets over a 2-year period. Body segment kinematics and javelin release parameters were assessed relative to their contribution to throwing performance. The data suggest that successful throws, as judged by distance thrown, are characterized by higher release speeds, longer last-step lengths, less flexion of the front-leg knee during the final plant phase, and an orderly progression of peak speeds at the hip, shoulder, and elbow from the onset of double leg support until release. Individual variability in performance was associated with differences measured between several throwing variables. Limitations inherent to two-dimensional analysis were identified that highlighted the need for three-dimensional investigation of the javelin throw.

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Todd G. Goldbeck and George J. Davies

Context:

Functional testing of patients is essential to clinicians because it provides objective data for documentation that can be used for serial reassessment and progression through a rehabilitation program. Furthermore, new tests should require minimal time, space, and money to implement.

Purpose:

To determine the test-retest reliability of the Closed Kinetic Chain (CKC) Upper Extremity Stability Test.

Participants:

Twenty-four male college students.

Methods:

Each subject was tested initially and again 7 days later. Each subject performed 1 submaximal test followed by 3 maximal efforts. A 45-second rest was given after each 15-second test. The 2 maximal-test scores were averaged and compared with those from the retest.

Results:

The intraclass correlation coefficient was .922 for test-retest reliability. A paired-samples t test (.927) was conducted, and the coefficient of stability was .859. The results indicate that the CKC Upper Extremity Stability Test is a reliable evaluation tool.

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Grant M. Duthie

Increased professionalism in rugby has resulted in national unions developing high-performance models for elite player development, of which physical preparation is an important component, to ensure success in future years. This article presents a 5-step framework for the physical preparation of elite players in a development program. Competition movement patterns and the physical profiles of elite players are used as the basis of the framework and reinforce the repeated high-intensity nature of Rugby Union. Physical profiling highlights a player’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of strength, speed, endurance, and body composition. These qualities need to be managed with an understanding of their interaction. This framework should be implemented within the yearly plan to ensure that benefits are maximized from the training undertaken. The success of the framework in developing elite players’ progression can be evaluated using standardized physical, performance, and competency tests.

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Laura Capranica, Maria Francesca Piacentini, Shona Halson, Kathryn H. Myburgh, Etsuko Ogasawara and Mindy Millard-Stafford

Sport is recognized as playing a relevant societal role to promote education, health, intercultural dialogue, and the individual development, regardless of an individual’s gender, race, age, ability, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. Yet, it was not until the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London that every country’s delegation included a female competitor. The gender gap in sport, although closing, remains, due to biological differences affecting performance, but it is also influenced by reduced opportunity and sociopolitical factors that influence full female participation across a range of sports around the world. Until the cultural environment is equitable, scientific discussion related to physiological differences using methods that examine progression in male and female world-record performances is limited. This commentary is intended to provide a forum to discuss issues underlying gender differences in sport performance from a global perspective and acknowledge the influence of cultural and sociopolitical factors that continue to ultimately affect female performance.

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Liam A. Slack, Ian W. Maynard, Joanne Butt and Peter Olusoga

The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a Mental Toughness Education and Training Program (MTETP) in elite football officiating. The MTETP consisted of four individual and two group-based workshops designed to develop mental toughness (MT) and enhance performance in three English Football League (EFL) referees. Adopting a single-subject, multiple-baseline-across-participants design, MT and referee-assessor reports were evaluated. Self and coach-ratings of MT highlighted an instant and continued improvement in all three referees during the intervention phases. Performance reports of all referees improved throughout the intervention phases compared with the baseline phase. Social validation data indicated that an array of strategies within the MTETP facilitated MT development. Discussions acknowledge theoretical and practical implications relating to the continued progression of MT interventions in elite sport.