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Kristoffer Henriksen, Carsten Hvid Larsen, Louise Kamuk Storm and Knud Ryom

Young competitive athletes are not miniature elite athletes; they are a distinct client group to whom sport psychology practitioners (SPPs) increasingly deliver services. Interventions with this client group are often undertaken by newly educated SPPs who are in need of good guiding principles. Yet, there is a lack of research informing SPPs’ work with this group. In this current study, semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with four experienced practitioners about their most successful interventions in competitive youth sport. Analysis showed three major themes: (a) young athletes should be equipped with a holistic skills package that enables them to handle a number of existential challenges; (b) young athletes are embedded in an environment (coaches, experts, teammates etc.) that should be involved in the interventions; and (c) interventions with young athletes should maintain a long-term focus. These themes are discussed in the context of current literature on sport psychology service delivery.

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Mike Sleap, Barbara Elliott, Martha Paisi and Helen Reed

Background:

There are concerns about the future health of young people due to inactive lifestyles. However, evidence about their physical activity levels is not extensive, especially with regard to affluent young people. This study aimed to investigate whether young people from affluent backgrounds met public health recommendations for physical activity.

Methods:

Diary accounts of lifestyle activity were collected from 219 students ages 9 to 15 y attending a fee-paying school in England.

Results:

Pupils spent an average of 121 min per day participating in physical activities of at least moderate intensity, considerably more than public health recommendations of 60 min per day. However, almost a quarter of these young people engaged in less than 60 min of physical activity per day of at least moderate intensity.

Conclusions:

The picture to emerge was one of a balance between sedentary pursuits like television and homework and physical activities such as sport and active play.

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Eva-Carin Lindgren, Ulla Tebelius and Bengt Fridlund

Sport participation or regular physical activity is often seen as a factor, which leads to better health and well being. Sport also has a social function, as most of the activities are performed together with other people. However, while club sports in Sweden have a stimulating effect on young men, there is a risk that they do not provide enough scope for young women. In particular, early specialization and a high level of seriousness do not suit all young sportswomen. The purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical understanding of the ways in which sport has influenced young women’s lifestyles in terms of their attitudes to physical activity in adult life. The data were collected using strategic interviews and analyzed using the grounded theory method. Based upon the results, young women’s physically active lifestyles varied depending on how they valued their sport in combination with how they handled their sport. Sport was regarded as having a positive effect on health and well being. This led to the young women studied intending to pursue a physically active lifestyle also in adult life. They enjoyed participating in sport, but not particularly sport with a high level of seriousness or a high level of vigor, which is what characterizes most club sports today.

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Eva-Carin Lindgren and Bengt Fridlund

The purpose of this study was to develop a theoretical understanding of what could influence exercise adherence in physically non-active young women. Interviews with twelve physically nonactive young women were strategically selected and analyzed by grounded theory. The results were that several factors could influence exercise adherence in physically non-active young women, and that these factors can be regarded as a number of interrelated dimensions. The influence was coming either from the exercise or from the environment connected to the exercise. The participants wanted to feel enjoyment and to learn something during the exercise (recreation/learning influence). They also wanted to feel belongingness during the exercise (social influence). An influence that promotes health or builds skills (investment influence) could be a trigger to start exercising among the participants, but not to maintain exercise adherence. Influence coming from the environment (enabling influence) was both important and stimulating for physically non-active young women in establishing regular exercise. It is important to present the model developed in this study to communities, sports federations and other authorities working with health promotion activities so that they can explore innovative ways to promote exercise adherence among physically non-active young women. Good examples could be to offer non-competitive sports as well as to develop well-designed exercise programs for physically non-active young women.

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Jason Moran, Gavin R.H. Sandercock, Rodrigo Ramírez-Campillo, Oliver Todd, Jay Collison and Dave A. Parry

Purpose:

The purpose of this intervention study was to investigate if a low-dose of plyometric training (PT) could improve sprint and jump performance in groups of different maturity status.

Method:

Male youth field hockey players were divided into Pre-PHV (from -1 to -1.9 from PHV; Experimental: n = 9; Control = 12) and Mid-PHV (0 to +0.9 from PHV; Experimental: n = 8; Control = 9) groups. Participants in the experimental groups completed 60 foot contacts, twice-weekly for 6 weeks.

Results:

PT exerted a positive effect (effect size: 0.4 [-0.4–1.2]) on 10 m sprint time in the experimental Mid-PHV group but this was less pronounced in the Pre-PHV group (0.1 [-0.6–0.9]). Sprint time over 30 m (Mid-PHV: 0.1 [-0.8–0.9]; Pre-PHV: 0.1 [-0.7–0.9]) and CMJ (Mid-PHV: 0.1 [-0.8–0.9]; Pre-PHV: 0.0 [-0.7–0.8]) was maintained across both experimental groups. Conversely, the control groups showed decreased performance in most tests at follow up. Between-group analysis showed positive effect sizes across all performance tests in the Mid-PHV group, contrasting with all negative effect sizes in the Pre-PHV group.

Conclusion:

These results indicate that more mature hockey players may benefit to a greater extent than less mature hockey players from a low-dose PT stimulus. Sixty foot contacts, twice per week, seems effective in improving short sprint performance in Mid-PHV hockey players.

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Stephanie Truelove, Leigh M. Vanderloo and Patricia Tucker

Background:

Many young children are not meeting the Canadian physical activity guidelines. In an effort to change this, the term active play has been used to promote increased physical activity levels. Among young children, physical activity is typically achieved in the form of active play behavior. The current study aimed to review and synthesize the literature to identify key concepts used to define and describe active play among young children. A secondary objective was to explore the various methods adopted for measuring active play.

Methods:

A systematic review was conducted by searching seven online databases for English-language, original research or reports, and were eligible for inclusion if they defined or measured active play among young children (ie, 2 to 6 years).

Results:

Nine studies provided a definition or description of active play, six measured active play, and 13 included both outcomes. While variability in active play definitions did exist, common themes included: increased energy exerted, rough and tumble, gross motor movement, unstructured, freely chosen, and fun. Alternatively, many researchers described active play as physical activity (n = 13) and the majority of studies used a questionnaire (n = 16) to assess active play among young children.

Conclusion:

Much variability in the types of active play, methods of assessing active play, and locations where active play can transpire were noted in this review. As such, an accepted and consistent definition is necessary, which we provide herein.

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Joanne N. Hodder, Tova E. Plashkes, Regan A. Franklin, Heather K. Hickey and Monica R. Maly

Coactivation of the knee extensors and flexors increases knee joint contact forces, which may lead to degradation of the articular surfaces. This study investigated the effect of neuromuscular fatigue induced by submaximal, repetitive, dynamic contractions on coactivation of knee musculature in young and middle-aged women. Data from 10 young women (24.6 ± 1.8 years) and 8 middle-aged women (55.4 ± 4.2 years) were analyzed. Measures included peak knee extension and flexion torques and the average amplitude of surface electromyography of rectus femoris and biceps femoris. Coactivation ratios were calculated from these activations. To induce fatigue, participants completed up to ten sets of 50 concentric knee extension and flexion contractions at 60°/s. A two-factor analysis of variance was used to determine the effect of age and fatigue. The young group showed higher peak torque compared with the middle-aged group (P < .001). During flexion, biceps femoris activity increased after fatigue when both groups were considered together (P = .018). During extension, biceps femoris activity was higher in the middle-aged than young group (P = .043). Middle-aged women exhibited a trend for greater coactivation during knee extension compared with young women (P = .066). This coactivation likely contributed to extension torque decrements in middle-aged women.

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Marie-Jasmine Lalonde-Parsi and Anouk Lamontagne

Whether a reduced perception of self-motion contributes to poor walking speed adaptations in older adults is unknown. In this study, speed discrimination thresholds (perceptual task) and walking speed adaptations (walking task) were compared between young (19–27 years) and young-old individuals (63–74 years), and the relationship between the performance on the two tasks was examined. Participants were evaluated while viewing a virtual corridor in a helmet-mounted display. Speed discrimination thresholds were determined using a staircase procedure. Walking speed modulation was assessed on a self-paced treadmill while exposed to different self-motion speeds ranging from 0.25 to 2 times the participants’ comfortable speed. For each speed, participants were instructed to match the self-motion speed described by the moving corridor. On the walking task, participants displayed smaller walking speed errors at comfortable walking speeds compared with slower of faster speeds. The young-old adults presented larger speed discrimination thresholds (perceptual experiment) and larger walking speed errors (walking experiment) compared with young adults. Larger walking speed errors were associated with higher discrimination thresholds. The enhanced performance on the walking task at comfortable speed suggests that intersensory calibration processes are influenced by experience, hence optimized for frequently encountered conditions. The altered performance of the young-old adults on the perceptual and walking tasks, as well as the relationship observed between the two tasks, suggest that a poor perception of visual motion information may contribute to the poor walking speed adaptations that arise with aging.

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Toby G. Pavey, Nicola W. Burton and Wendy J Brown

Background:

There is growing evidence that regular physical activity (PA) reduces the risk of poor mental health. Less research has focused on the relationship between PA and positive wellbeing. The study aims were to assess the prospective associations between PA and optimism, in both young and mid-aged women.

Methods:

9688 young women (born 1973–1978) completed self-report surveys in 2000 (age 22 to 27), 2003, 2006, and 2009; and 11,226 mid-aged women (born 1946–1951) completed surveys in 2001 (age 50–55) 2004, 2007, and 2010, as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Generalized estimating equation models (with 3-year time lag) were used to examine the relationship between PA and optimism in both cohorts.

Results:

In both cohorts, women reporting higher levels of PA had greater odds of reporting higher optimism over the 9-year period, (young, OR = 5.04, 95% CI: 3.85–6.59; mid-age, OR = 5.77, 95% CI: 4.76–7.00) than women who reported no PA. Odds were attenuated in adjusted models, with depression accounting for a large amount of this attenuation (young, OR = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.57–2.55; mid-age, OR = 1.64 95% CI: 1.38–1.94).

Conclusions:

Physical activity can promote optimism in young and mid-aged women over time, even after accounting for the negative effects of other psychosocial indicators such as depression.

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Alon Eliakim, Mark Y. Moromisato, David Y. Moromisato and Dan M. Cooper

In this study, the hypothesis that improvements in functional and structural measures could be detected in the young, female rat with only 5 days of moderate treadmill training was tested. Eight-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided randomly into control (n = 10) and training groups (n = 11). Over the 5-day period, running duration and treadmill speed increased progressively. Maximal running time and gas exchange were measured on Day 6. In trained compared with control rats, maximal running time was 54% greater (p < .005), right hindlimb muscle was 16% heavier (p < .01), and end-exercise respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was 17% lower (p < .05). Substantial metabolic and structural adaptations occurred in young female rats after only 5 days of treadmill training. This protocol may be useful in discovering the initiating mechanisms of the training response in the young organism.