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Bryan McCullick, Paul Schempp, Shan-Hui Hsu, Jin Hong Jung, Brad Vickers and Greg Schuknecht

A distinguishing characteristic of expert teachers appears to be an excellent memory (Berliner, 1986; Tan, 1997). Possessing an excellent memory aids experts in building a substantial knowledge base relative to teaching and learning. Despite its importance, the memory skills of expert teachers have yet to be investigated. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the working memories of expert sport instructors. Forty-three expert teachers served as subjects for this study. Each teacher was shown a series of slides depicting play and instructional situations in their respective domains. The test required that the subjects view a slide for 5 seconds and then recall as much as they could from the slide. The audio taped responses were transcribed and then analyzed inductively using Huberman and Miles’ (1995) four stage analysis framework to draw themes and commonalities from the data. The findings revealed three themes of experts’ working memories: (a) voluminous and rich, (b) a dominant order, and (c) include a thorough skill analysis. There is support for Berliner (1986) and Tan’s (1997) contention that experts have excellent memories, arrange their knowledge in a hierarchical manner, and are able to discern the important from the unimportant.

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A. Mark Williams and K. Anders Ericsson

In this themed issue of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, we bring together an eclectic mix of papers focusing on how expert performers learn the skills needed to compete at the highest level in sport. In the preface, we highlight the value of adopting the expert performance approach as a systematic framework for the evaluation and development of expertise and expert performance in sport. We then place each of the empirical papers published in this issue into context and briefly outline their unique contributions to knowledge in this area. Finally, we highlight several potential avenues for future research in the hope of encouraging others to scientifically study how experts acquire the mechanisms mediating superior performance in sport and how coaches can draw on this knowledge to guide their athletes toward the most effective training activities.

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David W. Eccles, Susanne E. Walsh and David K. Ingledew

The objective of this study was to gain an understanding of expert cognition in orienteering. The British orienteering squad was interviewed (N = 17) and grounded theory was used to develop a theory of expert cognition in orienteering. A task constraint identified as central to orienteering is the requirement to manage attention to three sources of information: the map, the environment, and travel. Optimal management is constrained by limited processing resources. However, consistent with the research literature, the results reveal considerable adaptations by experts to task constraints, characterized primarily by various cognitive skills including anticipation and simplification. By anticipating the environment from the map, and by simplifying the information required to navigate, expert orienteers can circumvent processing limitations. Implications of this theory for other domains involving navigation, and for the coaching process within the sport, are discussed.

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Alon Eliakim, Bareket Falk, Neil Armstrong, Fátima Baptista, David G. Behm, Nitzan Dror, Avery D. Faigenbaum, Kathleen F. Janz, Jaak Jürimäe, Amanda L. McGowan, Dan Nemet, Paolo T. Pianosi, Matthew B. Pontifex, Shlomit Radom-Aizik, Thomas Rowland and Alex V. Rowlands

Introduction The Expert’s Choice section aims to highlight the most significant or exciting papers in specific areas of pediatric exercise science, published in the preceding year (2018). A “significant” or “exciting” publication is one that either: (a) reveals a new mechanism, (b) highlights a new

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Isabel Mesquita, Joana Ribeiro, Sofia Santos and Kevin Morgan

The aim of this study was to analyze Portuguese expert coaches’ conceptions of learning sources that promote long-term coach development and the extent to which these sources are currently present in coach education programs. Six expert coaches were individually interviewed, using a semistructured format and the interviews were analyzed using QSR N6 Nudist software. The results highlighted the participants’ awareness of the uniqueness of coach education, emphasizing the importance of reflecting and engaging with a variety of learning experiences. Findings also revealed dissatisfaction with the current dominant education framework in Portugal, which remains excessively didactic and classroom-orientated. In contrast, the participants externalized a constructivist approach for coach education assuming the need for theoretical knowledge to be framed in practical contexts, where they have the opportunity to share and reflect their own and others’ experiences to develop learning. Such a position echoes Sfard’s acquisition and participation learning metaphors.

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Bruce Abernethy and David G. Russell

Two experiments are described comparing the temporal and spatial characteristics of the anticipatory cues used by expert (n=20) and novice (n=35) racquet sport players. In both experiments the perceptual display available in badminton was simulated using film, and display characteristics were selectively manipulated either by varying the duration of the stroke sequence that was visible (Experiment 1) or by selectively masking specific display features (Experiment 2). The subjects* task in all cases was to predict the landing position of the stroke they were viewing. It was found in Experiment 1 that experts were able to pick up more relevant information from earlier display cues than could novices, and this appeared in Experiment 2 to be due to their ability to extract advance information from the playing side arm, in addition to the racquet itself. These differences, it was concluded, were congruent with predictions that could be derived from traditional information-processing notions related to recognition of display redundancy. The roles of different anticipatory cue sources in the independent predictions of stroke speed and direction were also examined, and it was concluded that directional judgments were more dependent on cue specificity than were depth judgments.

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Gordon A. Bloom, Natalie Durand-Bush and John H. Salmela

Little or no empirical research has examined the pre- and postcompetition routines of coaches. The purpose of this study was to address this oversight by conducting in-depth open-ended interviews with 21 expert coaches from four team sports. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and inductively analyzed following the procedures outlined by Côté and colleagues (1993, 1995). The results indicated that coaches had set routines for themselves and their players before and after a competition. Prior to the competition, coaches prepared and mentally rehearsed their game plan, engaged in physical activity to maintain a positive focus, held a team meeting, and occupied themselves during the warmup. Their words immediately before the game were used to stress key points. After the competition, coaches emphasized the importance of controlling their emotions and adopted different behaviors to appropriately deal with the team’s performance and outcome. A brief meeting was held to recapitulate the essential elements of the game and a detailed analysis was not presented until the next practice or meeting.

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Sue L. McPherson

Research examining planning strategies used by high-strategy open-skill performers is limited. This study examined planning responses of collegiate varsity (experts, n = 6) and beginner (novices, n = 6) women tennis players between points during competition. Other articles focused on expert-novice differences in problem representations (quantitative analyses of verbal data via audiotaping) accessed during simulated situations and during actual competition (immediate recall point interviews) and performance skills during competition (via videotaping). Mann-Whitney U tests on verbal report measures indicated experts generated more total, varied, and sophisticated goal, condition, action, and do concepts than novices. Experts planned for actions based on elaborate and sophisticated action plan and current event profiles; novices rarely planned and they lacked these memory structures. Differences in internal self-talk were also noted.

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Janet L. Starkes, Janice M. Deakin, Susan Lindley and Freda Crisp

Two experiments investigated the role of motor performance, and the role of music in the retention and recall of ballet sequences by young expert dancers. Experiment 1 examined 11-year-old expert (N=8) and novice (N=8) dancers, to determine the influence of motor performance in the recall of ballet steps. Subjects were presented with two conditions, either structured choreographed or unstructured sequences. All sequences consisted of eight steps or elements. Subjects recalled both types of sequences motorically by simply performing the steps. Verbal recall was also assessed for structured sequences. Results from analyses of variance indicated main effects of skill, recall condition, and serial position across elements. Experts recalled more than novices, structured sequences were recalled better than nonstructured, and the last sequence element was recalled less. An interaction of Skill X Recall Condition x Serial Position revealed that although experts and novices performed the same on unstructured trials, their performances differed for motor versus verbal structured trials, particularly on the last elements. Experiment 2 examined only expert dancers (i¥=8) on structured sequences and determined whether the presence of music at time of recall aided retention. Correlated t tests revealed that with music, recall was maintained across all eight elements; without music, recall of the last element suffered.

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Andrea Bundon, Barry S. Mason and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

This paper demonstrates how a qualitative methodology can be used to gain novel insights into the demands of wheelchair racing and the impact of particular racing chair configurations on optimal sport performance via engagement with expert users (wheelchair racers, coaches, and manufacturers). We specifically explore how expert users understand how wheels, tires, and bearings impact sport performance and how they engage, implement, or reject evidence-based research pertaining to these components. We identify areas where participants perceive there to be an immediate need for more research especially pertaining to the ability to make individualized recommendations for athletes. The findings from this project speak to the value of a qualitative research design for capturing the embodied knowledge of expert users and also make suggestions for “next step” projects pertaining to wheels, tires, and bearings drawn directly from the comments of participants.