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Brandi M. Eveland-Sayers, Richard S. Farley, Dana K. Fuller, Don W. Morgan and Jennifer L. Caputo

Background:

The benefits of physical fitness are widely acknowledged and extend across many domains of wellness. The association between fitness and academic achievement, however, remains to be clarified, especially in young children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fitness and academic achievement in elementary school children.

Methods:

Data were collected from 134 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade children. One-mile run time, body mass index, curl-up, and sit-and-reach data were collected from physical education instructors in Middle Tennessee. The percentage of questions answered correctly for the mathematics and reading/language arts sections of the Terra-Nova achievement test was taken as a measure of academic achievement.

Results:

A negative association (P < .01) was noted between 1-mile run times and mathematics scores (r = –.28), whereas a positive relationship (P < .05) was observed between muscular fitness and mathematics scores (r = .20). Relative to sex differences, inverse relationships (P < .05) were observed between 1-mile run times and reading/language arts and mathematics scores in girls (r = –.31 and –.36, respectively), but no significant associations were evident in boys.

Conclusions:

Results from this study support a link between specific components of physical fitness and academic achievement in elementary school children.

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Natalie A. Brown, Michael B. Devlin and Andrew C. Billings

This study explores the implications of the sports communication theory of fan identification and the divisions often developed between identifying with a single athlete and the bonds developed for a sport as a whole. Using the fastest growing North American sport, mixed martial arts (MMA)—more specifically, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)—differences in levels of fan identification were examined in relationship to attitudes toward individual athletes and attitudes toward the UFC organization. An online survey of 911 respondents produced a highly representative sample of the UFC’s current audience demographics. Results showed significant differences in fan identify between gender, age, and sensationseeking behaviors, suggesting that distinct demographic variables may influence the role that fan identity has not only in sports media consumption but also in future event consumption. Implications and ramifications for future theoretical sports communication research and sports marketing are postulated.

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Taryn Wishart, Seung Pil Lee and T. Bettina Cornwell

Price setting in the sponsorship of sport, charity, arts and entertainment is usually negotiated, and private, so we know little about what determines price. With a sample of publicly available sponsorship proposals, the relationship between sponsorship characteristics and price set by the property is examined. Media coverage and attendance levels are hypothesized to have a positive impact on property price, as are a host of on-site communications. Overall the most influential variable explaining the property’s asking price is media coverage. In contrast, on-site communications are not important in price setting. Interestingly, access to property offerings such as celebrities and venues has a significant positive impact on property price. While the empirical investigation is limited to the relationship between communication characteristics and asking price, the price negotiation process and property-based characteristics that lead to the final price are also discussed.

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Andrew Baerg

Although other digital-game genres have received increasing amounts of scholarly attention, the digital sports game remains relatively unexamined. This essay explores one of the most prominent and nearly ubiquitous features of the digital sports game, the player-attribute-rating system. By explaining the nature of the rating system and how it functions and then situating it in a theoretical and historical context, the author traces out some of the implications of the system’s operation. As part of this argument, the essay examines Electronic Arts’ popular football action simulation, FIFA Soccer ’09, as a case study to illustrate how the rating system positions gamers to understand sport in and through this new medium.

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Paul M. Wright, Katherine White and Deborah Gaebler-Spira

The purpose of this study was to examine the application of the Personal and Social Responsibility Model (PSRM) in an adapted physical activity program. Although the PSRM was developed for use with underserved youth, scholars in the field of adapted physical activity have noted its potential relevance for children with disabilities. Using a collective case study, we explored the relevance and perceived benefits of the PSRM in an adapted martial arts program. Participants were five male children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. Data sources included observational field notes, medical records, and interviews with participants’ physicians, therapists, and parents. The following themes were generated from the data: increased sense of ability, positive feelings about the program, positive social interactions, and therapeutic relevance. These results indicate that the PSRM can be made relevant to children with disabilities, especially when coupled with appealing and therapeutically relevant content.

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Andrew Baerg

This article addresses Leonard’s (2006a) call for inquiry into virtual sport by exploring how Electronic Arts’ Fight Night Round 2 (2005) inscribes the boxing body into the digital game. This article qualitatively analyzes the text of the game in order to consider how it deals with the immateriality of bodies in new media as it translates them into digital space. By focusing on the game’s avatar creation system and control set, I argue over and against the freedom proclaimed by theorists about new media that Fight Night Round 2 positions users within a hegemonic masculine subjectivity. The essay concludes by addressing how this positioning speaks to the significance of this mediation for boxing as the game positions users in relation to the sport.

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Stewart Cotterill

The ability to prepare effectively to execute complex skills under pressure is crucial in a number of performance-focused professions. While there is emerging evidence of best practice little research has sought to compare preparation strategies across professions. As a result, the aim of this research was to explore the approaches employed within a number of professions and whether there are similarities in the techniques and strategies adopted. Participants were 18 “performers,” purposefully selected from sporting, musical, performing arts, and medical domains. Participants were interviewed individually to gain an understanding of each participant’s preparation strategies and the functions these strategies fulfilled. The data were thematically analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results suggest that there are similarities in both behavioral and mental strategies adopted across professions. Future research should seek to explore the transferability of developmental approaches.

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Mariona A. Violan, Eric W. Small, Merrilee N. Zetaruk and Lyle J. Micheli

The effect of 6 months of twice weekly karate training on flexibility, balance, and strength was evaluated in 14 boys who perform karate as beginners (age M = 10.3 ± 1.8) and a group of the same age who had never been involved in martial arts (n = 10; age M = 10.9 ± 1.4). All subjects were pretested and posttested on the following: flexibility of upper extremity (shoulder), hamstrings and quadriceps; strength, including handgrip strength and concentric flexion/extension of quadriceps; and balance, with eyes either open or closed. After 6 months, the tests were evaluated and compared by groups. The results showed the karate group made significant gains on quadriceps flexibility and balance with eyes closed. By improving flexibility, balance, and strength, karate improves three of the basic fitness components that are very important for preventing sport injuries in the growing years.

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Stewart G. Trost, Bronwyn Fees and David Dzewaltowski

Background:

This study evaluated the effect of a “move and learn” curriculum on physical activity (PA) in 3- to 5-year-olds attending a half-day preschool program.

Methods:

Classrooms were randomized to receive an 8-week move and learn program or complete their usual curriculum. In intervention classes, opportunities for PA were integrated into all aspects of the preschool curriculum, including math, science, language arts, and nutrition education. Changes in PA were measured objectively using accelerometry and direct observation.

Results:

At the completion of the 8-week intervention, children completing the move and learn curriculum exhibited significantly higher levels of classroom moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than children completing their usual curriculum. Significant differences were also noted for classroom VPA over the final 2 weeks.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that integrating movement experiences into an existing early childhood curriculum is feasible and a potentially effective strategy for promoting PA in preschool children.

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John M. Hoberman

In the decade following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the People’s Republic of China has experienced a cultural and ideological transformation unprecedented in the history of communist societies. Sport, like the arts, is a political subculture that expresses prevailing ideological trends; for this reason, the new modernization in China has mandated a new ideological interpretation of sport. Contrary to appearances, the ideological content of Maoist sport doctrine has actually been retained in post-Maoist sport ideology. What has changed is the relative degree of emphasis accorded specific ideological elements, so that these two doctrinal phases may be analyzed in terms of dominant and recessive traits. The four primary ideological variables examined in this study are competition, high-performance sport and record-setting, sportive ethics, and scientific sport.