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Sue Hillman

The kinetic chain is open in the upper extremity skills used in most sports. Although closed chain exercises will increase stability, open chain strengthening is more sport specific. This article addresses general concepts of upper extremity rehabilitation, including exercises to restore normal range of motion, joint mechanics, and muscle strength. The roles of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, plyometric training, and elastic band exercises are also discussed. Finally, a progression of specificity training is presented to return the athlete to successful sport performance.

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Maria Kavussanu, Adrian Willoughby and Christopher Ring

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of moral identity on physiological responses to affective pictures, namely, the startle blink reflex and pain-related evoked potential. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 46) athletes participating in contact team sports were randomly assigned to either a moral identity group or a non-moral identity group and viewed a series of unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant sport-specific pictures. During picture viewing, a noxious electrocutaneous stimulus was delivered as the startle probe and the startle blink and pain-related evoked potential were measured. Upon completion of physiological measures, participants reviewed the pictures and rated them for valence and arousal. ANOVAs revealed that participants in the moral identity group displayed larger startle blinks and smaller pain-related potentials than did those in the non-moral identity group across all picture valence categories. However, the difference in the magnitude of startle blinks between the moral and non-moral identity groups was larger in response to unpleasant than pleasant and neutral pictures. Our findings suggest that moral identity affects physiological responses to sport-specific affective pictures, thereby providing objective evidence for the link between moral identity and emotion in athletes.

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Edmund O. Acevedo, David A. Dzewaltowski, Diane L. Gill and John M. Noble

The purpose of this study was to examine the sport-specific cognitions of 112 ultramarathoners competing in a 100-mile trail run. Subjects completed the Sport Orientation Questionnaire, the Trait Sport-Confidence Inventory, the Commitment to Running Scale, and a questionnaire designed by the investigators to assess goals, cognitive strategies, perceptions of “runner’s high,” and feelings that occur when subjects are unable to run. Ultramarathoners were more confident, more committed to running, slightly higher in competitiveness, lower on win orientation, and higher on goal orientation in comparison to other athletes. Ultramarathoners also rated importance of and commitment to time goals very high; importance of and commitment to place goals were rated low. No significant differences in cognitive orientations were found between finishers and nonfinishers or between males and females. Responses to open-ended questions revealed that most ultramarathoners reported predominately external thoughts during races, had feelings of psychological well-being and strength as a result of ultramarathoning, never or rarely experienced runner’s high, and experienced negative psychological states when unable to run. Overall, these results demonstrate the unique sport-specific cognitive orientations of ultramarathoners.

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Martin E. Block and Ron Zeman

The purpose of this study was to measure the impact of including three 6th-grade students with severe disabilities who were given support services into a regular physical education class. Basketball skill improvement in passing, shooting, and dribbling during a 3-1/2-week basketball unit and attitudes toward students with disabilities were compared between a 6th-grade class that included 3 students with severe disabilities (CI) and a 6th-grade class in the same school that did not have any students with disabilities (C2). Results from the nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test indicated no differences in skill improvement between the two groups except in dribbling, which favored C2. C1 showed significantly greater pretest scores in general and sport-specific attitudes compared to C2, but there were no differences in gain scores for either general or sport-specific attitude. It was argued that, with proper support services, students with severe disabilities can be included in regular physical education without negatively affecting the program for students without disabilities.

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Harry Prapavessis and Albert V. Carron

One purpose of the present investigation was to examine whether tennis athletes have maladaptive achievement patterns associated with learned helplessness, and whether this condition is related to gender and/or skill level. A second purpose was to determine if there is a relationship between maladaptive achievement patterns and the attributional styles used in failure performances. A sport-specific questionnaire based upon the research of Dweck and others was designed to assess the cognitive, motivational, and emotional maladaptive achievement patterns in male and female highly skilled and lesser skilled athletes enrolled in a tennis academy (N=50). Another sport-specific questionnaire based on Abramson’s attributional model was used to measure each athlete’s attributional style (i.e., locus of control, stability, globality, and importance). Results revealed that 11 subjects demonstrated maladaptive achievement patterns associated with learned helplessness. No gender or skill level differences were present. Subjects classified as helpless had a different attribution dimension style for explaining failure performances than did subjects classified as nonhelpless. Specifically, helpless subjects gave ratings that were internal, persistent, and recurrent. The results were discussed in terms of their practical implications.

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Sean Müller, Yasmin Gurisik, Mark Hecimovich, Allen G. Harbaugh and Ann-Maree Vallence

Training studies in a variety of domains focus on between-group comparisons. This study investigated individual differences in learning based upon visual anticipation training using field hockey goalkeeping as the exemplar motor skill. In a within-subject design, four state-league level field hockey goalkeepers were tested before and after visual anticipatory training in an in-situ test that required them to save goals from a drag flick. Response initiation time and response accuracy were measured. Participants were tested at baseline, completed a control phase of sport-specific practice, were retested, then given an intervention phase of temporal occlusion training plus sport-specific practice, and retested. Results indicated that two goalkeepers’ response initiation times were earlier after the intervention. Effect sizes indicated that the two goalkeepers improved response accuracy after the intervention. Another goalkeeper’s response initiation time was later after the intervention, but this did not impede response accuracy of goals saved. The mechanism of individual learning appeared to be modulation of response timing to save goals. Anticipation training can improve in-situ visual-perceptual motor skill performance in an individualized and nonlinear fashion. Further research is needed to better understand how each individual learns the visual-perceptual motor skills of high time-stress tasks in the sport domain.

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Semyon M. Slobounov, Robert Simon, Wayne Sebastianelli, Angela Carlson and William E. Buckley

A variety of assessment devices have been developed for scientific investigation on human movement that can also be used to assess the progress of a rehabilitation program. The present investigation was undertaken to show how this technology can be combined with the most aggressive type of medical intervention and rehabilitation. Advanced technology was used to assess the physical rehabilitation parameters of active range of motion (AROM) and sport-specific functional progression for an Olympic-caliber diver who had bilateral wrist problems. AROM was measured for both wrists using a Flock of Birds motion-tracking device, and functional progression was assessed with an Advanced Mechanical Technology Inc. force platform for measuring the center of pressure (CP) area. The results of the treatment were clinically favorable, with an increase in AROM and a decrease in the CP area for functional motor control. The technology provided useful information about the progress of a rehabilitation program.

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Christine M. Bonci, Beth Sloane and Karen Middleton

Management of the overhead athlete presenting with anterior instability requires an identification of factors influencing successful therapeutic intervention strategies. The importance of differentiating a diagnosis, of knowing something of the demands of the sport, and of addressing pertinent anatomical and biomechanical considerations of the throwing shoulder prior to implementing rehabilitation programs must be considered. An appreciation of the complexities of the throwing shoulder serves as a basis for the selection of rehabilitation activities aimed at returning the athlete to pretrauma levels of overarm proficiency. The challenge of regaining normal shoulder joint osteokinematics and neuromuscular function at a competitive status is described in terms of the proper selection and sequencing of rehabilitation exercises for the initiation and progression of range of motion, muscle strength, muscle reducation, and sport-specific functional activities. Time frames for progressing the various stages of rehabilitation, indications for exercise selection based on electromyographic studies, and attention to detail with regard to exercise execution are emphasized.

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Kate R. Barrett, Kathleen Williams, Jill McLester and Sara Ljungkvist

Developmental sequences for the vertical cradle were hypothesized and tested using a prelongitudinal screening technique to determine comprehensiveness and developmental accuracy. Fifty-one 10- to 13-year-old children were videotaped as they ran and cradled over a flat surface. A total of 150 trials were categorized for seven components: basic rhythm, hand and arm action, stick position, top hand grip, stick head and top arm action, position of hands, and bottom arm and hand action. Lack of developmental variability occurred for the basic rhythm, hand and arm action, and hand position components. For the stick position component, more younger children were classified at the highest level than older children. The developmental sequence for the stick head and top arm component was comprehensive and age related. The role various constraints play in hypothesizing sequences of sport specific skills needs to be considered along with the quality and amount of instruction.

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Thomas A. Bergandi, Marsha G. Shryock and Thomas G. Titus

The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a sport-specific version of Nideffer’s (1976a) Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS), specifically in regard to the sport of basketball. Collegiate basketball players (N = 43) participated in the research, 20 males and 23 females. The subjects were administered two instruments, the original TAIS and the Basketball Concentration Survey (BCS). The items contained in the BCS were a conversion of the 59 pertinent items contained in the original. The instruments were administered early in the season and the results were correlated with nine seasonal performance variables ranging from field-goal percentage to total number of steals. The results show the BCS to have significant reliability as well as significantly accounting for performance variability. The BCS had highly significant correlations with seven of the nine performance variables.