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Tobias Kalenscher, Karl-Theodor Kalveram and Jürgen Konczak

This study investigated force adaptation in humans during goal-directed flexion forearm motion. The ability of the motor system to adapt to changes in internal or external forces is essential for the successful control of voluntary movement. In a first experiment, we examined how under- or overdamping differentially affected the length of the adaptation and the arm kinematics between force transitions. We found that transitions diverging from a null-force produced larger transition effects than transitions converging to a null force condition, indicating that re-adaptation was less error-prone. Whether the subjects had previously experienced underdamping or the null-force had no significant impact on the spatial trajectory after switching to overdamping. That is, prior force experience had no differential effect on the spatial transition kinematics. However, the transitions underdamping-to-overdamping and underdamping-to–null force did produce differently strong transition effects. These results indicate that exposure to the new force rather than previous force-field experience is responsible for transition- and after-effects. In a second experiment, we investigated whether learning was law-like—that is, whether it generalized to unvisited workspace. Subjects were tested in new, unvisited workspaces in the null-force condition after sufficient training in either force condition. The occurrence of transferred after-effects indicated that adaptation to both positive and negative damping was mediated by rule-based rather than exclusive associative processes.

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Kin Shung, Carlos G. de Oliveira and Jurandir Nadal

The walk–run transition (WRT) is a well-described phenomenon without any known cause; however, mechanical variables related to human gait have been associated with the WRT. This study tested the hypothesis that shock waves in the tibia and 3rd lumbar vertebra in addition to activity of tibialis anterior, vastus lateralis, and erector spinae muscles could be responsible for the WRT. Thirty subjects walked and ran on a treadmill at 80%, 90%, 100%, 110%, and 120% of preferred transition speed. Shock waves were measured with skin-mounted accelerometers and muscle activity by surface electromyography. The influence on the WRT was analyzed with two models. The shock waves and muscle activity tended to a significant increase (p < .05) for both walking and running with increased speed. The only factor that appeared to be involved in the WRT mechanism was the activity of the tibialis anterior; however, this was only confirmed by one of the two models. The use of different models to analyze the same data for the WRT triggers may give different results; thus, a standard model is required to investigate the influence of given factors on biological phenomena.

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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen, Nathalie Vissers and Jan Seghers

Based on Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), this study tested whether changes in autonomous motivation toward physical education (AMPE) during the transition from elementary to secondary school can be predicted by changes in perceived need support from the physical education (PE) teacher and perceived physical school environment. Self-reported data were gathered from 472 Flemish (northern part of Belgium) students in 6th grade (2009) and again in 8th grade (2011). Mediation analyses showed that an increase in perceived need support from the PE teacher was related to an increase in AMPE (boys: β = .42; girls: β = .50). In boys, this relation was mediated by changes in perceived competence (β = .08). In girls, this relation was mediated by changes in perceived autonomy (β = .12), perceived competence (β = .14), and perceived relatedness (β = .05). This study shows that PE teachers should be need-supportive to maintain a good quality of motivation in students.

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Darren D. Kelly and Marlene A. Dixon

Despite excellent performance on the field and years of academic and social attention, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I African American male student-athletes continue to struggle to have an optimal and well-rounded college experience at predominantly White institutions of higher education. In particular, the first 2 years of college represent a difficult period during which this group would benefit from new ideas to support their multiple transitions. Mentoring, and more specifically constellation mentoring, provides great promise for aiding in the transition and success of this group (Kram, 1985). Mentoring, like other organizational transition management tools, focuses on helping people navigate a transition into a new setting (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2010). However, constellation mentoring can be simultaneously broad (in terms of range of needs addressed) and specifically tailored to individual needs. This study seeks to establish a framework for how mentoring may provide a valuable tool for addressing the needs of African American male student-athletes as they transition into the college sport, social, and academic atmosphere.

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Sigal Ben-Zaken, Yoav Meckel, Ronnie Lidor, Dan Nemet and Alon Eliakim

The aim of the study was to assess whether an aerobic-favoring genetic profile can predict the success of a shift from middle- to long-distance running. Thirteen elite middle-distance runners were divided into successful and nonsuccessful groups in their shift toward long-distance runs. All the runners began their training program at the age of 14–15, and after 6–7 years, changed focus and adjusted their training program to fit longer running distances. The participants’ personal records in the longer events were set at the age of 25–27, about 3–5 years after the training readjustment took place. The endurance genetic score based on 9 polymorphisms was computed as the endurance genetic distance score (EGDS9). The power genetic distance score (PGDS5) was computed based on 5 power-related genetic polymorphisms. The mean EGDS9 was significantly higher among the successful group than the nonsuccessful group (37.1 and 23.3, respectively, p < .005, effect size 0.75), while the mean PGDS5 was not statistically different between the 2 groups (p = .13). Our findings suggest the possible use of genetic profiles as an added tool for determining appropriate competitive transition and specialization in young athletes involved in early phases of talent development.

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Loren Vandenbroucke, Jan Seghers, Karine Verschueren, Anne I. Wijtzes and Dieter Baeyens

Background:

The current study investigates how children’s amount of daily physical activity relates to subcomponents of executive functions, the cognitive processes needed for goal-directed behavior. Previous studies rarely determined this association at the subcomponent level and did not explicitly examine the period when children make the transition to first grade, despite its importance for the development of executive functions.

Methods:

In a sample of 54 children, working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility were thoroughly measured at the subcomponent level at the end of kindergarten and first grade. In the middle of first grade, children wore a pedometer for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Regression analyses showed that performance on a measure of the visuospatial sketchpad, the central executive, and fluency was predicted by children’s amount of daily physical activity after controlling for initial task performance.

Conclusions:

The development of the visuospatial sketchpad (working memory), the central executive (working memory), and fluency (cognitive flexibility) might be improved by increasing the amount of time being physically active. However, as other subcomponents of executive functioning were not affected, the role of other aspects of physical activity, such as intensity and content, in the development of executive functions should be further investigated.

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Ann-Marie Knowles, Ailsa Niven and Samantha Fawkner

Background:

Quantitative research has suggested that the decline in physical activity levels for adolescent girls is most marked during the transition from primary school to secondary school yet understanding the contributing factors for this decline may be advanced through qualitative research methods to gain an individual perspective of the girls’ school transition experience.

Methods:

This study explored factors related to the decrease in physical activity behavior in 14 adolescent girls (mean age = 13.6 ± 0.3 years) during the transition between primary and secondary school through the use of narrative interviews and interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results:

The findings suggested that a change in the environment was central to understanding the decline in physical activity levels since primary school.

Conclusions:

During secondary school, a positive environment can be created by ensuring a choice of activities in Physical Education lessons; allowing a girls-only environment, to reduce the focus on competence and competition, and recognizing the importance of social support. These could enhance self-perceptions, reduce self-presentational concerns, increase enjoyment, and subsequently reduce the decrease in physical activity behavior during this key transitional period.

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Ian M. Taylor, Christopher M. Spray and Natalie Pearson

The purpose of the study was to explore change in children’s physical self-concept and self-reported physical activity over a school transition period, as well as motivational and interpersonal influences on these two outcomes. Data were collected from 545 children (mean age = 10.82, SD = 0.39, 51% female) at three time points before and after the United Kingdom secondary school transition. Multilevel modeling revealed that physical self-concept and physical activity showed different patterns of decline over the course of the study. Changes in the extent to which physical education teachers were perceived to provide psychological need support, peer focus on self-referenced learning and mastery, and changes in autonomous motives toward physical education classes were positively associated with these outcome variables. The present study provides novel insight into important motivational and interpersonal factors that may need to be targeted to prevent negative developmental patterns over a potentially challenging period for children.

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Raphaël Laurin, Michel Nicolas and David Lavallee

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a personal goal-based intervention on positive and negative moods among young athletes at a soccer academy. Study participants (N =22) were randomized into either a treatment group, which participated in a personal goal-management program (Bouffard, Labelle, Dubé, & Lapierre, 1999), or a neutral-task control group. Participants’ mood states were measured every 3 weeks. Results indicated significant postintervention group differences in positive and negative moods states, with the treatment group reporting higher levels of positive moods and lower levels of negative moods. A significant within-group difference over time was also found for the treatment group, indicating an increase in positive mood states and decrease in negative mood states as the program progressed. Findings from this study are used to inform recommendations for sport psychology interventions that use specific goal management procedures to facilitate positive emotional states among young athletes.

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David Shilbury