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Dennis Smart, Jason Winfree and Richard Wolfe

Smart and Wolfe (2003) assessed the concurrent contribution of leadership and human resources to Major League Baseball (MLB) team performance. They found that player resources (defense/pitching and offence/batting) explained 67% of the variance in winning percentage, whereas leadership explained very little (slightly more than 1%) of the variance. In discussing the minimal contribution of leadership to their results, the authors suggested that future studies expand their operationalization of leadership. That is what is done in this study. Finding that the expanded operationalization has limited effect in explaining the contribution of leadership, we take an alternative tack in attempting to understand leadership in MLB. In addition, we estimate a production frontier (based on offensive and defensive resources), determine the efficiency of MLB managers relative to that frontier, and investigate the extent to which manager efficiency can be explained by manager characteristics. Finally, manager characteristics are related to manager compensation.

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André Roca, Paul R. Ford, Allistair P. McRobert and A. Mark Williams

The ability to anticipate and to make decisions is crucial to skilled performance in many sports. We examined the role of and interaction between the different perceptual-cognitive skills underlying anticipation and decision making. Skilled and less skilled players interacted as defenders with life-size film sequences of 11 versus 11 soccer situations. Participants were presented with task conditions in which the ball was located in the offensive or defensive half of the pitch (far vs. near conditions). Participants’ eye movements and verbal reports of thinking were recorded across two experiments. Skilled players reported more accurate anticipation and decision making than less skilled players, with their superior performance being underpinned by differences in task-specific search behaviors and thought processes. The perceptual-cognitive skills underpinning superior anticipation and decision making were shown to differ in importance across the two task constraints. Findings have significant implications for those interested in capturing and enhancing perceptual-cognitive skill in sport and other domains.

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Shihui Chen, Ernest Lange, Paul Miko, Jiabei Zhang and Daniel Joseph

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the progressive time delay (PTD) procedure on teaching gross motor skills to adult males with severe mental retardation. A multiple probe design across three skills and replicated across 4 participants was utilized. Results indicated that a PTD procedure with a 0 to 5 s delay was effective in teaching 4 participants three gross motor skills (tee-ball batting, softball pitching, croquet striking) over a period of 13 weeks. Data on effectiveness were analyzed in terms of the number of instructional sessions (M = 9.58), the number of trials (M = 105.41), the number of min (M = 84.66), and the number of performing errors to criterion (M = 4.08%). A maintenance level (M = 96.87%) was also determined across 4 participants and three skills on the 1st, 4th, 14th, and 24th sessions after terminating the PTD instruction.

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Eric L. Sauers, Danelle L. Dykstra, R. Curtis Bay, Kellie Huxel Bliven and Alison R. Snyder

Context:

Throwing-related arm injuries are common in softball pitchers and may lead to diminished health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Arm symptoms such as pain have been reported to be more common in healthy overhead athletes than nonoverhead athletes. Furthermore, more frequent shoulder symptoms and lower shoulder function have been demonstrated in athletes with self-reported history of shoulder injury.

Objective:

To evaluate the relationship between arm injury history, current pain rating, and HRQOL assessed via 2 region-specific patient self-report scales in high school and college softball pitchers.

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Setting:

High school and college athletic training facilities.

Participants:

25 female softball pitchers (10 high school, 15 college; 18 ± 2 y, 169 ± 7.6 cm, 67.5 ± 10.3 kg).

Intervention:

Self-reported arm injury history and rating of current pain and HRQOL were collected during the late season.

Main Outcome Measures:

A self-report questionnaire of arm injury history and current pain rating was used, and HRQOL was assessed via 2 region-specific scales: the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) and the Functional Arm Scale for Throwers© (FAST©). Correlational analysis was used to evaluate the relationships between arm injury history, current pain rating, and the DASH total score and sport module and the FAST total score, pitching module, and subscales.

Results:

A history of arm injury from throwing was reported by 64% of participants, 31% of whom had to cease activity for more than 10 d. The most common site of arm time-loss injury was the shoulder (81%). Mild to severe shoulder pain during the competitive season was reported by 60% of respondents. The DASH and the FAST total scores were significantly correlated (r = .79, P < .001). Respondent rating of shoulder pain correlated significantly with the DASH total (r = .69) and sports module (r = .69) and the FAST total (r = .71), pitching module (r = .65), and pain (r = .73), impairment (r = .76), functional-limitation (r = .79), disability (r = .52), and societal-limitations (r = .46) subscales.

Conclusion:

History of arm injury is common in female high school and college softball pitchers. Severe injury and elevated pain are associated with lower HRQOL that extends beyond the playing field.

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Vassilios Gourgoulis, Nikolaos Aggeloussis, Georgios Mavridis, Alexia Boli, Panagiotis Kasimatis, Nikolaos Vezos, Argyris Toubekis, Panagiotis Antoniou and Georgios Mavrommatis

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the acute effect of sprint resisted front crawl swimming on the propulsive forces of the hand. Eight female swimmers swam 25 m with maximal intensity, with and without added resistance. A bowl with a capacity of 2.2, 4 and 6 L was used as low, moderate and high added resistance, respectively. The underwater motion of the swimmer’s right hand was recorded using 4 cameras (60 Hz) and the digitization was undertaken using the Ariel Performance Analysis System. Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed that the velocity of the hand, the pitch and the sweepback angles of the hand, as well as the magnitude and the relative contribution of the drag and lift forces were not significantly modified and thus the magnitude of the resultant force did not change. Moreover, the magnitude of the effective force, as well as the angle formed between the resultant force and the axis of the swimming propulsion were not significantly affected. Thus, it could be concluded that resistance added as in this study did not alter the pattern of the propulsive hand forces associated with front crawl sprinting.

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John H. Lawrence III and T. Richard Nichols

Muscle actions are often defined within a single anatomical reference plane. Yet animals must control posture and movement within a three-dimensional (3-D) environment, responding to a 3-D array of perturbing forces. Based on information gained regarding the 3-D muscle mechanics at the cat ankle joint complex (companion paper), we decided to study how alterations in the 3-D AJC orientation might affect ankle joint postural control. We used a 6 degree-of-freedom force-moment sensor to assess the affect of ankle joint orientation on the 3-D isometric joint torques evoked by electrical stimulation of muscles crossing the ankle joint complex (AJC) in the deeply anesthetized cat. An orthogonal axis system was established at the designated ankle rotation center, such that pitch (flexion-extension), yaw (abduction-adduction), and roll (inversion-eversion) axis torques were calculated. Experimental results suggest that both the magnitude and sign of extra-sagittal torques from the gastrocnemius muscles are joint angle dependent. Also, the hind limb levering system stabilizes the AJC against large yaw and roll rotations away from the control position.

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Darcy M. Brown, Dan B. Dwyer, Samuel J. Robertson and Paul B. Gastin

The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of a global positioning system (GPS) tracking system to estimate energy expenditure (EE) during exercise and field-sport locomotor movements. Twenty-seven participants each completed a 90-min exercise session on an outdoor synthetic futsal pitch. During the exercise session, they wore a 5-Hz GPS unit interpolated to 15 Hz and a portable gas analyzer that acted as the criterion measure of EE. The exercise session was composed of alternating 5-minute exercise bouts of randomized walking, jogging, running, or a field-sport circuit (×3) followed by 10 min of recovery. One-way analysis of variance showed significant (P < .01) and very large underestimations between GPS metabolic power– derived EE and oxygen-consumption (VO2) -derived EE for all field-sport circuits (% difference ≈ –44%). No differences in EE were observed for the jog (7.8%) and run (4.8%), whereas very large overestimations were found for the walk (43.0%). The GPS metabolic power EE over the entire 90-min session was significantly lower (P < .01) than the VO2 EE, resulting in a moderate underestimation overall (–19%). The results of this study suggest that a GPS tracking system using the metabolic power model of EE does not accurately estimate EE in field-sport movements or over an exercise session consisting of mixed locomotor activities interspersed with recovery periods; however, is it able to provide a reasonably accurate estimation of EE during continuous jogging and running.

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Yin-Chou Lin, Angela Thompson, Jung-Tang Kung, Liang-Wei Chieh, Shih-Wei Chou and Jung-Charng Lin

Context:

Elbow injuries are widely reported among baseball players. The elbow is susceptible to injury when elbow-flexor and -extensor forces are imbalanced during pitching or throwing. Assessment of muscle-strength ratios may prove useful for diagnosing elbow injury.

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the elbow-flexor and -extensor functional isokinetic ratios and elbow injury in baseball players.

Design:

Retrospective study.

Setting:

Biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

College baseball players with (n = 9) and without (n = 12) self-reported elbow pain or loss of strength were recruited.

Intervention and Main Outcome Measures:

Trials were conducted using a dynamometer to assess dominant-arm flexor and extensor concentric and eccentric strength at angular velocities of 60° and 240°/s. Functional isokinetic ratios were calculated and compared between groups.

Results:

Regression analysis revealed that a ratio of biceps concentric to triceps concentric strength greater than 0.76 (the median value) significantly predicted elbow injury (P = .01, odds ratio of injury = 24). No other ratios or variables (including position played) were predictive of injury status.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that the ratio of biceps concentric to triceps concentric functional strength strongly predicts elbow-injury status in baseball players. Assessment of this ratio may prove useful in a practical setting for training purposes and both injury diagnosis and rehabilitation.

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Ketra L. Armstrong

Women’s sports is at an all-time high, as evidenced by the emergence of a number of professional women’s sport leagues (such as basketball, baseball, and fast-pitch softball). Notwithstanding the growth and popularity of women’s sports, these leagues will have to compete with other forms of leisure for consumers’ discretionary time and resources. Since financial stability is vital to the longevity of the developing women’s leagues, the competition for consumers will require a greater need for the marketers of women’s professional sport organizations to understand the variety of factors that influence sport consumers’ behavior and shape the composition of their respective markets. Presented in this article are the results of a study in which the consumers of one of the professional women’s basketball teams that competed in the American Basketball League (ABL)were investigated. The teams’ spectators are profiled as sport consumers, factors that influenced their attendance, are identified and implications for effective marketing strategies are noted.

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Alan Klein

This study examines racial tolerance through the intersection of the media, fans, and the Boston Red Sox. Through the 1998 season Red Sox home games in which Dominican Pedro Martinez pitched attracted large numbers of Latinos. This marked the first time that large numbers of people of color regularly attended Fenway Park. Media reports simultaneously promoted both an awareness of this cultural phenomenon and portrayed it as widely applauded. In presenting a story of Boston’s “embracing the ace,” the media reports also wound up pushing a view of widespread approval of the new Latino presence both in Fenway and society at large. This study sought to compare the impressions of widespread exuberance for Martinez and the Dominicans at the Park with actual interviews of those Anglos at the Park. It also sought to examine what motivated the Dominicans to attend in such large numbers and to so publicly celebrate their identity. The results showed that Anglos held a fractured view about Dominicans: a very positive view of Pedro Martinez as a Dominican but a fairly evenly split view of Dominicans in general. For their part, Dominicans were unconcerned with what Anglos thought and came to the game only to lend support to their Latino hero, as well as bask in his reflected glow. One methodological conclusion arrived at is that media content analysis must be cross checked against some sort of data and must not be assumed to accurately reflect social reality.