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Cynthia M. Ferrara and Emily Hollingsworth

Purpose:

To examine relationships between physical characteristics and injuries in adult figure skaters.

Methods:

One hundred thirty adult figure skaters (113 women and 17 men, 43 ± 9 and 55 ± 10 y old, respectively) completed study questionnaires concerning health, height and weight, exercise habits, and injuries in the preceding year.

Results:

The men were older and taller and weighed more than the women (P < .05). Approximately 80% had normal body-mass index (BMI, weight [kg]/height [m]2), and the other 20% were overweight or obese based on BMI. Study participants had been skating for 12 ± 10 y (range 1 to 68 y). Most skate 4 to 5 h/wk (competitive > recreational skaters, P < .05). Although approximately 50% of competitive skaters always warm up or stretch before skating, less than 30% of the recreational skaters always do so (P < .05). Seventy-two skaters (56%) reported at least 1 injury in the preceding year. Most of the injuries were acute injuries to the lower extremity and were related to skating (76%). There were no differences in the incidence of stretching or warm-up activities or the number of hours per week spent skating in those who had incurred a skating-related injury compared with those who had not been injured (P > .05).

Conclusions:

The results suggest that adult skaters have training and exercise habits that might increase their risk of injury and impair athletic performance. This suggests the importance of educational programming for adult skaters designed to address injury prevention and basic exercise-training principles.

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Dustin A. Bruening and James G. Richards

Lower extremity injuries in figure skating have long been linked to skating boot stiffness, and recent increases in jump practice time may be influencing the frequency and seriousness of these injuries. It is hypothesized that stiff boots compromise skaters' abilities to attenuate jump landing forces. Decreasing boot stiffness by adding an articulation at the ankle may reduce the rate and magnitude of landing forces. Prototype articulated figure skating boots were tested in this study to determine their effectiveness in enabling skaters to land with lower peak impact forces. Nine competitive figure skaters, who trained in standard boots and subsequently in articulated boots, performed off-ice jump simulations and on-ice axels, double toe loops, and double axels. Analysis of the off-ice simulations showed decreases in peak heel force and loading rate with use of the articulated boot, although the exact kinematic mechanisms responsible for these decreases are still unclear. Analysis of the on-ice jumps revealed few kinematic differences between boot types, implying that the skaters did not use the articulation. Greater adaptation and training time is likely needed for the results seen off-ice to transfer to difficult on-ice jumps.

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Marjorie Bernier, Emilie Thienot, Emilie Pelosse and Jean F. Fournier

This article examines the effects and underlying processes of a mindfulness-based intervention through two case studies. A one-season intervention designed according to the mindfulness approach was implemented with young elite figure skaters. Case studies were complemented with different measurement methods: a questionnaire assessing mindfulness skills, percent improvement on competition scores compared with a control group, and interviews with skaters and coaches during the intervention. The two case studies presented demonstrate how the young skaters developed their mindfulness skills and how these skills benefited their performance. They also show the limitations of this intervention type in young populations. Performance improvement and processes underlying the intervention are discussed in light of the results, and new perspectives are provided for adapting them to the particular needs of young athletes.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

sports like figure skating, appearance and leanness are emphasized aspects of performance, and pressures to achieve a certain body ideal are intensified ( Voelker, Gould, & Reel, 2014 ; Voelker & Reel, 2015 ). In their etiological model of eating disorders in sport, Petrie and Greenleaf ( 2012 ) posited

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Leanne C. Findlay and Diane M. Ste-Marie

The current study examined whether expectations, assumed to be created by the positive reputation of an athlete, produced a bias in judging at either the encoding or evaluation phase of sport performance appraisal. The short programs of 14 female figure skaters were evaluated by judges to whom the athletes were either known or unknown. Ordinal rankings were found to be higher when skaters were known by the judges as compared to when they were unknown. Furthermore, skaters received significantly higher technical merit marks when known, although artistic marks did not differ. No significant differences were found for the identification of elements or associated deductions, measures which were assumed to be indicative of the encoding phase of judging. These findings suggest that a reputation bias does exist when judging figure skating, and that it is present during the evaluation phase of sport performance appraisal, as reflected by the ordinal and technical merit marks.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

Figure skaters are evaluated on the execution of challenging technical skills as well as how those skills are packaged with other performance components, including costume, music, choreography, and physical appearance ( Cummins, 2007 ). Male and female skaters report experiencing pressure from a

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Lori F. Cummins

Figure skating is a distinct youth sport often overlooked in the sport psychology literature. This paper reviews the literature to substantiate how figure skating presents challenges for adaptation and development not shared by other sports. The possible implications of figure skating on identity and self-worth are considered, as is the role of coaches in the figure skating environment and how they can potentially foster or hinder their athletes’ positive psychological development. In this regard, the possible application of parenting style theories is discussed in the context of figure skating coaches. Finally, Smith, Smoll, and Curtis’s (1979) Coach Effectiveness Training program is considered as a potential intervention program to promote healthy psychological development for young figure skaters.

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Paula J. Ziegler, Judy A. Nelson and Satya S. Jonnalagadda

The present study examined the prevalence of dietary supplement use among elite figure skaters, gender differences in supplement use, and differences in nutrient intake of supplement users versus non-users. Male (n = 46) and female (n = 59) figure skaters completed a supplement survey and 3-day food records. Descriptive analysis, chi-square test, and independent t tests were used to analyze the data. Sixty-five percent of male (n = 30) and 76% of female (n = 45) figure skaters reported use of supplements. Forty-seven percent of males and 55% of females reported daily use of supplements. Multivitamin-mineral supplements were the most popular dietary supplements consumed by figure skaters. Significant gender differences were observed in the use of multivitamin-mineral supplements (61% males vs. 83% females, p < .05). Echinacea and ginseng were popular herbal supplements used by these skaters. The 3 main reasons given by male figure skaters for taking supplements were: to provide more energy (41%), to prevent illness or disease (34%), and to enhance performance (21%). Among female figure skaters, the 3 main reasons given were: to prevent illness or disease (61%), to provide more energy (39%), and to make up for an inadequate diet (28%). Significant differences (p < .05) were observed in protein, total fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat intakes, and % energy from carbohydrate and total fat of male supplement users versus non-users, with supplement users having higher intakes except for percent energy from carbohydrate. Sodium was the only nutrient significantly different (p < .05) among female supplement users versus non-users, with supplement users having lower intakes. Given the popularity of dietary supplements, it is important to understand the factors influencing athletes’ use of supplements, their knowledge and attitudes regarding supplements, dosage of supplements used, and the effectiveness of these dietary supplements in meeting the goals of the athletes.

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Daniel Gould, Susan Jackson and Laura Finch

This investigation examined stress and sources of stress experienced by U.S. national champion figure skaters. Seventeen national champions, who held their titles between 1985 and 1990, were interviewed about the stress they experienced as national champions and were asked to identify specific sources of stress. Qualitative methodology was used to inductively analyze the interview transcripts and revealed that 71% of the skaters experienced more stress after winning their title than before doing so. Stress source dimensions were also identified and included: relationship issues, expectations and pressure to perform, psychological demands on skater resources, physical demands on skater resources, environmental demands on skater resources, life direction concerns, and a number of individual specific uncategorizable sources. In general, these findings parallel the previous elite figure skaters stress source research of Scanlan, Stein, and Ravizza (1991), although there were several points of divergence relative to the type of stressors experienced by this sample of national champion athletes.

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Paula J. Ziegler, Judith A. Nelson and Satya S. Jonnalagadda

This study assessed the nutrient intake, body composition and biochemical indices of National Figure Skating Championship competitors. Four-day diet records, fasting blood samples, and anthropometric measurements were obtained 2 months after the National Championships from 41 figure skaters 11-18 years of age. Energy, carbohydrate, fat, dietary fiber and cholesterol intake were significantly lower compared to the NHANES III averages for adolescents in the U.S. In general, the mean intakes for most vitamins except vitamin D and E were above the recommended intake. But the athletes had lower intakes of vitamin E and B12, and higher intakes of vitamin C, and thiamin (females only) compared with NHANES III. The mean intakes of magnesium, zinc, and iodine by the male skaters were below the recommended levels, as were the mean intakes of calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc by the female skaters. Also, the number of servings from vegetable, fruit, dairy, and meat groups were below the recommended levels. Biochemical indices of nutritional status were within normal limits for all skaters. But plasma electrolyte concentrations were indicative of potential dehydration status. The results suggest there is a need to develop dietary intervention and educational programs targeted at promoting optimal nutrient and fluid intakes by these athletes to maintain performance and improve long-term health status.