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Richard Mulholland Jr. and Alexander W. McNeill

This study compared the heart rate responses of two profoundly retarded, multiply handicapped children during the performance of closed-skill fine motor activities and open-skill gross motor activities. The fine motor skills were typical classroom activities, and the gross motor skills were a part of each child’s special physical education programming. Heart rates were recorded for 20-sec intervals from the onset of the performance of each skill until the task objective was obtained. Based upon the results of this study, we concluded that the closed-skill fine motor classroom activities induce physiological stress at levels never before suspected. It is suggested that the dramatic heart rate responses may result from a hyposensitive condition of the spindle afferents, the gamma efferents, and the kinesthetic joint receptors, or from a breakdown in the retrieval of the stored motor program resulting in inappropriate spatial and temporal summation. As a result of the heart rate responses, it is suggested that classroom learning programs may need to be redesigned to accommodate for fatigue in this type of child.

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Melissa Hunfalvay and Nicholas Murray

The purpose of this study was to examine whether prior biped tennis playing experience results in different visual search strategies compared with no prior biped playing experience. A total of 32 wheelchair (WC) tennis players, 17 males and 15 females, ranked between 1 and 16 on the International Tennis Federation rankings participated in this study. Half the players had prior experience playing tennis as a biped player, and half had no prior experience in biped tennis. The athletes viewed 18 different serves from an expert WC player while their gaze was monitored using eye tracking. Results revealed significant differences between the groups in fixation duration and number of fixations. Differences were also found in fixation locations and durations across biomechanical phases of the serve. The WC only players had more fixations for shorter periods than did WC with biped players in the ritual phase. In the preparatory and execution phases, however, the WC only players had fewer fixations for longer duration than the WC with biped players. Results are discussed in terms of long-term memory structures, learning, and considerations when coaching and training WC tennis players.

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Joseph O.C. Coyne, Sophia Nimphius, Robert U. Newton, and G. Gregory Haff

previously mentioned correlations, it was suggested that ATL and CTL should be uncoupled if practitioners wish to use the ACWR to examine the relationship between TL and injury. 3 The authors know of only 3 studies, all in open-skill sports, which have employed an uncoupled ACWR to examine this relationship

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Harry J. Meeuwsen, Sinah L. Goode, and Noreen L. Goggin

Ten young and 10 older adult females, who were all right-eye and right-hand dominant, performed a switch-press and a hitting coincidence anticipation timing task on a Bassin Anticipation Timing apparatus with stimulus speeds of 4,8, and 12 mph. Level of experience with open skills was determined by a self-report questionnaire, and all participants were screened on six visual characteristics using the Biopter Vision Test. Unlike the young adults, older adults reported no substantial experience with open skills. Prior experience with open skills was found to have little effect on the different dependent variables. Nonetheless, young females performed with less absolute and variable error than older females. Our data suggest that older females’ perceptual and motor systems are differentially affected by manipulations of task and stimulus characteristics.

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Thomas A. Eidson and Robert E. Stadulis

Schmidt’s (1975) schema theory hypothesis of variability of practice on the performance of both a closed and an open motor skill was investigated. Following an acquisition phase for each task, moderately mentally handicapped (MH) and nonhandicapped (NH) subjects were randomly assigned to either variable or constant practice. For the closed skill, constant practice groups exhibited more absolute error than the variable practice groups during performance of a transfer task. No significant effect of type of practice for the open skill was obtained. For the open skill, MH subjects had significantly greater absolute error and variable error than NH subjects; no performance differences were evidenced for the closed skill. For both MH and NH subjects, Schmidt’s variability-of-practice hypothesis was supported, but only for closed skills.

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Harry J. Meeuwsen, Sinah L. Goode, and Noreen L. Goggin

The purpose of this experiment was to replicate and extend earlier experiments used to investigate the effect of the motor response, experience with open skills, and gender on coincidence-anticipation timing accuracy. Fifteen males and fifteen females, who were all right-eye and right-hand dominant, performed a switch-press and a hitting coincident-anticipation timing task on a Bassin Anticipation Timing apparatus with stimulus speeds of 4 mph, 8 mph, and 12 mph. Level of experience with open skills was determined by a self-report questionnaire and vision was screened using the Biopter Vision Test. Experience with open skills explained some of the variable error data, possibly supporting a socio-cultural explanation of gender differences. Males performed with less variable and absolute error than females, while performance bias was different for the genders on the two tasks. All participants performed with less absolute error on the 8 mph stimulus speed. The type of task and stimulus speed affected performance variability differently. Based on the task characteristics and these data, it was concluded that optimal effector anticipation is more strongly linked to stimulus speed than receptor anticipation. Future studies will have to confirm this conclusion.

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Rafael A.B. Tedesqui and Terry Orlick

The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the attentional focus experienced by elite soccer players in different soccer positions and performance tasks of both closed and open skills. No previous studies have explored elite soccer players’ attentional skills from a naturalistic and qualitative perspective in such detail. Data collection consisted of individual semistructured interviews with eight highly elite Brazilian soccer players from five main soccer positions, namely goalkeeper, defender, wing, midfielder, and forward. Important themes were positive thinking, performing on autopilot, and relying on peripheral vision. For example, thematic analysis indicated that in tasks where there may be an advantage in disguising one’s intentions (e.g., penalty kick), relying on peripheral vision was essential. Early mistakes were among the main sources of distractions; thus, players reported beginning with easy plays as a strategy to prevent distractions. Implications for applied sport psychology were drawn and future studies recommended.

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Sue L. McPherson

Research examining planning strategies used by high-strategy open-skill performers is limited. This study examined planning responses of collegiate varsity (experts, n = 6) and beginner (novices, n = 6) women tennis players between points during competition. Other articles focused on expert-novice differences in problem representations (quantitative analyses of verbal data via audiotaping) accessed during simulated situations and during actual competition (immediate recall point interviews) and performance skills during competition (via videotaping). Mann-Whitney U tests on verbal report measures indicated experts generated more total, varied, and sophisticated goal, condition, action, and do concepts than novices. Experts planned for actions based on elaborate and sophisticated action plan and current event profiles; novices rarely planned and they lacked these memory structures. Differences in internal self-talk were also noted.

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Vickie Grooms Denny

The purpose of this study was to determine if an external attention focus was more effective than an internal attention focus for college female volleyball players practicing the complex open skill of the jump float serve. Sixteen college females with prior competitive volleyball playing experience were matched into either an internal or external attention focus group, each serving a total of 30 balls in three blocks of ten serves. After the pre-test, two days of practice and day off, a post-test was conducted for both groups. Results demonstrated a 25% improvement for the internal focus group and a 26.8% improvement for the external focus group. These results suggest that both internal and external focuses of attention are beneficial for practicing the complex jump float serve. However, a paired t-test from the improvement scores of both groups demonstrated no significant difference between the two practice conditions suggesting that either an internal focus or an external focus of attention is effective for practicing the complex jump float serve. In this particular study, external focus of attention was not found to be more effective than an internal focus of attention. Since these results do not support much of the research done with attention focus and sport skills, additional studies are needed comparing internal and external focus of attention, especially when practicing open sport skills.

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Joseph O.C. Coyne, Sophia Nimphius, Robert U. Newton, and G. Gregory Haff

Rolling averages  Closed-skill internal TL .70 (.65 to .74) <.001*** −.14 (−.23 to −.05) <.001*** <.001*** .99 (.99 to 1.00) <.001***  Open-skill internal TL .52 (.48 to .56) <.001*** .10 (.04 to .15) <.001*** <.001*** .96 (.95 to .96) <.001***  Open-skill external TL .51 (.47 to .55) <.001*** .02 (−.03