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Optimizing Human Performance—A Brief History of Macro and Micro Perspectives

Mark S. Dyreson

The 2019 National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) meetings gathered an array of scholars to explore the “Optimization of Human Performance.” In the program description he sketched for the assembly, Past President Bradley Hatfield (Fellow #452) offered a very modern vision of optimal performance

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Beyond Optimal Performance: Mental Toughness Profiles and Developmental Success in Adolescent Cricketers

Daniel F. Gucciardi and Martin I. Jones

The purposes of the current study were to identify mental toughness profiles in adolescent cricketers and examine differences between these profiles on developmental assets and negative emotional states. A sample of 226 community cricketers (125 New Zealanders and 101 Australians; male n = 210) aged between 10 and 18 years (M age = 14.41 years; SD = 2.11) completed a multisection, online survey containing measures of mental toughness, developmental assets, and negative emotional states. The results of hierarchical (Ward’s method) and nonhierarchical (k means) cluster analyses revealed three mental toughness profiles characterized by low, moderate, and high levels of all five mental toughness assets (i.e., affective intelligence, desire to achieve, self-belief, attentional control, resilience). Those cricketers with high levels of mental toughness reported possession of more developmental assets and lower levels of negative emotional states when compared with cricketers with the moderate levels of mental toughness. No statistically significant differences existed between the moderate and low levels of mental toughness profiles. These findings provided preliminary evidence to suggest that mental toughness might be viewed not only from the traditional view of optimal performance but also from a stance that may represent a contextually salient representation of thriving in youth sport settings.

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An Integrated, Multifactorial Approach to Periodization for Optimal Performance in Individual and Team Sports

Iñigo Mujika, Shona Halson, Louise M. Burke, Gloria Balagué, and Damian Farrow

article, therefore, is to review the available evidence underpinning integrated periodization. In particular, this review will focus on the following aspects by which athletic preparation can be periodized for optimal performance in competition: • Training periodization • Periodization of recovery

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A Grounded-Theory Study of Meta-Attention in Golfers

Alex Oliver, Paul J. McCarthy, and Lindsey Burns

( 1992 ) showed that during their best performances, Olympic wrestlers reported a clear use of strategic planning and less so in their poorer performances. Optimal performances featured total concentration, optimal intensity, confidence, and cognitions involving strategy, focusing, and refocusing

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The Effect of an Integrated Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Training Intervention on Ice Hockey Shooting Performance

Sommer Christie, Maurizio Bertollo, and Penny Werthner

significant lack of empirical research assessing the true effect on sport performance (e.g.,  Mirifar et al., 2017 ; Thompson, Steffert, Ros, Leach, & Gruzelier, 2008 ; Xiang, Hou, Liao, Liao, & Hu, 2018 ). Neural Activity and Optimal Performance in Sport The field of cognitive neuroscience has become

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The Total Runner: A Complete Mind-Body Guide to Optimal Performance

Robert Brustad

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Optimal Performance in Tennis: Mental Skills for Maximum Achievement in Athletics and Life

Katheleen Avila

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A Predicted Optimal Performance of the Yurchenko Layout Vault in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics

Michael Koh, Leslie Jennings, Bruce Elliott, and David Lloyd

The Yurchenko layout vault is the base vault from which more advanced forms of the Yurchenko family of vaults have evolved. The purpose of the study was to predict an individual’s optimal Yurchenko layout vault by modifying selected critical mechanical variables. The gymnast’s current performance characteristics were determined using the Peak-Motus video analysis system. Body segment parameters were determined using the elliptical zone mathematical modeling technique of Jensen (1978). A 5-segment computer simulation model was personalized for the gymnast comprising the hands, upper limbs, upper trunk, lower trunk, and lower limbs. Symmetry was assumed, as the motion was planar in nature. An objective function was identified which translated the subjective points-evaluation scheme of the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) Code of Points to an analytic expression that was mathematically tractable. The objective function was composed of performance variables that, if maximized, would result in minimal points being deducted and bonus points being allocated. A combined optimal control and optimal parameter selection approach was applied to the model to determine an optimum technique. The predicted optimal vault displayed greater postflight amplitude and angular momentum when compared with the gymnast’s best trial performance. Increased angular velocity, and consequently greater angular momentum at impact and greater shoulder flexion angle at impact with the horse, were related with this optimum technique. The impact phase therefore serves to increase the angular momentum during horse contact. Since the optimized parameters at impact with the horse were within the accepted physical capacity limits observed for the individual, the predicted vault is viable.

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Perceived Outcomes of a Biofeedback and Neurofeedback Training Intervention for Optimal Performance: Learning to Enhance Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation With Olympic Athletes

Margaret Dupee, Tanya Forneris, and Penny Werthner

The purpose of this study was to explore the perceived outcomes of a biofeedback and neurofeedback training intervention with high performance athletes. Five Olympic level athletes preparing for world championships and the 2012 Olympic Games took part in a 20 session intervention over the period of one year. At the completion of the intervention, a semistructured interview was conducted with each athlete. The athletes indicated that they became more self-aware, were better able to self-regulate both their physiological and psychological states, developed a greater sense of personal control, and a greater understanding of skills inherent in the field of sport psychology. Three of the athletes made the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 Olympic Games and two of those athletes won bronze medals. The present study suggests that biofeedback and neurofeedback training may be useful in enabling athletes to perform optimally, in both training and competition, on a consistent basis.

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Is There an Optimal Pole Length for Double Poling in Cross Country Skiing?

Franziska Onasch, Anthony Killick, and Walter Herzog

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of pole length on energy cost and kinematics in cross country double poling. Seven sub-elite male athletes were tested using pole sets of different lengths (ranging between 77% and 98% of participants’ body height). Tests were conducted on a treadmill, set to a 2% incline and an approximate racing speed. Poling forces, contact times, and oxygen uptake were measured throughout the testing. Pole length was positively correlated with ground contact time (r = .57, p < .001) and negatively correlated with poling frequency (r = −.48, p = .003). Pole length was also positively correlated with pole recovery time and propulsive impulse produced per poling cycle (r = .36, p = .031; r = .35, p = .042, respectively). Oxygen uptake and pole length were negatively correlated (r = −.51, p = .004). This acute study shows that increasing pole length for double poling in sub-elite cross country skiers under the given conditions seems to change the poling mechanics in distinct ways, resulting in a more efficient poling action by decreasing an athlete’s metabolic cost.