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Rochelle D. Kirwan, Lindsay K. Kordick, Shane McFarland, Denver Lancaster, Kristine Clark, and Mary P. Miles

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to determine the dietary, anthropometric, blood-lipid, and performance patterns of university-level American football players attempting to increase body mass during 8 wk of training.

Methods:

Three-day diet records, body composition (DEXA scan), blood lipids, and performance measures were collected in redshirt football players (N = 15, age 18.5 ± 0.6 yr) early season and after 8 wk of in-season training.

Results:

There was an increase (p < .05) from early-season to postseason testing for reported energy (+45%), carbohydrate (+82%), and protein (+29%) intakes and no change in the intake of fat. Fat intake was 41% of energy at the early-season test and 32% of energy at the postseason test. Increases (p < .05 for all) in performance measures, lean mass (70.5 ± 7.7–71.8 ± 7.7 kg), fat mass (15.9 ± 6.2–17.3 ± 6.8 kg), plasma total cholesterol (193.5 ± 32.4–222.6 ± 40.0 mg/dl), and low-density lipoproteins (LDL; 92.7 ± 32.7–124.5 ± 34.7 mg/dl) were measured. No changes were measured in triglycerides, very-low-density lipoproteins, or high-density lipoproteins.

Conclusion:

Increases in strength, power, speed, total body mass, muscle mass, and fat mass were measured. Cholesterol and LDL levels increased during the study to levels associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease. It is possible that this is a temporary phenomenon, but it is cause for concern and an indication that dietary education to promote weight gain in a manner less likely to adversely affect the lipid profile is warranted.

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Nancy A. Burkhalter and Janice C. Wendt

Alienation from physical education causes students to withdraw emotionally and physically from participation in classes. In addition, belief in one’s competence in physical activity and physical fitness appears to influence both participation in physical activity and fitness levels. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between physical factors (fitness performance and strength measures), psychological factors (alienation from physical education and two types of perceived physical competence), gender, and age in middle school children. Participants in this study were 242 children (138 girls, 104 boys) enrolled in 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade physical education classes. Data were collected on alienation from physical education; perceived competence toward physical fitness and toward physical activity; and grip strength, standing long jump, mile run, percent body fat, and body mass index. Using factor scores, a two-step regression procedure revealed that (a) gender and perceived fitness competence were significant predictors (p < .05) of fitness, explaining 41% of the variance, and (b) age, alienation, and perceived physical activity competence were significant predictors of strength, explaining 25% of the variance. Independent of gender and age, the psychological variables of perceived physical competence toward fitness and alienation are related to physical performance. Highly alienated youth were less fit, and children with lower perceptions of physical competence were less fit.

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Christophe Gernigon, Walid Briki, and Katie Eykens

Borrowing the dynamical systems perspective, two studies aimed to examine the potential properties of nonlinearity and history dependence of psychological momentum. Male regional-level table tennis players were asked to empathize with players in a very important contest by watching two video scenarios of a table tennis game in two separate sessions. The videos presented two inverted scenarios in which score gaps gradually increased or decreased. Competitive anxiety, self-confidence (Study 1), and goal involvement states (Study 2) were measured before each point. Cognitive and somatic anxieties decreased linearly during the increasing scenario, but increased nonlinearly in the decreasing scenario. Mastery-avoidance goals decreased nonlinearly in the increasing scenario, increased nonlinearly in the decreasing scenario, and displayed a negative hysteresis pattern. These findings offer new insights into the dynamics of psychological momentum and suggest new avenues of research.

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Patricia L. Weir, Tracey Kerr, Nicola J. Hodges, Sandra M. McKay, and Janet L. Starkes

Recent work in the area of sport expertise suggests that practice patterns can also play a critical role in maintaining athletic performance. This article examines the contribution of both physiological changes and practice patterns to swimming performances of master-, international-, junior-national-, and varsity-level swimmers. A comparison of the practice patterns of these groups suggests that master athletes spend significantly less time per week training for competition, and their training focus is on endurance, not strength. Younger swimmers train for endurance, strength, speed, and power. The authors suggest that these differences might be partly responsible for age-related performance changes. Performance changes for semilongitudinal and cross-sectional samples are characterized by significant quadratic beta weight, indicating increasing declines in performance starting at around 60 years of age. These data are discussed with respect to the role that practice plays in explaining performance changes with age.

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Richard M. Brede and Henry J. Camp

Educational performances of various types of male student-athletes participating in football and basketball at an NCAA Division I school are compared for each enrollment period during one academic year. These comparisons indicate three basic patterns of educational performance, patterns that involve the differential use among these student-athlete types of extra semesters as well as letter grade and credit hour changes in order to meet eligibility requirements. Meeting eligibility requirements is a year-round struggle for one fourth of the student-athletes studied. We conclude with some suggestions for additional research on student-athlete education.

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Niilo Koettinen and Heikki Lyytinen

Preshot brain slow potential (SP) shifts from frontal, central, centro-lateral, and occipital areas were recorded for 12 national-caliber sharpshooters during rifle-shooting performance. The aim of the study was to examine the intra-and intersubject variation in these SP profiles and to compare the superior performance to the poor performance. The results revealed that each shooter responded with one main SP profile in both performance categories. The other profiles represented outliers rather than substantial variation. The main profiles differed from subject to subject, presumably indicating several shooting styles. Finally, the main profiles related to high and low score shots could be differentiated, but this differentiation varied from subject to subject. The results were interpreted as showing that a shooter tends systematically to carry through a learned performance pattern, which is reflected in the main SP profile of the superior shots. If the shooter fails to follow this pattern, the shot is preceded by different SP changes.

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Mark L. Latash

The article offers a way to unite three recent developments in the field of motor control and coordination: (1) The notion of synergies is introduced based on the principle of motor abundance; (2) The uncontrolled manifold hypothesis is described as offering a computational framework to identify and quantify synergies; and (3) The equilibrium-point hypothesis is described for a single muscle, single joint, and multijoint systems. Merging these concepts into a single coherent scheme requires focusing on control variables rather than performance variables. The principle of minimal final action is formulated as the guiding principle within the referent configuration hypothesis. Motor actions are associated with setting two types of variables by a controller, those that ultimately define average performance patterns and those that define associated synergies. Predictions of the suggested scheme are reviewed, such as the phenomenon of anticipatory synergy adjustments, quick actions without changes in synergies, atypical synergies, and changes in synergies with practice. A few models are briefly reviewed.

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Brad D. Hatfield, Daniel M. Landers, and William J. Ray

In the initial phase of the study (Study 1) electrocortical arousal (EEG alpha activity) was assessed at four standardized sites (T3, T4, 01, and 02) from male and female (N = 17) international-caliber marksmen during rifle shooting performance. The task consisted of the execution of 40 shots at a conventional indoor target from the standing position. During each shot preparation, a significant increase in left temporal and occipital alpha activity was demonstrated, while the right hemispheric activity remained constant. Hemispheric laterality ratios (T4:T3) evidenced a significant shift toward right-brain dominance as the time to trigger pull approached. In the second phase of the study (Study 2) male and female (N = 15) marksmen performed the same shooting task and, additionally, the resultant EEG performance patterns were contrasted to those observed during the mental processing of sterotyped left-brain and right-brain mental tasks. Observed EEG patterns, that is, temporal ratios, during shooting replicated the results of Study 1, and furthermore, indicated that the laterality indices derived during shooting exhibited a more pronounced shift to right-brain processing than did those derived during right-brain mental task performance. The EEG data obtained during the comparative mental task states were used to interpret the shooting performance EEG findings in terms of the implications from bilateral or split-brain cognitive process theory.

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Anna Thacker, Jennifer Ho, Arsalan Khawaja, and Larry Katz

Purpose: Through video analysis, this paper explores the impact that order of performance has on middle school students’ performance of fundamental movement skills within a peer-to-peer learning model. Order of performance refers to the order in which a student performed a skill while paired up with a peer. Method: Using a mobile application, Move Improve®, 18 students (eight males and 10 females) completed a standing jump and hollow body roll in partners assigned to order of performance (evaluator/performer). An independent samples t test was conducted to evaluate the differences in the mean scores between students who performed first and those who performed second for each skill. Results: There was a significant difference in standing jump scores (p < .01), where students who performed second had a higher average score than their peers who went first. Although not statistically significant (p = .293), results for hollow body roll also showed a similar performance pattern for students who went second compared with those who performed first. Conclusion: The order of performance within a peer-to-peer learning model may have a significant effect on performance scores for standing jump but not for hollow body roll. Reasons for the discrepancy may be due to a combination of skill familiarity, skill complexity, and training of observational learning.

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Hiroaki Hobara, Sakiko Saito, Satoru Hashizume, Hiroyuki Sakata, and Yoshiyuki Kobayashi

similar or larger decrease. 1 Salo et al 2 analyzed step frequency and step length of the world’s elite able-bodied male 100-m sprinters over multiple competitions. They found that the performance patterns among the elite athletes greatly vary, and the overall step frequency or step length reliance