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Ronnie Lidor, Gershon Tenenbaum, Gal Ziv and Vladimir Issurin

Deliberate practice (DP), an activity aimed at enhancing an individual’s performance, has been reported to be crucial for achieving a state of expertise in various domains, such as education, music, and sport. In this article, the relationships between DP and the process of athletic performance adaptation are explored by elaborating on the main principle of the theory of training—periodization. We argue that periodization should be considered as a mechanism for ensuring DP, and that the implementation of periodization principles (cycles and phases) in DP activities can facilitate adaptation processes leading to expert performance. We describe the characteristics and features of DP, review a series of studies on DP and athletic performance (N = 21), discuss the importance of periodization in sport training, and outline a number of benefits of periodization. A model that emphasizes the link between periodization and DP activities in each phase of sport development is proposed, and a number of research approaches to address periodization are discussed.

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Luke Oldridge, Lee Nelson, Kenny Greenough and Paul Potrac

This paper examines how the learning biography of Jack (pseudonym), an experienced track and field athletics coach, shaped his thoughts about coaching practice. Data were collected through seven in-depth, semistructured, narrative-biographical interviews that formed part of a cyclical and iterative data analysis process. Our analysis of Jack’s narrative revealed how his understanding of two distinct features of his coaching practice (i.e., implementation of periodization and pedagogical delivery style) developed in contrasting ways. Jack’s story was primarily, although not exclusively, interpreted using Alheit’s concepts of biographical learning and biographicity, Biesta and Tedder’s writings on agency and learning in the life-course, and Jarvis’ discussion of learning as a process of becoming. The findings of this study raise significant questions for how the field of sports coaching seeks to understand coach learning.

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Elizabeth J. Durden-Myers and Margaret E. Whitehead

The concept of physical literacy is increasing in popularity in both policy and practice in the fields of sport, health, education, and recreation in several countries around the globe ( Lundvall, 2015 ; Jurbala, 2015 ). With this increased popularity, so too are the calls for research in relation

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Rafael A. B. Tedesqui and Bradley W. Young

Research on athletes’ personalities has always been of interest to coaches. In fact, some of the earliest work in sport psychology concerned itself with aligning coaching and leadership practices with athletes’ personalities to ensure best performance in competition (e.g.,  Griffith, 1925 ). This

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Cara Shearer, Hannah R. Goss, Lowri C. Edwards, Richard J. Keegan, Zoe R. Knowles, Lynne M. Boddy, Elizabeth J. Durden-Myers and Lawrence Foweather

, researchers have endeavored to elaborate on what the concept means and how it can be applied in practice. Nevertheless, research published on the concept of physical literacy has provided a diverse array of perspectives ( Dudley, Cairney, Wainwright, Kriellaars, & Mitchell, 2017 ; Edwards et al., 2017

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Philippe Crisp

concerning how coaches can best achieve and meet wider social policy objectives through their practice. The issue then is that we know that sporting programs are not always effective ( Coalter, 2013 ), so we need to find out what makes successful programs. In short, if community projects work, we should also

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Patricia S. Pohl and Carolee J. Winstein

The purpose of ihis study was to compare the effects of a single practice session on performance strategies used by young and older adults to decrease movement time (MT) while maintaining accuracy of an aiming task. Five young and 5 older adult males practiced until each accumulated 500 target hits in each of two complexity conditions as defined by Fitts’s law. Participants decreased MT with practice; however, older adults had longer MTs than the young, particularly in the high-complexity condition. With practice in the low-complexity condition, participants decreased absolute acceleration and deceleration times but maintained the relative amount of MT devoted to temporal phases. In contrast, with practice in the high-complexity condition, participants decreased absolute deceleration and dwell time and changed the temporal structure. Results suggest that older adults can decrease MT with practice and that the performance strategies adopted to speed performance are more a function of task complexity than age.

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Steve Hansen, Digby Elliott and Michael A. Khan

The utility of ellipsoids for quantifying central tendency and variability throughout the trajectory of goal-directed movements is described. Aiming movements were measured over 2 days of practice and under full-vision and no-vision conditions. A three-dimensional optoelectronic system measured the movements. Individual ellipsoid locations, dimensions, and volumes were derived from the average location and the spatial variability of the effector’s trajectory at proportional temporal periods throughout the movement. Changes in ellipsoid volume over time illustrate the evolution in motor control that occurred with practice and the processes associated with visual control. This technique has the potential to extend our understanding of limb control and can be applied to practical problems such as equipment design and evaluation of movement rehabilitation.

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Andrew E. Alstot

Token economies have a long research and applied history within clinical settings and classroom education (Kazdin, 1982). However, despite reported successes in improving physical activity behaviors (Alstot, 2012), research examining token reinforcement implemented specifically in physical education is virtually nonexistent. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of a peer-administered token economy on the jump rope behaviors of elementary physical education students. An alternating treatments design was used to assess the effects of the intervention. Participants were alternated between five baseline and five token economy sessions while response differentiation between the two phases was assessed. Results indicated that nine out of ten participants showed an increase in the number of successful jump rope practice trials during token reinforcement sessions as compared with baseline sessions. Based on the results of the study, it was concluded that peer-administered token economies can be useful tools for physical educators.

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Bradley W. Young, Nikola Medic, Patricia L. Weir and Janet L. Starkes

Researchers have contended that patterns of age-related decline are not necessarily due to age, but rather to disuse, or declining practice (Bortz, 1982; Ericsson, 2000; Maharam, Bauman, Kalman, Skolnik, & Perle, 1999). A regression approach was used to examine age and training variables as predictors of 10-km running performance between 40 and 59 years of age. A sample of 30 Masters runners (M age = 50.1 years, M 10-km time = 39:19) reported data for ongoing training, cumulative running in the past 5 years, and cumulative running earlier in a career. In Analysis 1, ongoing training variables explained more variance in performance than age alone, and reduced the unique variance attributable to age in a combined model. In Analysis 2, findings were replicated using past cumulative running variables and age; running in the past 5 years explained more unique variance than age alone. Discussion focuses on how findings relate to the selective maintenance account (Krampe & Ericsson, 1996), how various aspects of training help to preserve performance in aging populations, and recommendations for future research.