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Three-Year Trajectory of Interest in Learning Physical Activity Knowledge: Influences of Gender and Prior Knowledge

Yubing Wang, Tan Zhang, and Ang Chen

questions were addressed in the current study: (a) to what extent does students’ interest in learning PA knowledge change from sixth grade to eighth grade? and (b) to what extent does gender and prior knowledge influence students’ 3-year trajectory of interest in learning PA knowledge? Methods Research

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Influence of Prior Knowledge of Exercise Duration on Pacing Strategies During Game-Based Activities

Tim J. Gabbett, Ben Walker, and Shane Walker


To investigate the influence of prior knowledge of exercise duration on the pacing strategies employed during gamebased activities.


Twelve semiprofessional team-sport athletes (mean ± SD age 22.8 ± 2.1 y) participated in this study. Players performed 3 small-sided games in random order. In one condition (Control), players were informed that they would play the small-sided game for 12 min and then completed the 12-min game. In a 2nd condition (Deception), players were told that they would play the small-sided game for 6 minutes, but after completing the 6-min game, they were asked to complete another 6 min. In a 3rd condition (Unknown), players were not told how long they would be required to play the small-sided game, but the activity was terminated after 12 min. Movement was recorded using a GPS unit sampling at 10 Hz. Post hoc inspection of video footage was undertaken to count the number of possessions and the number and quality of disposals.


Higher initial intensities were observed in the Deception (130.6 ± 3.3 m/min) and Unknown (129.3 ± 2.4 m/min) conditions than the Control condition (123.3 ± 3.4 m/min). Greater amounts of high-speed running occurred during the initial phases of the Deception condition, and more low-speed activity occurred during the Unknown condition. A moderately greater number of total skill involvements occurred in the Unknown condition than the Control condition.


These findings suggest that during game-based activities, players alter their pacing strategy based on the anticipated endpoint of the exercise bout.

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An Examination of Learning Profiles in Physical Education

Bo Shen and Ang Chen

Using the model of domain learning as a theoretical framework, the study was designed to examine the extent to which learners’ initial learning profiles based on previously acquired knowledge, learning strategy application, and interest-based motivation were distinctive in learning softball. Participants were 177 sixth-graders from three middle schools. A hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to determine what kinds of learning profiles would result from the interactions among prior knowledge, learning strategies, and interest. The results revealed that individual learners could be classified into subgroups with distinctive learning characteristics. It is supported that learning in physical education is a progressive process that involves both cognitive and affective dimensions. An effective physical education curriculum should address both knowledge and skill acquisition and motivation simultaneously.

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Facilitating the Use of Online Visual Feedback: Advance Information and the Inter-Trial Interval?

Darian T. Cheng, Gerome A. Manson, Andrew Kennedy, and Luc Tremblay

Cheng et al. (2008) showed that when goal-directed reaching movements are performed with a 2.5 s inter-trial interval (ITI) under a randomized visual feedback schedule, individuals use online visual information on trial n to perform efficient online corrections on trial n + 1 (i.e., “reminiscence” effect). These results persisted even when participants were given knowledge of the up-coming vision condition. In this study, the ITI was extended to 5 s in an attempt to negate any effects of the preceding trial. Results from this study revealed that trials with vision were always more accurate than trials performed without vision, suggesting that individuals relied significantly on online information. Furthermore, aiming precision improved when participants knew the vision condition before each trial. It is thus suggested that the reminiscence effects are not longer evident with a 5 s ITI, which in turn allows prior knowledge of visual feedback to influence the use of online vision.

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Examining the Interrelations among Knowledge, Interests, and Learning Strategies

Bo Shen and Ang Chen

Guided by the Model of Domain Learning (MDL), the study was designed to explore the extent of interrelations among prior knowledge, learning strategies, interests, physical engagement, and learning outcomes in a sixth-grade (N = 91) volleyball unit. Pearson product-moment correlations and a path analysis were conducted for the research purpose. The results showed that students’ prior knowledge, learning strategies, and interests were interrelated. Physical engagement and learning outcomes were directly influenced by the interactions among prior knowledge, interests, and learning strategies. The findings in the study support that learning in physical education is domain-specific and a progressive process that encompasses both cognitive and affective components.

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A Nonlinear Rheological Model for Active and Passive Skeletal Muscle

David T. Corr, Ray Vanderby Jr., and Thomas M. Best

An existing rheological model of skeletal muscle (Forcinito et al., 1998) was modified with a nonlinear Maxwell fluid element to provide a phenomenological model capable of analyzing the strain-stiffening behavior typically found in passive, and occasionally observed in active, skeletal muscle. This new model describes both active and passive muscular behavior as a combination of the behavior of each model component, without requiring prior knowledge of the force-length or force-velocity characteristics of the muscle.

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Third Grade Students’ Mental Models of Blood Circulation Related to Exercise

Denis Pasco and Catherine D. Ennis

Students’ prior knowledge has been identified to play an important role in the learning process through conceptual change. In physical education, positive changes in students’ lifestyles may come from changes in their conceptual understanding. In this study 45 third grade students (mean age = 8.54 years) were interviewed during their regular physical education class to examine their mental models and naïve theories of blood circulation related to exercise. Results revealed one initial mental model (when you exercise, your blood goes everywhere in your body) and three synthetic mental models. These mental models were generated under the constraint of a naïve framework theory. Results are discussed in relation to: (a) the nature of gradual growth of students’ mental models through enrichment, (b) children’s prior experience of the physical world and their subsequent explanations of physiological changes related to exercise, and (c) physical education as a domain-specific knowledge.

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Is There a Correlation in Improvements of TOPS Scores and Improvements in Track and Field Performances in Collegiate Athletes?

Trey Brokaw

This presentation will share the results from a study conducted on college track and field athletes at the NCAA division II level. The study compares the results of scores on the Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS) and, individual athlete’s improvements in their event area according to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) scoring charts for track and field. A select group of primarily middle distance and distance runners was selected for the study. These athletes were given a baseline TOPS examination to evaluate their prior knowledge and use of mental skills in their athletic experiences. Personal best times in the athlete’s primary events were recorded from the previous year. During the nine weeks of the outdoor track and field season that this study took place; athletes were introduced to a wide array of activities associated with improving their mental skills. Such activities included goal setting, imagery, relaxation, optimum level of arousal, affirmations, and the use of positive self-talk and routines. Athletes would have an organized mental skills session at least twice each of the nine weeks of the season. Athletes also had an individual meeting with the coaches to go over goal setting and the use of their mental skills to enhance their physical skills. After the outdoor season was completed the athletes took a post-examination TOPS. The scores were compared with their pretest scores as well as their improvement in personal best times in their main events on the track.

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Proactive Action Preparation: Seeing Action Preparation as a Continuous and Proactive Process

Giovanni Pezzulo and Dimitri Ognibene

In this paper, we aim to elucidate the processes that occur during action preparation from both a conceptual and a computational point of view. We first introduce the traditional, serial model of goal-directed action and discuss from a computational viewpoint its subprocesses occurring during the two phases of covert action preparation and overt motor control. Then, we discuss recent evidence indicating that these subprocesses are highly intertwined at representational and neural levels, which undermines the validity of the serial model and points instead to a parallel model of action specification and selection. Within the parallel view, we analyze the case of delayed choice, arguing that action preparation can be proactive, and preparatory processes can take place even before decisions are made. Specifically, we discuss how prior knowledge and prospective abilities can be used to maximize utility even before deciding what to do. To support our view, we present a computational implementation of (an approximated version of) proactive action preparation, showing its advantages in a simulated tennis-like scenario.

Open access

Coping With the “Small Sample–Small Relevant Effects” Dilemma in Elite Sport Research

Sabrina Skorski and Anne Hecksteden

in question. Therefore, formally including previous knowledge (“Bayesian updating”) can offer a legitimate head start to a small data set. 1 Previous trials on a lower performance level or practitioner’s experiential knowledge are 2 potential sources for valuable “priorknowledge. Importantly, when