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Logan T. Markwell, Andrew J. Strick, and Jared M. Porter

Sports, along with nearly all facets of life, have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Basketball Association quickly adopted a unique method to finish the 2019–2020 regular season and playoffs. The entire league quarantined for months in what was known as the “NBA bubble” where games were played in spectator-less arenas. During this time, increases in shooting accuracy were reported, suggesting that free throws and field goals were made at record-breaking levels. This study examined differences in free throw shooting accuracy with and without spectators. Archival data were retrieved and analyzed to evaluate the potential differences. Free throw shooting accuracy with and without spectators were examined in multiple analyses. Our examination revealed free throw percentages were significantly greater in spectator-less arenas compared with the 2018 and 2019 seasons with spectators. Changes of the environmental characteristics, due to spectator-less arenas, were likely contributors to the improved free throw phenomenon reported in this study.

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Alexandra Stribing, Adam Pennell, Emily N. Gilbert, Lauren J. Lieberman, and Ali Brian

Individuals with visual impairments (VI) trend toward lower motor competence when compared with peers without VI. Various forms of perception often affects motor competence. Thus, it is important to explore factors that influence forms of perception and their differential effects on motor competence for those with VI. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to explore and describe the differential effects of age, gender, and degree of vision on self-perceptions, parents’ perceptions, metaperceptions, and locomotor skills, and to examine potential associations among all variables with actual locomotor competence for adolescents with VI. Adolescents with VI completed two questionnaires and the Test of Gross Motor Development-Third Edition. Parents completed a parent perception questionnaire. Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis H analyses showed no differential effects for gender or age on any dependent measures. Degree of vision affected locomotor skills, but not any other factor. Spearman rho correlations showed significant associations among locomotor and self-perceptions, degree of vision and locomotor, and metaperceptions with parents’ perceptions. Adolescents reported relatively high self-perceptions and metaperceptions; however, their actual locomotor competence and parents’ perceptions were relatively low. Findings may help situate future intervention strategies targeting parents supporting their children’s locomotor skills through self-perceptions.

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Paul Bernard Rukavina

The deleterious effects of weight bias in physical activity spaces for children, adolescents, and adults are well documented. Different types of weight bias occur, and they interact at multiple levels within a person’s ecology, from the messaging of often unattainable sociocultural thin/muscular ideals and physical inequities (e.g., equipment not appropriate for body shapes and sizes) to interpersonal and public discriminatory comments. However, the most damaging is the internalization and application of negative weight-bias stereotypes by those with overweight and obesity to themselves. An imperative for social justice is now; there is great need to advocate for, provide support for, and design inclusive physical activity spaces to reduce weight bias so that all individuals feel welcome, accept their bodies, and are empowered to live a healthy, active lifestyle. To make this a reality, an interdisciplinary and preventive approach is needed to understand bias and how to minimize it in our spaces.

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Astrid Reif, Markus Hackl, Alfred Nimmerichter, Stefan Oesen, Harald Tschan, Norbert Bachl, Christoph Triska, and Barbara Wessner

Background: Time constraints comprise one limiting factor for implementing school-based physical activity programs. The aim of this pilot cluster randomized controlled study was to explore the effects of a cycle ergometer intervention during regular lessons on physical fitness, body composition, and health-related blood parameters. Methods: Participants attended one of 2 classes selected from one school, which were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 23, 11.2 [0.5] y) consisting of cycling on classroom-based ergometers during 3 lessons per week at a self-selected intensity and a control group (n = 21, 11.3 [0.5] y) not receiving any treatment. Prior to and after the 5-month intervention period, physical fitness (with ventilatory threshold as primary outcome), body composition, and parameters of glucose and lipid metabolism were assessed. Results: A significant time × group interaction was revealed for ventilatory threshold (P = .035), respiratory compensation point (P = .038), gross efficiency (P < .001), maximal aerobic power (P = .024), triglycerides (P = .041), and blood glucose levels (P = .041) with benefits for the intervention group. Peak oxygen uptake and body composition were not affected. Conclusions: Children’s aerobic capacity benefited from the low-intensity school-based cycling intervention, while body composition and most blood parameters were not affected. The intervention using cycle ergometers is a feasible and time-saving strategy to elevate submaximal physical fitness.

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Tyler Ratts, Braden Norris, and Brian Mancuso

High school athletics represents a major segment of the sport industry and is regarded as an important component in youth development in the United States. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges emerged that forced athletic directors to provide essential information to key stakeholders, keep people safe, and identify new ways to bring events to fans. To further understand these experiences, this commentary aimed to evaluate the use of communication and technology by high school athletic directors to address challenges, develop new strategies, adapt to day-to-day changes, and manage the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on interscholastic athletics. Through in-depth interviews with athletic directors, responses demonstrated how enhanced communication with key stakeholders (i.e., athletic programs and fellow athletic directors) and a reliance on technologies (i.e., digital ticketing and online live streaming) helped these leaders successfully navigate the pandemic and develop new strategies that will persist into the future.

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Bradley Beseler, Christopher Mesagno, Michael Spittle, Nicola F. Johnson, Jack Harvey, Scott Talpey, and Mandy S. Plumb

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the follow-through on thrown ball velocity, potentially justifying inclusion of the follow-through in Roberton’s five critical components. Method: Seventy-eight University students participated in the overarm, dominant hand, throwing task, which involved throwing a standard tennis ball with maximum force three times. Each throw was filmed by two cameras placed behind and to the open side of the thrower to assess the throwing technique. The velocity of the throws was recorded with a radar gun. Results: Results indicated that, after accounting for the effects of gender, age, and throwing experience, there was a significant effect of follow-through level on throw velocity. Analysis of covariance also revealed a significant gender effect, with males throwing significantly faster than females. Results indicated the follow-through had the second largest impact on thrown ball velocity of all six components. Discussion: These findings provide preliminary support that the follow-through should be added to Roberton’s developmental levels. The inclusion of the follow-through component could assist teachers and coaches to facilitate learner and athlete development and could also improve the accuracy of throwing development assessment.

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Mohsen Shafizadeh, Shahab Parvinpour, Wolfgang I. Schöllhorn, and Andrew Barnes

This study aimed to review the scope of overuse injury prevention programs in young players through the lens of application of motor learning principles. From 280 studies found in the initial search, 13 studies were selected based on a series of inclusion criteria. The selected studies were categorized based on the type of intervention resulting in multicomponent (two studies), Fédération Internationale de Football Association 11+ (five studies), neuromuscular training (two studies), Fédération Internationale de Football Association Medical Assessment and Research Center (two studies), educational (one study), and stability (one study). The studies that had an effective preventative role to reduce overuse injuries applied some principles of motor learning to their intervention, such as contextual interference, variability of practice, task constraints, the power law of practice, transfer of learning, and explicit methods. There is a gap in the literature related to explicit applications of motor learning principles in the design of preventative interventions for overuse injury.