Rachel E. Williams 1, Jedediah E. Blanton 1, Tjaša Pintar 1, and Jared M. Porter 1
Equipment similar to a metronome provides auditory cueing to guide a person’s movement pace. However, it is unknown if learning transfers to a performance setting where auditory cueing is unavailable. Though the use of tempo training is popular in swimming practice, it is prohibited in competition. The purposes of the current study were the following: (1) determine if using a tempo trainer influences swimmers’ ability to maintain stroke rate in a post-test, and (2) determine if swimmers’ self-efficacy in maintaining stroke rate changed based on the presence of a tempo trainer during practice. A total of 15 elite female swimmers (M age = 19.80, SD = 1.47) volunteered to participate from a Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association team in the United States of America. The study consisted of three sets of a swim workout (i.e., pre-test, intervention, post-test). Participants were randomly assigned to a control or experimental group. Both groups were instructed to maintain the same stroke rate for the entire duration of the study. The experimental group, however, was provided with a tempo trainer to use during the intervention round, and then asked to remove the tempo trainer during the post-test. Participants’ average stroke rate was recorded, and volunteers responded to questions before and after each trial (four trials per set) to measure self-efficacy and subjective success in maintaining stroke rate. There were no differences observed from pre-test to post-test in either group for each measured variable (i.e., stroke rate, self-efficacy, and subjective success). This raises the question about the effectiveness of utilizing auditory cues (i.e., tempo trainer) during swim practice for the purpose of improving stroke rate during competition. Future research should consider increasing the time between the intervention and the post-test to further examine the effects of tempo training on swimming stroke rate.
Rachel E. Williams 1, Jedediah E. Blanton 1, Tjaša Pintar 1, and Jared M. Porter 1
Discriminant Function Analysis Reveals Which Combination of Measures from the NFL Combine Predict NFL Performance
David J. Frank 1, Michael J. King 2, Clinton D. Dennard 3, and Brooke N. Macnamara 4
The National Football League (NFL) Scouting Combine (the Combine), is an annual track-meet style event where NFL scouts and general managers evaluate newly-eligible players before the upcoming draft. During the Combine, players’ height, weight, speed, agility, acceleration, jumping, explosive movement, and strength are measured through their participation in multiple drills such as the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and bench press. Although numerous studies have tested which individual drills predict NFL success for different positions, the results are often inconsistent across studies. These previous studies rely largely on individual predictors without considering how the various abilities measured at the Combine work together to predict performance. In this study, using discriminate function analysis, we analyze 20 years of data to identify the best combination of skills necessary to achieve varying levels of success for each player position. To date, this study represents the largest, most comprehensive study on the topic. We found that for offensive positions, single measures were often the best predictors of success. By contrast, for defensive positions, we found significant discriminant functions identifying unique combinations of traits that predicted success. We examined success using multiple benchmarks: draft status, number of games played, number of games started, and honors received. All significance tests were two-tailed, alpha = .05. These results indicate that, at least for some NFL positions, scouts and general managers should consider relative performance across multiple drills. Differences between the predictors presumably used by scouts and general managers when drafting players and those which predict actual NFL success are discussed.
Jacquelyn Berry 1
How do extreme Tetris players observe, decide, and place Tetris blocks in less than one second? One explanation could be they engage in epistemic sampling by observing the identity of the upcoming Tetris block presented in the “Next Box” and then using this information to help place the current block and the unknown block after the next one. Epistemic action is not new to the study of Tetris and refers to performing actions in the world because they are too computationally difficult to perform solely in the head. However, this special case study of Tetris experts proposes that they engage in epistemic sampling or gathering knowledge from the world about the near future to help in decision making for the present and for the slightly-farther-than-near future. Epistemic action and epistemic sampling serve different functions in Tetris. Whereas the former is typically attributed to novices moving blocks around to envision different placement options before choosing the best one, the latter is for extreme experts to make block placements while ensuring they are always ready to score tetrises. This account is drawn from observing the remarkable outcome that not one extreme expert at the Classic Tetris World Championship was able to score a single tetris when the Next Box was disabled. Observations from this special, one-time, case study tournament are reported and compared to how these same experts performed during the tournament when the Next Box was used as normal. The considerable difference between their two performances provides a rare opportunity to shed insight on what contributes to extreme expert performance in the real world.
Tom Brown 1,2, Alexander B.T. McAuley 1, Irfan Khawaja 1, Lewis A. Gough 1, and Adam L. Kelly 1
Talent identification and talent development in cricket has received growing attention in recent years. The aim of this systematic review was to synthesise the existing literature on talent identification and development in male cricket, while highlighting recommended areas of future research. Database searches were conducted on Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science according to the PRISMA guidelines. The Boolean combination of (((cricket)) AND ((talent identification) OR (talent development) OR (expert) OR (elite))) was applied. The initial search returned 587 records of which a total of 80 were eligible for full-text analysis (IRR = 96.8%, k = 0.88), with a subsequent final inclusion of 47 articles (IRR = 93.7%, k = 0.87). The ecological dynamics framework was applied to collate factors (Dimundo et al., 2021; Sarmento et al., 2018): (1) task constraints: (a) participation history; (2) performer constraints: (a) technical and biomechanical, (b) perceptual-cognitive, (c) psychological, and (d) anthropometrical and physiological; and, (3) environmental constraints: (a) socio-cultural and (b) relative age effects. Results suggest biomechanical and technical skills as well as perceptual-cognitive factors were reported most frequently, whereas there was limited inclusion for physiological and anthropometrical factors and little inclusion for environmental constraints. Future research should aim to investigate how environmental constraints affect talent identification and development.
Making Sense of the Challenge: Forecasting and Reflecting on Challenging Experiences on The Talent Pathway
Graham Williams 1,2 and Áine MacNamara 1
Challenging experiences appear to be an important element of the talent pathway with the potential to derail as well as propel young athletes’ progress. The purpose of this study was to examine how young athletes and their coaches experienced the most difficult challenges (self-identified by the young athletes) in the early years on a talent pathway in the United Kingdom. Eight young athletes (M age = 15.8, SD = 0.9 years) and five talent pathway coaches (M age = 35.6, SD = 5.9 years) were purposefully sampled from a range of sports based on their involvement at the phase of the talent pathway equivalent to the transition between specializing and investment years. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted at two time points separated by five months. Data was analyzed via interpretative phenomenological analysis. In relation to the young athlete’s most difficult challenges, participants forecast their perception of the challenge and what lay ahead on the pathway. Participants reflected on the application of psychobehavioral skill for the challenge, the navigation of the challenge experience, the complexities of the challenge, and the lessons learned through the experience in preparation for future challenges. Specifically, talent pathway coaches should be aware of the individuality and complexity of the challenge experience as interpreted by the youth athletes, more so than the type of challenge itself. In doing so, talent pathway coaches should support young athletes in the development of forecasting and reflection skills to aid in navigating challenging experiences.
Consideration of Future Consequences and Future Time Perspective Perform Poorly with Respect to Deliberate Practice and Talent Development in Sport
Bradley W. Young 1, Rafael A. B. Tedesqui 2,
Lindsay McCardle 1,3, Dora Bartulovic 1, and Joseph Baker 3
The study of how people associate current behaviors with long-term outcomes, or how they consider future consequences, provides insight into future time perspectives and intertemporal choice (Daugherty & Brase, 2010). The consideration of future consequences (CFC) is one construct that has been pre-eminently researched (Strathman et al., 1994). CFC typically pertains to how individuals link their present behaviors to the avoidance of future negative consequences, though it has been less examined through an approach-oriented lens and never in elite sport development. The question of how athletes delay gratification by engaging in difficult deliberate practice that serves delayed and uncertain long-term results is essential to the domain of sport expertise. In two survey studies, we tested whether CFC-F (Future) and CFC-I (Immediate) (Joireman et al., 2012) conferred an expert advantage according to two criteria: whether CFC (1) distinguished performance-level groups and (2) associated with sport-specific practice amounts. In Study 1, responses from 266 North American athletes (M age = 22.48, range = 18-35) showed no group differences and a small, anomalous association between CFC-I and practice, r = .13. CFC did not moderate the relationship between athletes’ use of self-regulatory practice strategies and practice. In Study 2, analyses on 70 Canadian athletes (M age = 15.47, range = 13-18 years) were non-significant on the analytic criteria. Additionally, CFC-F correlated with athletes’ projections to a future sport self (r = .41) and CFC-I correlated with years they were willing to train to reach their peak (r = -.25). Study 3 examined a different construct, future time perspective (Husman & Shell, 2008), specifically surveying value and connectedness facets, among 461 Canadian athletes (M age = 25.46, range = 13-38). Again, results were non-significant for the two analytic criteria among senior athletes. Overall, neither CFC nor facets of FTP conferred an expert advantage. In light of this, our discussion focused on interrogating self-report methods and locating our achievement-oriented findings within an increasingly equivocal CFC landscape.