Scientific Epistemology for Physical Education Fundamental Movement Skills Prerequisites

Authors: Robert P. Narcessian and Janet M. Leet

Corresponding Author:
Robert P. Narcessian, EdM
St. Joseph’s Health and Regional Medical Center
Department of Orthopedics
703 Main Street
Paterson, NJ 07503
201-612-0695; 973-754-2950

Robert P.Narcessian is a faculty member and research consultant in the Department of Orthopedics, and the primary investigator of the study

Janet M. Leet, President
Sub5, Inc.
508 S. Evanston Avenue
Arlington, IL 60004

Janet M. Leet is a coach and the co-investigator of the study at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center

Scientific Epistemology for Physical Education Fundamental Movement Skills Prerequisites


A scientific epistemology, using a systems thinking qualitative methodology for translating practice into theory, integrates mathematical and dynamical systems concepts with belief systems that are presented in this original research of unique prerequisites for fundamental movement skills (FMS) in physical education as illustrated with running. FMS prerequisites demonstrate that FMS are neither fundamental nor reliable screentests conducted on individuals by physical education teachers, coaches, and healthcare practitioners for performance readiness evaluations or injury risk assessments. FMS prerequisites identify and assess eliminating the hypothetical set of worst first moves, assess the integrity of their respective coordinative structures, and assess performers’ beliefs (i.e., preferred behaviors) with the objective to provide a new direction for researching injury risk and performance readiness. The researchers illustrate this new method with participants for FMS prerequisites in running and squatting to provide insight for the observer-performer interaction. A new observer-performer classification and non-epistemic modeling show what is known with self-discovery strategies that detect hidden skills at the observable level using four independent tasks. There were 297 participants in kindergarten through high school (213 females and 84 males; mean 14.5 years; range 5 to 17 years) and 21 participants from the community at large (15 females and 6 males; mean 31.4 years, range 12 to 94 years). A variety of running strategies of different degrees of configured complexity from which to run were self-selected and observed as preferred with and without practice or intervention. An idealized 2-joint planar multi-joint mechanism (MJM) was used to assess individual skill with respect to adding and removing constraints. Findings are presented for strategies, trends, and transitions of preferred behavior including observables that reveal hidden skills including a visual search of a hidden skill with world record Olympian sprint performances. FMS prerequisites are theorized for future study with an inverted U-model and a leading MJM hypothesis; and they provide the rudiments for injury risk assessments and performance readiness evaluations approaching optimal health biomechanically in the very early detection of flawed gross motor skill development before manifesting into the signs and symptoms of injury or poor performance.

2020-06-02T13:42:34-05:00April 3rd, 2020|Sport Education, Sports Coaching|Comments Off on Scientific Epistemology for Physical Education Fundamental Movement Skills Prerequisites

The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Styles, and Burnout in NCAA Coaches

Authors: Luna Ugrenovic, M.S., West Virginia University, Kimberly Shaffer, Ph.D., Barry   University, Nataniel Boiangin, Ph.D., Barry University

Corresponding Author:
Luna Ugrenovic, M.S.
478 Harding Avenue Apt. 4
Morgantown, WV, USA, 26505

Luna Ugrenovic is a first-year Ph.D. student at West Virginia University (WVU) studying Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology concurrently with Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is also a graduate teaching assistant and mental performance consultant trainee working with the WVU DI rowing team as well as WVU law school. 

The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Styles, and Burnout in NCAA Coaches


Burnout in coaches has been a concerning issue for many years. It can lead to a host of medical, psychological, emotional and performance-related issues. One of the many factors that correlates with burnout is emotional intelligence (EI; 22). Additionally, research supports various leadership styles that correlate with perceived burnout in different ways (32). The present study aimed to investigate the relationships between EI, leadership styles, and perceived burnout as well as the moderating role of leadership styles on the relationship between EI and perceived burnout in NCAA coaches. The full range leadership model (2) was used in this study and proposes that there are transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidant leadership styles. A total of 244 (n = 140 male, n = 103 female, n = 1 undisclosed) coaches participated from across all three NCAA divisions. Represented sports were field/cross country, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, volleyball, and a variety of others. Consistent with previous research, the results indicated a significant moderate negative relationship between EI and perceived burnout (r = -.38, p = .000) as well as a significant weak negative relationship between transformational leadership style and perceived burnout (r = -.24, p = .000). Additionally, there was a significant weak positive relationship between passive-avoidant leadership style and perceived burnout (r = .25, p = .000). Furthermore, passive-avoidant leadership style showed a negative moderating effect on the relationship between EI and perceived burnout, accounting for 20% of the variance in perceived burnout. This means that passive-avoidant leadership weakened the negative relationship between EI and perceived burnout. Thus, coaches who are predominately passive-avoidant leaders may be more likely to experience burnout symptoms despite their high EI. Consequently, the results underline the importance of developing strong leadership competences as well as EI in NCAA coaches to decrease or even prevent burnout.  

2020-03-04T11:00:03-06:00March 27th, 2020|Research, Sports Coaching|Comments Off on The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Styles, and Burnout in NCAA Coaches

Mental Toughness in Coaching: A Functional Definition Determined by Elite Coaches

Authors: William Steffen1, Conrad Woolsey2, Ronald Quinn3, Brandon Spradley4  

Affiliations: 1Wingate University, 2University of Western States, 3Xavier University, 4United States Sports Academy  

Corresponding Author:
Dr. Brandon Spradley
Chair of Sports Management
United States Sports Academy
One Academy Drive
Daphne, Alabama 36526

Dr. Bill Steffen is an Assistant Professor of Sport Science at Wingate University and serves as the Chair of the United Soccer Coaches Ethics Committee and a Senior National Staff Coach. Dr. Steffen won two NCAA National Championships in women’s soccer while coaching at the University of North Carolina and has 28 years of NCAA coaching experience, in addition to playing professional soccer for five years.

Dr. Conrad Woolsey is the Director of Sport and Performance Psychology at the University of Western States. As a nationally recognized expert in the field of sport and performance psychology he is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Sport Psychology Registry.

Dr. Ronald Quinn is the Director of MEd in Coaching Education & Athlete Development at Xavier University. Dr. Quinn is considered a leading authority in youth soccer and coaching education presenting at prestigious national and international conferences.

Dr. Brandon Spradley is the Chair of Sports Management and an Associate Professor at the United States Sports Academy.  Dr. Spradley was a four-time NCAA regional qualifier and a two-time NCAA national qualifier in track and field running on nationally ranked relay teams for The University of Alabama.

Mental Toughness in Coaching   


Researchers have explored the mental toughness that is associated with elite athletes as a concept relating to specific activities and sports; however, there is limited research concerning mental toughness among elite coaches. This study expanded previous research by investigating elite coaches’ (N=22) perspectives of what attributes were most important for defining mental toughness in coaching. Results of coaching focus groups interviews yielded several themes which were incorporated into a definition of mental toughness of a coach. Mental toughness of a coach is a complex interaction of several characteristics: (1) a determined mindset; (2) resiliency; (3) confidence; and (4) a strong belief in the coach’s system, processes, and actions; all of these characteristics result in consistent behaviors and emotional responses. Coaches were asked to list attributes that they felt were descriptive of the ideal mentally tough coach. Their list included confident, resilient, consistent, positive spirit, energetic, passionate, optimistic, adaptable, possessing inner strength, and patient. These attributes were discussed in consideration of coaches’ rationale for these choices. Examining mental toughness can positively assist coaches seeking to become the best they can be.

2020-03-04T09:38:11-06:00March 20th, 2020|Research, Sports Coaching|Comments Off on Mental Toughness in Coaching: A Functional Definition Determined by Elite Coaches

NCAA Realignment: Impact upon University ‘Olympic’ Sports

Authors: Stephen W. Litvin, Crystal Lindner and Jillian Wilkie

Corresponding Author:
Stephen W. Litvin, DBA
Professor, School of Business
College of Charleston
66 George Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29424

Stephen Litvin is a professor in the School of Business of the College of Charleston.  Crystal Lindner and Jillian Wilkie are students at the College of Charleston and Research Assistants within the School’s Office of Tourism Analysis.

NCAA Realignment: Impact upon University ‘Olympic’ Sports


Conference realignment has in recent years led to a “case of intercollegiate musical chairs” (2, p. 254). This research paper looks at the issue from a new perspective.  While past research has almost exclusively focused on football, this research considers the impact that affiliation change has upon universities’ non-football sports.  The findings suggest the move has been challenging for these teams.

2020-06-02T13:43:56-05:00January 24th, 2020|Sports Coaching, Sports Management|Comments Off on NCAA Realignment: Impact upon University ‘Olympic’ Sports

The Association Between High School Coach’s Leadership Behaviors and Athletes’ Self-Efficacy and Grit

Authors: Dr. Katarii U. Donald, Dr. Stephen R. Marvin, Dr. Aarek W. Farmer and Dr. Karen Cypress

Corresponding Author:
Katarii U. Donald, Ed. D
3144 Knight lane 101
Memphis, TN, 38115

Dr. Katarii Donald is the Athletic Director at a T-Stem High School in Memphis and is also a Head Football Coach.

The Association Between High School Coach’s Leadership Behaviors and Athletes’ Self-Efficacy and Grit


This quantitative study sought to determine the relationship between a coach’s leadership behaviors and their athletes’ self-efficacy and grit. Specifically, the goal was to determine whether behaviors informed by (a) training and instruction, (b) democratic behavior, (c) autocratic behavior, (d) social support, or (e) positive feedback of a coach impacted the student-athlete. The relationship between athletes and coaches is important and can influence an athletes’ athletic performance. This research investigated the effects of this relationship on the student-athletes’ self-efficacy and grit. Data were collected from 197 college students from a public university in a rural area in the southern portion of the United States. The findings indicated that student-athletes’ perceptions of their former high school coaches’ leadership behaviors significantly influenced their self-efficacy and grit. Implications for practice highlighted the importance of the student-athlete and coach relationship and how this relationship can positively impact self-efficacy and grit.

2019-10-28T14:01:58-05:00July 19th, 2019|Research, Sports Coaching|Comments Off on The Association Between High School Coach’s Leadership Behaviors and Athletes’ Self-Efficacy and Grit
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