Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #511
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Applications of Behavior Analytic Technologies in Sports, Fitness and Martial Arts
Monday, May 27, 2024
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Independence Ballroom
Area: CBM/TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sarah Veazey Kristiansen (Endicott College)
CE Instructor: Colleen Suzio, Ph.D.

This symposium aims to disseminate recent research on the application of various behavior analytic technologies within the areas of sports including baseball and martial arts, as well as areas in health and fitness. Specifically, the presenters for this symposium used various methods for providing feedback to improve performance in their respective domains. The first presentation evaluated behavior analytic technologies to support participants in increasing their individualized goal areas of increasing physical activity during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The second presentation utilized behavior skills training (BST) to teach youth baseball players to engage in industry-accepted pitching mechanics as several skills are embedded into each individual pitch. The final presentation of this symposium compared the effects of feedback statements versus coaching questions on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athlete performance. The three presentations are impactful research studies that support the utilization of behavior analysis to increase behavioral repertoires for individuals with goals related to sports, health, and fitness.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

The target audience should include individuals who have a solid behavior-analytic foundation and an interest in expanding their knowledge on behavior-analytic practices across various domains.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentations, participants will be able to: (1) Identify feedback methods that have demonstrated success across participants; (2) Identify the application of behavior skills training within sports training; (3) Identify the importance of social validity measures within the context of the current studies .

The Impact of Compassionate Care on Fitness Related Goals

COLLEEN SUZIO (Endicott College; Center for Children with Special Needs (CCSN))

There have been many interventions used to support individuals in increasing their physical activity. Some of these programs have been more of a “fad” intervention and others have had a stronger scientific background. As an avenue to increase the body of literature within the behavior analytic community, the current study was implemented to both demonstrate the use of behavioral technologies with fitness-related activities as well as to examine the impact of compassionate care within the feedback. The current study includes behavior analytic technologies to support participants in increasing their overall goal areas of increasing physical activity. Simultaneously, the efficacy of the interventions of compassionate care and feedback were examined in the context of physical fitness, through a virtual format during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Baseline data, intervention, as well as generalization and maintenance data were collected as a part of the current study. Social validity measures were included within the current study and indicated favorable results related to compassionate styles of feedback.

Use of Behavior Skills Training (BST) to Improve Youth Pitching Mechanics
IAN MELTON (Journeys Autism Center; Endicott College)
Abstract: Teaching skills to softball and baseball players can be overwhelming and seem too complex to teach at once (Kahan, 1999; Butler & Hodge, 2001; Crawford, 1937). These skills however can be broken down into easily digestible steps in the form of a task analysis (Jonassen et. al.,1998). Working with youth to increase both independence and accuracy can improve the experience for many children in sports (Woodman et. al. 2009; Duda et. al. 1992). Many sports organizations rely on volunteer parents to coach and teach these skills when they may not have the prerequisite experience or skills (Busser et. al. 2010). Pitching mechanics at the start of the motion have been shown to be essential to success, when these steps are completed out of order success has been shown to be very inconsistent (Thompson et. al. 2018; Keeley et. al.2008). This study utilized behavior skills training (BST) to teach youth (7-17) to engage in industry-accepted pitching mechanics. Results demonstrate that the use of BST increased the accuracy of pitching mechanics across all participants.
The Effects of Two Types of Coaching Questions on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Athlete Performance
SHARIQ ULLAH KHAN (Endicott College)
Abstract: Coaching is a term that is often used in both behavior-analytic and non-behavioral settings, yet there is not currently a universal definition established amongst communities. This can lead to confusion on what is considered coaching and what is not. Feedback is one component of the coaching interaction that has been studied extensively. However, there is currently not a large base of research that compares various forms of coaching questions when providing feedback. The current study looks to improve both the definition of coaching as well as the coaching interaction between an instructor and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes by comparing coaching questions with and without statements about the benefits of correct performance in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes' performance of a technique. 8 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes participated in the study with one group of athletes receiving feedback with coaching questions and the other group receiving feedback with coaching questions and the benefits of correct performance discussed.



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