Dissertation Defense Announcement

The College of Education announces the Final Dissertation of

Marrissa Harris

for the Degree of Doctor of Education

November 2, 2018 at 12:00 PM in Ball Hall, Room 405

Advisor: Dr. Laura Casey

Examining the effects of behavioral skills training on movement patterns in youth female soccer athletes

ABSTRACT: Over the last decades, soccer has gained popularity in the United States. Specifically, there has been an increase in participation in the sport not only on a professional level but also on the collegiate level and the youth/recreational level. Although soccer is associated with numerous physical and social benefits, the sport involves a high injury rate, with most injuries occurring in the lower extremities due to the need to change speed and direction very quickly. Within the lower extremity injuries, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has been an area of focus over the past several years, specifically in females. Because females' injury the ACL at rates two to three times higher than males, there has been a pushed to attempt to identify those mechanisms in females that place them "at-risk". Research has consistently shown that the combination of anatomical, hormonal, and biomechanical factors all contribute to significantly higher rates of ACL injuries in females. Researchers and the soccer community have taken this information and attempted to both educate and implement programs aimed at reducing and preventing ACL injuries in female soccer players. Current prevention programs focus on strengthening of muscle, appropriate movement patterns and balance training. However, there is limited research on effective strategies or training procedures to teach youth athletes how to properly perform the desired movements required in reducing the probability that an ACL injury will occur. Behavioral skills training (BST) has been shown to be an effective method for teaching acquisition of a wide variety of skills; however there is limited research on BST in the sports setting. Thus, this study evaluated the effectiveness of BST in teaching steps of a soccer drill to three youth female soccer athletes. The study used a multiple-baseline design across participants to evaluate the effects of BST. The number of steps the participants performed correctly within the drill increased during intervention and maintained high during generalization and maintenance probes. BST appeared to be an effective and efficient training package for teaching proper movement patterns to youth female soccer athletes.