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Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 80 (2021): Issue 1 (October 2021)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

28 Articles

Section I - Kinesiology

Open Access

Effects of Post-Activation Performance Enhancement (PAPE) Induced by a Plyometric Protocol on Deceleration Performance

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 5 - 16

Abstract

Abstract

Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) is a phenomenon which can improve power performance executed after a previous conditioning activity. PAP is usually evoked through heavy resistance or plyometric exercise. It has been suggested to refer to as Postactivation Performance Enhancement (PAPE) when research is field-based on explosive activities. To our best knowledge, no studies have investigated the effects of PAPE on deceleration performance, which is a key factor in sports involving change of directions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of a plyometric exercise protocol on a subsequent deceleration running performance. University soccer players (n = 18) performed seven deceleration trials and were assessed at baseline and after ~15 s, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16 min either following a walking control condition (C) or three sets of ten repetitions of alternate-leg bounding (plyometric, P). Results showed no significant differences at any of the trials under the control condition (C) in comparison to the relative baseline. Under the plyometric condition (P), deceleration performance executed two minutes after the plyometric activity resulted in significantly faster results compared to the baseline values (p = 0.042; ES = 0.86, large effect; % of improvement = 4.13 %). The main findings are that plyometric exercise improves a subsequent running deceleration performance, 2 min after its execution. Future investigations should focus on more complex actions such as changes of direction and agility.

Key words

  • post activation potentiation
  • acceleration
  • braking
  • potentiating
  • change of direction
  • warm-up
  • jumping
  • bounding
  • unilateral
  • power
Open Access

Biomechanical Effects of Flamenco Footwork

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 19 - 27

Abstract

Abstract

Footwork is one of the basic features of flamenco dancing and is performed in traditional high-heeled shoes. The purpose of this study was to analyse the mechanical profile of flamenco dancing in terms of vertical ground reaction force, and knee joint kinematics of the supporting limb in footwork technique in order to understand causes which predispose injuries derived from the practice of flamenco dancing. The participant in our study was a professional female flamenco dancer (34 years, 58 kg, 1.65 m) who performed the ZAP 3 test, a sequence of single strikes of the feet performed continuously for 15 s. 3D lower extremity kinematic data were collected using a five-camera motion analysis system (Vicon; Oxford Metrics Ltd., Oxford, UK). Ground reaction forces were recorded using a Kistler force plate. Our analysis was based on 30 cycles of each lower limb consisting of 177 footwork steps. The vertical component of the ground reaction force did not reveal any significant differences between the left and the right limb. The most dynamic strike was provided by the heel (twice the participant's body weight). The mean angular displacement of the supporting limb’s knee was ~27°. Results reveal that these impacts could make the knee joint more prone to injuries.

Key words

  • kinematics
  • ground reaction force
  • knee flexion
  • injury
Open Access

A Mathematical Model for the Take-Off in Platform Diving

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 29 - 37

Abstract

Abstract

In platform diving the take-off phase is of outstanding importance in order to achieve both a high level of performing quality and a high degree of difficulty. The diver has to produce the right forces and direction of the center of mass (COM) in order to attain the required angular momentum and dive height. To support the development of an optimum take-off technique, the Institute for Applied Training Science designed a dryland measuring and feedback system. Using the example of the dive back 1¼ somersault tucked in preparation for the dive back 3½ somersault tucked (207 C) from the 10-m-platform, kinematic and kinetic reference values for key positions were determined. Therefore, we developed a mathematical model using a multi-step examination plan with the following parts: (1) variables defined using nonparametric correlation analyses rs of the motion parameters, (2) statistical modelling to predict values of the parameters, (3) stochastic modelling. The model is based on a selection of 18 dives from 10 different elite divers of the German Swimming Federation (DSV). The approach presented provides helpful insights into the mechanisms of an optimal take-off, enables a target-performance comparison with objective motion parameters and therefore, enables individualized feedback to guide the training process more efficiently.

Key words

  • motor learning
  • augmented feedback
  • technique training
Open Access

The Relationship Between Speed and Strength in the Beach Volleyball Serve

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 39 - 47

Abstract

Abstract

The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between isometric force produced in different joints and its effects on the power kick serve speed in beach volleyball as a predictive aspect to improve sports performance. Seven athletes competing at national and international levels (mean ± standard deviation; age: 21.6 ± 3.20 years; body height: 1.87 ± 0.08 cm; body mass 80.18 ± 7.11 kg) were evaluated using maximum isometric force contractions (i.e., spinal and knee extension, grip by a hand dynamometer (handgrip), internal shoulder rotation, shoulder flexion, elbow flexion and extension, and wrist flexion). Speed of the ball was recorded with a pistol radar and force was measured with a strain gauge. Results showed a relationship between isometric force developed in the internal rotation of the shoulder and speed of the ball (r = 0.76*; p < 0.05). In the remaining isometric exercises, positive low to moderate correlations were found in the spine and knee extension (r = 0.56; p = 0.200) and elbow flexion (r = 0.41; p = 0.375). On the other hand, the remaining isometric exercises obtained weak or non-significant correlations. Force developed in the internal rotation of the shoulder highly correlated with the speed of the power kick, explaining, together with the elbow flexion and the extension of the knee and back, much of the variability of the power kick of beach volleyball athletes.

Key words

  • isometric strength
  • training
  • internal shoulder rotation
  • beach volleyball
  • serve speed
Open Access

Force-Velocity Profile of Competitive Kayakers: Evaluation of a Novel Single Kayak Stroke Test

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 49 - 59

Abstract

Abstract

The assessment of the force-velocity (F-V) profile in athletes may have important applications for training prescription, injury management, and fatigue monitoring. This study aimed to assess whether a novel single kayak stroke test (SKST) is able to provide the F-V relationship variables (maximum force, maximum velocity and maximum power) of competitive kayakers with acceptable reliability and external validity. Six female (age: 20.3 ± 3.7 years) and eight male (age: 20.8 ± 2.4 years) elite kayakers performed the SKST, bench press, bench pull, and short Wingate kayak test. The individual F-V relationships were highly linear [median r (range): left stroke = 0.986 (0.897 - 0.998); right stroke = 0.987 (0.971 - 0.999)]. The reliability of the F-V relationship parameters obtained during the SKST was high (within-session: CV ≤ 4.48% and ICC ≥ 0.93; between-session: CV ≤ 8.06% and ICC ≥ 0.65). The validity of the F-V relationship parameters obtained during the SKST was generally very high for maximum power (r range = 0.825 - 0.975), high for maximum force during both the bench press and the bench pull (r range = 0.751 - 0.831), and high or moderate for maximal velocity during the bench pull (r = 0.770 - 0.829) and the bench press (r = 0.355 - 0.471), respectively. The SKST can be considered a feasible procedure for testing the maximal upper-body muscle mechanical capacities of kayakers.

Key words

  • paddling
  • canoeing
  • muscle mechanical capacities
  • reliability
  • external validity
Open Access

Kinematic Effects of the Target on the Velocity of Taekwon-Do Roundhouse Kicks

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 61 - 69

Abstract

Abstract

The phenomena of target kinematic effects under different striking conditions and applying different techniques constitute one of the fields of research for sports biomechanics. However, the influence of some kinematic variables which change under different strike conditions for specific parts of the lower limb remains unknown. The aim of this study was to extend the knowledge on how targets of different shapes or the lack of a physical target would affect maximal velocity registered by a marker placed on the foot, knee and hip during the execution of a roundhouse kick. In total, 15 adult males were included in this study. All participants were taekwon-do elite athletes. The displacement of markers placed on the lateral side of the foot, knee and hip during movement execution was registered by a stereophotogrammetry apparatus. Participants performed taekwon-do roundhouse kicks for three target types (into the air, a table tennis ball and a training shield) applying either a sport or a traditional style. The highest maximal velocity was obtained for kicking into the training shield. When applying the sport style, the highest maximal velocity of foot markers for the executed kicks was registered. Kicking into air resulted in higher velocities for proximal body parts than kicking into a tennis ball, but the effect was reversed for the foot marker. In conclusion, a large resistance target is suitable for athletes’ motor preparation as it allows the highest maximum velocity to be reached. Small non-resistant targets are recommended for technical training.

Key words

  • biomechanics
  • martial arts
  • photogrammetry
  • sport analysis
  • lower extremity

Section II - Exercise Physiology & Sports Medicine

Open Access

Pacing and Body Weight Changes During a Mountain Ultramarathon: Sex Differences and Performance

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 71 - 82

Abstract

Abstract

The study was aimed at comparing pacing adopted by males and females in a 107-km mountain ultramarathon and assessing whether pacing-related variables were associated with intracompetition body weight changes and performance. Forty-seven athletes (29 males; 18 females) were submitted to a cardiopulmonary exercise test before the race. Athletes were also weighted before the start of the race, at three midpoints (33 km, 66 km and 84 km) and after the race. Pacing was analyzed using absolute and relative speeds and accelerometry-derived sedentary time spent during the race. Results showed that females spent less sedentary time (4.72 ± 2.91 vs. 2.62 ± 2.14%; p = 0.035; d = 0.83) and displayed a smaller body weight loss (3.01 ± 1.96 vs. 4.37 ± 1.77%; p = 0.048; d = 0.77) than males. No significant sex differences were revealed for speed variability, absolute and relative speed. In addition, finishing time was correlated with: speed variability (r = 0.45; p = 0.010), index of pacing (r = -0.63; p < 0.001) and sedentary time (r = 0.64; p < 0.001). Meanwhile, intracompetition body weight changes were related with both the absolute and relative speed in the first and the last race section. These results suggest that females, as compared with males, take advantage of shorter time breaks at aid stations. Moreover, performing a more even pacing pattern may be positively associated with performance in mountain ultramarathons. Finally, intracompetition body weight changes in those races should be considered in conjunction with running speed fluctuations.

Key words

  • speed variability
  • accelerometry
  • cardiopulmonary exercise test
Open Access

The Effect of an Olympic Distance Triathlon on Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity and its Recovery 24 Hours Later

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 83 - 92

Abstract

Abstract

The Olympic distance triathlon includes maximal exercise bouts with transitions between the activities. This study investigated the effect of an Olympic distance triathlon (1.5-km swim, 40-km bike, 10-km run) on pulmonary diffusion capacity (DLCO). In nine male triathletes (age: 24 ± 4.7 years), we measured DLCO and calculated the DLCO to alveolar volume ratio (DLCO/VA) and performed spirometry testing before a triathlon (pre-T), 2 hours after the race (post-T), and the day following the race (post-T-24 h). DLCO was measured using the 9-s breath-holding method. We found that (1) DLCO decreased significantly between pre- and post-T values (38.52 ± 5.44 vs. 35.92 ± 6.63 ml∙min-1∙mmHg-1) (p < 0.01) and returned to baseline at post-T-24 h (38.52 ± 5.44 vs. 37.24 ± 6.76 ml∙min-1∙mmHg-1, p > 0.05); (2) DLCO/VA was similar at the pre-, post- and post-T-24 h DLCO comparisons; and (3) forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) and mean forced expiratory flow during the middle half of vital capacity (FEF25-75%) significantly decreased between pre- and post-T and between pre- and post-T-24-h (p < 0.02). In conclusion, a significant reduction in DLCO and DLCO/VA 2 hours after the triathlon suggests the presence of pulmonary interstitial oedema. Both values returned to baseline 24 hours after the race, which reflects possible mild and transient pulmonary oedema with minimal physiological significance.

Key words

  • pulmonary function
  • multi-sport activities
  • athletic performance
  • combined sport
Open Access

Differences in Nervous Autonomic Control in Response to a Single Session of Exercise in Bodybuilders Using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 93 - 101

Abstract

Abstract

Considering the role of autonomic nerve activity in blood pressure control, this study aimed to investigate the cardiac autonomic nerve responses after an aerobic exercise session in Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) users. Twenty men (AAS, n = 9; control group, n = 11) performed an aerobic exercise session (60 min, 70 to 80% of HRmax). Heart rate variability (HRV) was assessed before and during a 60-min post-exercise recovery period. RMSSD (root mean square successive difference of the RR intervals) and the LF/HF ratio (low frequency/high frequency spectra) were also evaluated. The Student's t-test for independent samples was used to compare differences between initial group characteristics. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare pre- and post-exercise HRV recovery (p < 0.05). AAS had a lower SDNN (standard deviation of the intervals) (40.8 ± 16.8 vs. 71.6 ± 24.7 ms; p = 0.04, d = 1.4) and a higher LF/HF (3.4 ± 2.1 vs. 1.8 ± 0.9%; p = 0.03, d = 0.9) before exercise. AAS and controls had similar RMSSD (14.0 ± 15.8 vs. 18.9 ± 12.1 ms; p = 0.20) and a LF/HF (2.8 ± 1.6 vs. 2.4 ± 1.2 ms; p = 0.41) immediately post-exercise. The between-groups comparison revealed a higher HF/LF at 30 min (4.3 ± 1.4 vs. 2.5 ± 1.3%; p = 0.008, d = 1.3) and 60 min (5.0 ± 2.2 vs. 2.3 ± 0.8%; p = 0.001, d = 1.6) for the AAS group in the recovery time. This study demonstrated impaired parasympathetic activity at rest and immediately after the exercise session as an adverse effect of AAS usage, but similar behavior regarding the restoration of sympathetic activity.

Key words

  • physical exercise
  • anabolic agents
  • autonomic nervous system
  • heart rate variability
Open Access

Training vs. Competition in Sport: State Anxiety and Response of Stress Hormones in Young Swimmers

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 103 - 112

Abstract

Abstract

This study was aimed to assess the neuroendocrine response to stress induced by different sports environments (a regular training session and a competitive event), to define the contribution of psychological and physical stress, and to check the possible relationship between state-anxiety and stress hormones responses to competitive and non-competitive sports practices. Twelve young national-level male swimmers participated in this investigation. Endorphins, adrenocorticotropin, and prolactin plasma levels were measured at baseline conditions (t0), before a regular swimming training session (t1), and before and after real swimming competition consisting of 100 m freestyle (t2 and t3, respectively). Moreover, state-anxiety was evaluated in all assessment time-points. The results showed no differences in endorphin, adrenocorticotropin, prolactin and state-anxiety between t0 and t1; however, significant increases in endorphins (142%), prolactin (137%) and state-anxiety (13%) were observed in t2. Huge stress response was observed in t3 (increases of 354%, 387%, and 250% for endorphins, adrenocorticotropin, and prolactin, respectively) although state-anxiety decreased slightly. Lastly, a lack of the relationship between stress hormones and state-anxiety was found in all conditions. Mental and especially physical stress associated with sports competition induces a significant release of stress hormones which is not relevant for the regular training session.

Key words

  • stress
  • neuroendocrine response
  • sports competition
  • swimming
Open Access

Antioxidants Markers of Professional Soccer Players During the Season and their Relationship with Competitive Performance

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 113 - 123

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess antioxidant markers before and after a mid-season of professional soccer players from the 3rd Spanish Division, and to correlate antioxidant markers with competitive performance. Sixty-five male players (age = 25.3 ± 4.2 yr, body mass = 73.2 ± 6.7 kg, body height = 177.8 ± 5.7 cm) from three soccer clubs from Cádiz (Spain) participated in the study. Body composition, maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max), and baseline antioxidant blood markers (Total Antioxidant Status (TAS) and Reduced glutathione/Oxidized glutathione ratio) were assessed in the first week of the championship season (pre-test) and after 18 weeks in the mid-season (post-test). Soccer performance was registered according to the official classification ranking at both the mid-season and at the end of the season; ranking positions for Team A were 2nd and 1st, for Team B were 5th and 5th, while for Team C were 12th and 14th, respectively. Regression analyses showed that TAS and VO2max were able to independently predict (p < 0.05) performance in our participants. Moreover, antioxidant levels showed significant main effects on performance (p < 0.001); where a higher antioxidant capacity was observed in the best performance soccer team, both before and after the mid-season. Notwithstanding, the competitive period compromised the antioxidant status since TAS levels significantly decreased after the 18-week training program and competition compared with baseline values in all soccer teams (p < 0.001). These results suggest the need of monitoring antioxidants in soccer players to prevent excessive oxidative stress and cellular damage which could compromise success in competition, by adjusting the training loads, diet or ergogenic aids, if needed.

Key words

  • total antioxidant capacity
  • glutathione
  • oxidative stress
  • elite athletes
  • team sports
Open Access

Uncommon Bone Injuries in Soccer Players

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 125 - 138

Abstract

Abstract

Soccer is the most common team sport in the world. A significant number of players are associated with a large number of injuries. Injuries occur in a variety of contexts regardless of the age or performance level of players. The vast majority of injuries involve soft tissues. Bone injuries are less common, but usually result in long-term exclusion from the game. Three different types of fractures related to soccer are classified as acute types, stress fractures and avulsion. This manuscript outlines the diagnostic procedures and treatments for stress fractures, avulsion fractures and bone cyst. The common feature of the described injuries includes frequent difficulties associated with the correct diagnosis and treatment direction. In therapeutic treatment, the doctor and the patient often have to choose between conservative treatment and surgical treatment, which in many cases is not simple. We suggest that in the event of injuries to soccer players, surgical treatment should be used, shortening the time to return to full sports activity. A very important element of the therapeutic process is proper rehabilitation, which should be individually tailored to the patient in order to optimize the treatment process. Some of the rehabilitation protocols should be permanently incorporated into the warm-up protocols for training. Such a procedure has a preventive effect.

Key words

  • stress fracture
  • avulsion fracture
  • bone cyst
  • sports injuries
Open Access

Age and Maturity Effects on Morphological and Physical Performance Measures of Adolescent Judo Athletes

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 139 - 151

Abstract

Abstract

Studies assessing age and maturation effects on morphological and physical performance measures of young judokas are scarce. This study aimed to assess the independent and combined effects of chronological age and biological maturation on anthropometry and physical performance of 67 judokas aged 11-14. Participants’ anthropometric profiles were assessed, and physical performance tests were completed. Multivariate analyses of variance revealed an independent effect of age (anthropometry: F = 1.871; p < 0.05; Pillai’s trace = 0.545; η2p = 0.272; physical performance: F = 2.876; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.509; η2p = 0.254) and maturity (anthropometry: F = 10.085; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.669; η2p = 0.669; physical performance: F = 11.700; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.581; η2p = 0.581). There was no significant combined effect of age and maturity. The maturation effect remained significant when controlled for age (anthropometry: F = 4.097; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.481; η2p = 0.481; physical performance: F = 3.859; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.0.318; η2p = 0.318). Inadolescent judokas, the maturation effect on growth and physical performance seems to be more relevant than the age effect, leading to the need to control this effect in training routines and competitive events. As in studies with youth soccer players and other youth athletes, bio-banding can be a strategy for controlling maturation in combat sports.

Key words

  • anthropometry
  • aerobic performance
  • anaerobic performance
  • agility
  • muscle strength
  • biological maturation
Open Access

Relevance of a Sprint Interval Swim Training Set to the 100‐Meter Freestyle Event Based on Blood Lactate and Kinematic Variables

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 153 - 161

Abstract

Abstract

Sprint interval training (SIT) sets are commonly used by coaches in the training routine of swimmers competing in short-distance events; however, data regarding their relevance to competitive events are scarce. The aim of this study was to examine whether performance variables differed or correlated between a 4 × 50-m maximal swimming set (with a work-to-rest ratio of 1:4) and the 100-m freestyle event. Eleven male and 16 female competitive swimmers aged 16.1 ± 1.1 years participated in the study. All swimmers trained at least six times a week and had training experience of more than 4 years. They completed the two freestyle tests on different days, in random and counterbalanced order. In each test, speed, blood lactate, stroke rate (SR), and stroke index (SI) were measured. Speed, blood lactate, and SR were higher at the 4 × 50 m compared to the 100 m and were positively correlated between tests (p < 0.001). The SI did not differ significantly, but was positively correlated between tests. Males were faster and had a higher SI than females, but genders did not differ in lactate. Since performance variables were better in the SIT set and correlated with those in the 100-m bout, we suggest that the 4 × 50-m set can be used to improve performance in the 100-m freestyle event. Moreover, this set can help coaches identify which swimmers will swim fastest in the event.

Key words

  • anaerobic capacity
  • blood lactate
  • freestyle
  • stroke index
  • stroke rate
  • youth athletes
Open Access

Comparison of the Ramp and Step Incremental Exercise Test Protocols in Assessing the Maximal Fat Oxidation Rate in Youth Cyclists

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 163 - 172

Abstract

Abstract

The incremental exercise test is the most common method in assessing the maximal fat oxidation (MFO) rate. The main aim of the study was to determine whether the progressive linear RAMP test can be used to assess the maximal fat oxidation rate along with the intensities that trigger its maximal (FATmax) and its minimal (FATmin) values. Our study comprised 57 young road cyclists who were tested in random order. Each of them was submitted to two incremental exercise tests on an electro-magnetically braked cycle-ergometer - STEP (50 W·3 min-1) and RAMP (~0.278 W·s-1) at a 7-day interval. A stoichiometric equation was used to calculate the fat oxidation rate, while the metabolic thresholds were defined by analyzing ventilation gases. The Student’s T-test, Bland-Altman plots and Pearson’s linear correlations were resorted to in the process of statistical analysis. No statistically significant MFO variances occurred between the tests (p = 0.12) and its rate amounted to 0.57 ± 0.15 g·min-1 and 0.53 ± 0.17 g·min-1 in the STEP and RAMP, respectively. No statistically significant variances in the absolute and relative (to maximal) values of oxygen uptake and heart rate were discerned at the FATmax and FATmin intensities. The RAMP test displayed very strong oxygen uptake correlations between the aerobic threshold and FATmax (r = 0.93, R2 = 0.87, p < 0.001) as well as the anaerobic threshold and FATmin (r = 0.88, R2 = 0.78, p < 0.001). Our results corroborate our hypothesis that the incremental RAMP test as well as the STEP test are reliable tools in assessing MFO, FATmax and FATmin intensities.

Key words

  • cycling
  • incremental exercise test
  • RAMP protocol
  • indirect calorimetry
  • maximal fat oxidation
  • ventilatory thresholds
Open Access

The Effects of Successive Soccer Matches on the Internal Match Load, Stress Tolerance, Salivary Cortisol and Jumping Performance in Youth Soccer Players

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 173 - 184

Abstract

Abstract

The study aim was to analyze the effects of successive matches on the internal match load, stress tolerance, salivary cortisol concentration and countermovement vertical jump height in twelve youth soccer players (16.6 ± 0.5 yr; 175 ± 8 cm; 65 ± 8 kg) who performed four official matches within a four day-period with a 24-h recovery interval between the matches. The internal match load, monotony index and competitive strain, as well as stress tolerance were examined. Saliva samples were collected and countermovement vertical jump height was assessed 60 min pre and 30 min post each match; delta of salivary cortisol and countermovement vertical jump height for each match were analyzed. Salivary cortisol was analyzed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results of ANOVA with repeated measures showed no differences between matches for the internal match load (p > 0.05). The scores of the monotony index and competitive strain were 4.3 (±2.3) and 8104 (±6795) arbitrary units, respectively. There was no difference for stress tolerance between matches (p > 0.05). Delta values of salivary cortisol were not different among the assessed matches (F(3,33) = 1.397, p = 0.351, η2: 0.09); however, delta of countermovement vertical jump height decreased from match 1 to match 4 (F(3,33) = 8.64, p < 0.001, η2: 0.44). The current findings suggest that participating in four successive matches, with 24-h of recovery in between, may not lead to changes in stress tolerance and salivary cortisol of youth players, but it may induce a decrease in players’ jumping performance after the fourth match.

Key words

  • endocrine responses
  • monitoring competitive load
  • rating of perceived exertion
  • congested match schedule
  • team sports
Open Access

A Practical Approach to Monitoring Biomarkers of Inflammation and Muscle Damage in Youth Soccer Players During a 6‐Month Training Cycle

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 185 - 197

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the effects of a 6-month training cycle on muscle damage and inflammatory markers in youth male soccer players. Twenty-one soccer players were tested four times: at the beginning (T1) and immediately after the pre-season period (T2), in the middle (T3) and at the end of the competitive period (T4). Muscle damage and inflammatory markers were determined in blood taken 36 hours after the match. Throughout the training cycle significant increases (p < 0.05) of creatine kinase (T1: 254.4 U·L-1; T4: 304.2 U·L-1) and lactate dehydrogenase (T1: 382.8 U·L-1; T4: 453.2 U·L-1) activities were observed. Significant changes (p < 0.05) in platelet count (T1: 210.5·109·L-1; T4: 234.2·109·L-1), percentage of lymphocyte (T1: 39.80%; T4: 42.97%), monocyte (T1: 6.88%; T4: 9.99%) and granulocyte (T1: 53.32%; T4: 47.05%) as well as in granulocyte-to-lymphocyte (T1: 1.41; T4: 1.17) and lymphocyte-to-monocyte (T1: 6.21; T4: 4.46) ratios were noted. The correlation analysis revealed statistically significant relationships (p < 0.05) between: myoglobin and the percentage of leukocyte subpopulations and the granulocyte to lymphocyte ratio; lactate dehydrogenase and the percentage of monocyte; lactate and leukocyte count. In conclusion, the reported muscle damage and inflammatory markers in T3 and T4 indicate the need for fatigue status monitoring in youth soccer players, especially in the competitive period. Moreover granulocyte to lymphocyte and lymphocyte to monocyte ratios proved to be sensitive to fatigue changes and therefore can provide coaches and sport scientists with a broader perspective on the biochemical monitoring of training status in soccer players.

Key words

  • fatigue
  • soccer
  • training loads
  • creatine kinase
  • myoglobin
  • leukocyte count
Open Access

GALNTL6 rs558129: A Novel Polymorphism for Swimming Performance?

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 199 - 205

Abstract

Abstract

The enzyme polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase like 6, encoded by the GALANTL6 gene, plays a role in the gut microbiome regarding regulation of short-chain fatty acids and their anti-inflammatory and resynthesis functions. It was hypothesized that the T allele of the GALNTL6 rs558129 polymorphism could have a positive effect on anaerobic metabolism. Thus, this study was performed to investigate the association between GALNTL6 rs558129 polymorphism and athletic performance in swimmers. A total of 147 Polish short distance (SDS) and 49 long distance swimmers (LDS) of national or international competitive levels and 379 controls were genotyped using the real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR). We found that the carriers of the T allele (CT+TT) had a 1.56 times higher chance of being SDS (odds ratio (OR): 95%CI 1.06-2.29) than the CC homozygotes. The T allele was overrepresented in the SDS compared with controls (33.7% vs. 25.7%, p = 0.025, OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.04-1.87), but no statistically significant differences were found for LDS. This study provides evidence for an association between the GALNTL6 rs558129 polymorphism and short distance swimming athlete status. Although more replication studies are needed, the preliminary data suggest an opportunity to use the analysis of GALNTL6 polymorphism along with other variants of candidate genes and standard phenotypic assessment in power-oriented sports selection.

Key words

  • sport
  • swimming
  • performance
  • gene
  • athlete status
  • gut microbiome

Section III - Sports Training

Open Access

Effects of Intensity Modulated Total-Body Circuit Training Combined with Soccer Training on Physical Fitness in Prepubertal Boys After a 6-Month Intervention

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 207 - 222

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-month high- or moderate-intensity total-body circuit training (CT) program on physical fitness in prepubertal soccer players. Sixty-seven prepubertal boys with a mean age of 11.2 ± 0.7 years completed the study. Participants from a soccer academy were randomly assigned either to a high-intensity CT group (HCT, n = 22) or a moderate-intensity CT group (MCT, n = 24). A control group (CON, n = 21) comprised age-matched individuals who were not involved in any regular training regime. CT protocols were included in the experimental group’s training sessions 3 times per week over 24 weeks as part of their usual weekly training regime. Based on the HR zone method, CT protocols included high- or moderate-intensity (85–95% HRmax or 75–85% HRmax) series of 3 different sets of upper- and lower-body strength exercises with articular and muscular mobilization, all culminated with 40-m sprints. Physical fitness was evaluated by the Eurofit test which included the flamingo balance (FLB), plate tapping (PLT), sit-and-reach (SAR), standing broad jump (SBJ), handgrip (HG), sit-ups (SUP), bent arm hang (BAH), 10×5 m shuttle run (SHR), and the Physical Working Capacity test (PWC170). The two-way ANOVA indicated group×time interaction effects for 5 components: the largest was for the SBJ (F2,63 = 42.895, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.577), and the lowest for the SHR (F2,63 = 5.006, p < 0.01, η2 = 0.137) indicating better improvements in the HCT compared to the MCT group. Furthermore, for HCT and MCT groups the highest pre- to post-intervention percentage changes were for the FLB and the SAR, while in the CON group the changes of all physical fitness components were not significant (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the intensity-controlled total-body CT protocol incorporated into a standard soccer training program is effective for enhancement in physical fitness performance in prepubertal soccer players.

Key words

  • circuit training
  • high-intensity workout
  • physical performance
  • youth soccer
Open Access

Are the Player Selection Process and Performance Influenced by Relative Age Effect in Elite Women’s Handball?

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 223 - 237

Abstract

Abstract

The relative age effect (RAE) is a phenomenon present in team sports, but it does not influence each gender to the same extent. This study aimed to examine the RAE and its relation to performance in international women's handball competitions (2017/18 World Championships). The sample was composed of 1,096 female players distributed into three categories: youth or under 18 (n = 369); junior or under 20 (n = 328) and senior (n = 399). The teams were divided into four groups based on their final position (medalist, quarter-finalist, eight-finalist and bottom-eight teams). The birthdate distribution (trimesters and semesters) was analysed according to the competition category and the playing position. Differences between the expected and observed birthdate distribution were checked using the chi-square statistical test followed by the calculation of the odds ratio. The results revealed, by trimester, the presence of the RAE in the youth (x2(7) = 87.22; p < 0.001) and junior (x2 (7) = 33.12; p < 0.001) categories, with no impact on senior (p > 0.05). The effect size was relatively strong in the youth category (Vc = 0.48). By semester, the prevalence of the RAE was also found in the senior category (p < 0.05). According to the playing position, the RAE was especially detected in ‘goalkeeper’ (p < 0.01) and ‘centre-back’ (p < 0.05) positions, both in U-18 and U-20 categories. Surprisingly, this effect also appeared in the ‘back’ players in the senior category (p < 0.05). A prevalence of the RAE was identified in teams with a higher final position, but interestingly had a greater impact in the quarter-finalist teams (p < 0.001) than in the medalist teams (p < 0.01). The findings demonstrated that the RAE tends to decrease as the chronological age of players increases, demonstrating a strong presence according to collective performance in international women’s handball.

Key words

  • birthdate
  • competition performance
  • team sport
  • sports success
  • final team position
Open Access

Design of a Tennis-Specific Agility Test (TAT) for Monitoring Tennis Players

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 239 - 250

Abstract

Abstract

Agility is an important ability for tennis players. To be successful in the rallies, players must perform rapid, multidirectional movements in response to the ball and/or the position of the opponent. For a test to be representative in monitoring agility performance, it should capture a combination of the physical and cognitive agility performance. Considering that literature reports no reliable and valid sport-specific agility test for tennis, the aim of this article was to design and evaluate the measurement properties of a Tennis-specific Agility Test (TAT). To evaluate the TAT, test-retest reliability, concurrent validity, and feasibility were assessed. For reproducibility, a two-way mixed ANOVA was performed. Concurrent validity was assessed using Pearson correlations. A total of 69 tennis players participated in this study of whom 16 competed at the international (22 ± 3.7 years, playing level (Dynamic Rating System): .8 ± .3), 43 at the national (14 ± 1.4 years, playing level: 4.6 ± 1.4), and 10 at the regional level (15 ± 0.8 years, playing level: 4.9 ± 1.1). Test-retest reliability was found to be moderate with an Intra-Class Correlation coefficient (ICC) of .74 (p < .01) and a percentual minimal detectable change (%MDC) of 6.2%. Concurrent validity was found to be moderate by comparison with a recognised agility test, the Spider Drill, which measures only the physical component (.70; p < .01), and by comparison with tennis performance for both boys (r = .67; p < .01) and girls (r = .72; p < .01). The feasibility was high with short time for preparation (five to ten minutes) and time per participant (<5 minutes). In conclusion, the TAT shows promising results for assessing sport-specific agility performance in tennis making it likely to be used in the practical setting.

Key words

  • racquet sports
  • change of direction
  • sport-specificity
  • reproducibility of results
  • validity
Open Access

Exploration of the Age-Category Soccer Performance Effects During Ball Possession Small-Sided Games

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 251 - 262

Abstract

Abstract

Small-sided games have been adopted as an integral part of soccer training, however, the use of task constraints by the coach and the action capabilities of both players and teams require further investigation. The aim of this investigation was to explore the age-category effects (under-11: U11, under-15: U15 and under-23: U23) on external training workloads (total distance covered, distance covered while walking, running and sprinting, number of sprints and maximum sprint speed), internal training load metrics (rate of perceived exertion, RPE) and tactical individual actions (passing number with dominant and non-dominant foot, and max passing speed) during 4 vs. 4 ball possession small-sided game constrained within three different playing areas (small: 20 x 15 m, medium: 25 x 20 m, and large: 30 x 25 m). Results revealed substantial differences (all p < .001) for each specific playing area observed across many of the external workload measures. For every area analysed, U23 players covered more distance walking, whereas U11 and U15 players covered more distances at higher intensities. Additionally, significant differences were found for the RPE (small playing area: p = .001; large playing area: p < .001) with U23 and U15 players showing higher scores compared with U11 ones. It can be concluded that a 4 vs. 4 ball possession small-sided game can provide different performance related stimuli to players, depending on age category and the playing surface area. Therefore, coaches and individuals involved with training and development of soccer players across all age groups should be aware of the key variables highlighted in this study before planning training drills.

Key words

  • GPS monitoring
  • task constraints
  • session design
  • coaching development
Open Access

The Dirty League: English Premier League Provides Higher Incentives for Fouling as Compared to other European Soccer Leagues

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 263 - 276

Abstract

Abstract

Fouling in soccer has been studied from an ethical standpoint as a measure of aggression. However, there is limited research related to fouling for performance. The present study investigated fouling as a factor influencing performance in European soccer leagues. Out of possession fouls (FPGNorm), yellow cards (YCFNorm), and their ratio (YCPFPG) were used as predictors of points (Pts) and goals conceded (GA) at the end of the season using three separate linear regression models. Furthermore, 5-fold cross-validation was used to measure out sample reliability. All the models significantly predicted GA and Pts (p < 0.001). Models predicting GA showed higher reliability than models predicting points. Cross validation (CV) results suggested that FPGNorm and YCPFPG models showed a small standard deviation (SD) in the R2 results whereas the results from YCFNorm were not reliable to high SD in the 5-fold CV results. In summary, FPGNorm and YCPFPG seem to predict success (low GA and high Pts) across European soccer leagues, with EPL showing the maximum effect. The findings of the current study and the methodology can be applied to an actual game analysis by coaches in multiple invasion sports. Normalizing for out of possession time is a crucial step for the time spent in particular phases of play, which has not been done in previous research while analyzing ‘key performance indices’ (KPIs). Normalization can successfully introduce domain-specific knowledge into predictors, which can be used in complex algorithms improving predictions and investigation of underlying mechanisms.

Key words

  • fouls
  • normalization
  • performance analysis
  • soccer
  • English Premier League
  • aggressive behavior
Open Access

Impact of Movement Tempo Distribution on Bar Velocity During a Multi-Set Bench Press Exercise

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 277 - 285

Abstract

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to evaluate the effect of contrast tempo movement on bar velocity changes during a multi-set bench press exercise. In randomized and counter-balanced order, participants performed three sets of the bench press exercise at 60%1RM under two testing conditions: E-E where all repetitions were performed with explosive (X/0/X/0) movement tempo; and S-E where the first two repetitions were performed with a slow tempo (5/0/X/0) while the third repetition was performed with explosive movement tempo (slow, slow, explosive). Twelve healthy men volunteered for the study (age = 30 ± 5 years; body mass = 88 ± 10 kg; bench press 1RM = 145 ± 24 kg). The three-way repeated measures ANOVA (tempo × set × repetition) showed statistically significant multi-interaction effect for peak bar velocity (p < 0.01; η2 = 0.23), yet not for mean bar velocity (p = 0.09; η2 = 0.14). The post hoc results for multi-interaction revealed that peak bar velocity in the 3rd repetition was significantly higher for E-E compared to SE only during set 1 (p < 0.001). Therefore, the distribution of movement tempo had a significant impact on peak bar velocity, but not on mean bar velocity. The decrease in peak bar velocity in the 3rd repetition during the S-E condition was observed only in the first set, while such a tendency was not observed in the second and third set.

Key words

  • duration of movement
  • contrast tempo
  • slow movement
  • time under tension
Open Access

Running Performance and Hormonal, Maturity and Physical Variables in Starting and Non-Starting Elite U14 Soccer Players During a Congested Match Schedule

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 287 - 295

Abstract

Abstract

This study examined changes in match running performance (MRP) in Under-14 soccer players (13.5 ± 0.7 yrs) during a congested match schedule (CMS) (4 matches played within a 5-day period). It also examined the difference in salivary testosterone (sT) concentration, somatic maturation, jumping tests, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) between the players selected to play (SLG; group who participated in all matches) and players non-selected to play (NSG). A significant difference was observed for the frequency of decelerations (DEC) across matches (match 4 vs. matches 1, 2 and 3; p = 0.05; partial ƞ2 = 0.20). No difference between matches was observed for total running distance (TRD), high-speed running distance (HSRD), and frequency of accelerations (ACC) (p > 0.05). A wide range for within-player coefficient of variation (CV) values was observed for all MRP variables (range: 10.5 = TRD to 30.6 = HSRD). No difference between SLG and NSG for any of the assessed variables was observed (p > 0.05). The findings suggest that DEC was the most pertinent variable for monitoring changes in MRP during the CMS. In addition, at an elite youth soccer level, the biological maturity and fitness might not influence selection to play.

Key words

  • soccer match
  • testosterone
  • saliva
  • athletic performance
  • deceleration
Open Access

Vertical Jumping as a Monitoring Tool in Endurance Runners: A Brief Review

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 297 - 308

Abstract

Abstract

Jumping performance (e.g., countermovement jump [CMJ]), as a measure of neuromuscular performance, has been suggested as an easy-to-use tool which simultaneously provides neuromuscular and metabolic information and, thereby, allows coaches to confidently monitor the status of their athletes during a workout. This hypothesis has been satisfactorily tested with sprint athletes. However, the rationale for the use of CMJ height loss as an index to monitor the workload during an endurance running session is not sufficiently evidence-based. First, it is assumed that a CMJ height loss occurs during typical interval training for endurance runners. Second, it is also assumed that a significant relationship between metabolic stress and the neuromuscular strain induced during these endurance workouts exists. These two assumptions will be questioned in this review by critically analyzing the kinetics of CMJ performance during and after running workouts, and the relationship between neuromuscular and physiological stress induced during different protocols in endurance runners. The current evidence shows that fatigue induced by common running workouts for endurance runners does not counterbalance the potentiation effect in the CMJ height. Additionally, the findings reported among different studies are consistent regarding the lack of association between CMJ height loss and physiological stress during interval sessions in endurance runners. In practical terms, the authors suggest that this marker of neuromuscular fatigue may not be used to regulate the external training load during running workouts in endurance runners. Nevertheless, the analysis of CMJ height during running workouts may serve to monitor chronic adaptations to training in endurance runners.

Key words

  • post activation potentiation
  • dose-response
  • individualization
  • fatigue
Open Access

Comparison of Muscle Activity During 200 m Indoor Curve and Straight Sprinting in Elite Female Sprinters

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 309 - 316

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess whether peak surface electromyography (sEMG) amplitude of selected lower limb muscles differed during a) curve and straight sprinting, b) sprinting in inside and outside lanes between lower limbs. Eleven well-trained female sprinters (personal best: 24.1 ± 1.1 s) were included in a randomized within-subject design study, in which participants underwent two experimental conditions: all-out 200 m indoor sprints in the innermost and outermost lane. Peak sEMG amplitude was recorded bilaterally from gastrocnemius medialis, biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, tibialis anterior, and vastus lateralis muscles. Left gastrocnemius medialis peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher than for the right leg muscle during curve (p = 0.011) and straight sprinting (p < 0.001) when sprinting in the inside lane, and also significantly higher when sprinting in the inside vs. outside lane for both curve and straight sprinting (p = 0.037 and p = 0.027, respectively). Moreover, left biceps femoris peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher during straight sprinting in the inside vs. outside lane (p = 0.006). Furthermore, right and left vastus lateralis peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher during curve sprinting in the inside lane (p = 0.001 and p = 0.004, respectively) and for the left leg muscle peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher during curve compared to straight sprinting in the outside lane (p = 0.024). Results indicate that curve sprinting creates greater demands mainly for the gastrocnemius medialis of the inner than the outer leg, but the degree of these requirements seems to depend on the radius of the curve, thus significant changes were noted during sprinting in the inside lane, but not in the outside lane.

Key words

  • electromyography
  • activity pattern
  • lower limbs
  • biceps femoris
  • gastrocnemius

Erratum

28 Articles

Section I - Kinesiology

Open Access

Effects of Post-Activation Performance Enhancement (PAPE) Induced by a Plyometric Protocol on Deceleration Performance

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 5 - 16

Abstract

Abstract

Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) is a phenomenon which can improve power performance executed after a previous conditioning activity. PAP is usually evoked through heavy resistance or plyometric exercise. It has been suggested to refer to as Postactivation Performance Enhancement (PAPE) when research is field-based on explosive activities. To our best knowledge, no studies have investigated the effects of PAPE on deceleration performance, which is a key factor in sports involving change of directions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the influence of a plyometric exercise protocol on a subsequent deceleration running performance. University soccer players (n = 18) performed seven deceleration trials and were assessed at baseline and after ~15 s, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16 min either following a walking control condition (C) or three sets of ten repetitions of alternate-leg bounding (plyometric, P). Results showed no significant differences at any of the trials under the control condition (C) in comparison to the relative baseline. Under the plyometric condition (P), deceleration performance executed two minutes after the plyometric activity resulted in significantly faster results compared to the baseline values (p = 0.042; ES = 0.86, large effect; % of improvement = 4.13 %). The main findings are that plyometric exercise improves a subsequent running deceleration performance, 2 min after its execution. Future investigations should focus on more complex actions such as changes of direction and agility.

Key words

  • post activation potentiation
  • acceleration
  • braking
  • potentiating
  • change of direction
  • warm-up
  • jumping
  • bounding
  • unilateral
  • power
Open Access

Biomechanical Effects of Flamenco Footwork

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 19 - 27

Abstract

Abstract

Footwork is one of the basic features of flamenco dancing and is performed in traditional high-heeled shoes. The purpose of this study was to analyse the mechanical profile of flamenco dancing in terms of vertical ground reaction force, and knee joint kinematics of the supporting limb in footwork technique in order to understand causes which predispose injuries derived from the practice of flamenco dancing. The participant in our study was a professional female flamenco dancer (34 years, 58 kg, 1.65 m) who performed the ZAP 3 test, a sequence of single strikes of the feet performed continuously for 15 s. 3D lower extremity kinematic data were collected using a five-camera motion analysis system (Vicon; Oxford Metrics Ltd., Oxford, UK). Ground reaction forces were recorded using a Kistler force plate. Our analysis was based on 30 cycles of each lower limb consisting of 177 footwork steps. The vertical component of the ground reaction force did not reveal any significant differences between the left and the right limb. The most dynamic strike was provided by the heel (twice the participant's body weight). The mean angular displacement of the supporting limb’s knee was ~27°. Results reveal that these impacts could make the knee joint more prone to injuries.

Key words

  • kinematics
  • ground reaction force
  • knee flexion
  • injury
Open Access

A Mathematical Model for the Take-Off in Platform Diving

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 29 - 37

Abstract

Abstract

In platform diving the take-off phase is of outstanding importance in order to achieve both a high level of performing quality and a high degree of difficulty. The diver has to produce the right forces and direction of the center of mass (COM) in order to attain the required angular momentum and dive height. To support the development of an optimum take-off technique, the Institute for Applied Training Science designed a dryland measuring and feedback system. Using the example of the dive back 1¼ somersault tucked in preparation for the dive back 3½ somersault tucked (207 C) from the 10-m-platform, kinematic and kinetic reference values for key positions were determined. Therefore, we developed a mathematical model using a multi-step examination plan with the following parts: (1) variables defined using nonparametric correlation analyses rs of the motion parameters, (2) statistical modelling to predict values of the parameters, (3) stochastic modelling. The model is based on a selection of 18 dives from 10 different elite divers of the German Swimming Federation (DSV). The approach presented provides helpful insights into the mechanisms of an optimal take-off, enables a target-performance comparison with objective motion parameters and therefore, enables individualized feedback to guide the training process more efficiently.

Key words

  • motor learning
  • augmented feedback
  • technique training
Open Access

The Relationship Between Speed and Strength in the Beach Volleyball Serve

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 39 - 47

Abstract

Abstract

The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between isometric force produced in different joints and its effects on the power kick serve speed in beach volleyball as a predictive aspect to improve sports performance. Seven athletes competing at national and international levels (mean ± standard deviation; age: 21.6 ± 3.20 years; body height: 1.87 ± 0.08 cm; body mass 80.18 ± 7.11 kg) were evaluated using maximum isometric force contractions (i.e., spinal and knee extension, grip by a hand dynamometer (handgrip), internal shoulder rotation, shoulder flexion, elbow flexion and extension, and wrist flexion). Speed of the ball was recorded with a pistol radar and force was measured with a strain gauge. Results showed a relationship between isometric force developed in the internal rotation of the shoulder and speed of the ball (r = 0.76*; p < 0.05). In the remaining isometric exercises, positive low to moderate correlations were found in the spine and knee extension (r = 0.56; p = 0.200) and elbow flexion (r = 0.41; p = 0.375). On the other hand, the remaining isometric exercises obtained weak or non-significant correlations. Force developed in the internal rotation of the shoulder highly correlated with the speed of the power kick, explaining, together with the elbow flexion and the extension of the knee and back, much of the variability of the power kick of beach volleyball athletes.

Key words

  • isometric strength
  • training
  • internal shoulder rotation
  • beach volleyball
  • serve speed
Open Access

Force-Velocity Profile of Competitive Kayakers: Evaluation of a Novel Single Kayak Stroke Test

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 49 - 59

Abstract

Abstract

The assessment of the force-velocity (F-V) profile in athletes may have important applications for training prescription, injury management, and fatigue monitoring. This study aimed to assess whether a novel single kayak stroke test (SKST) is able to provide the F-V relationship variables (maximum force, maximum velocity and maximum power) of competitive kayakers with acceptable reliability and external validity. Six female (age: 20.3 ± 3.7 years) and eight male (age: 20.8 ± 2.4 years) elite kayakers performed the SKST, bench press, bench pull, and short Wingate kayak test. The individual F-V relationships were highly linear [median r (range): left stroke = 0.986 (0.897 - 0.998); right stroke = 0.987 (0.971 - 0.999)]. The reliability of the F-V relationship parameters obtained during the SKST was high (within-session: CV ≤ 4.48% and ICC ≥ 0.93; between-session: CV ≤ 8.06% and ICC ≥ 0.65). The validity of the F-V relationship parameters obtained during the SKST was generally very high for maximum power (r range = 0.825 - 0.975), high for maximum force during both the bench press and the bench pull (r range = 0.751 - 0.831), and high or moderate for maximal velocity during the bench pull (r = 0.770 - 0.829) and the bench press (r = 0.355 - 0.471), respectively. The SKST can be considered a feasible procedure for testing the maximal upper-body muscle mechanical capacities of kayakers.

Key words

  • paddling
  • canoeing
  • muscle mechanical capacities
  • reliability
  • external validity
Open Access

Kinematic Effects of the Target on the Velocity of Taekwon-Do Roundhouse Kicks

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 61 - 69

Abstract

Abstract

The phenomena of target kinematic effects under different striking conditions and applying different techniques constitute one of the fields of research for sports biomechanics. However, the influence of some kinematic variables which change under different strike conditions for specific parts of the lower limb remains unknown. The aim of this study was to extend the knowledge on how targets of different shapes or the lack of a physical target would affect maximal velocity registered by a marker placed on the foot, knee and hip during the execution of a roundhouse kick. In total, 15 adult males were included in this study. All participants were taekwon-do elite athletes. The displacement of markers placed on the lateral side of the foot, knee and hip during movement execution was registered by a stereophotogrammetry apparatus. Participants performed taekwon-do roundhouse kicks for three target types (into the air, a table tennis ball and a training shield) applying either a sport or a traditional style. The highest maximal velocity was obtained for kicking into the training shield. When applying the sport style, the highest maximal velocity of foot markers for the executed kicks was registered. Kicking into air resulted in higher velocities for proximal body parts than kicking into a tennis ball, but the effect was reversed for the foot marker. In conclusion, a large resistance target is suitable for athletes’ motor preparation as it allows the highest maximum velocity to be reached. Small non-resistant targets are recommended for technical training.

Key words

  • biomechanics
  • martial arts
  • photogrammetry
  • sport analysis
  • lower extremity

Section II - Exercise Physiology & Sports Medicine

Open Access

Pacing and Body Weight Changes During a Mountain Ultramarathon: Sex Differences and Performance

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 71 - 82

Abstract

Abstract

The study was aimed at comparing pacing adopted by males and females in a 107-km mountain ultramarathon and assessing whether pacing-related variables were associated with intracompetition body weight changes and performance. Forty-seven athletes (29 males; 18 females) were submitted to a cardiopulmonary exercise test before the race. Athletes were also weighted before the start of the race, at three midpoints (33 km, 66 km and 84 km) and after the race. Pacing was analyzed using absolute and relative speeds and accelerometry-derived sedentary time spent during the race. Results showed that females spent less sedentary time (4.72 ± 2.91 vs. 2.62 ± 2.14%; p = 0.035; d = 0.83) and displayed a smaller body weight loss (3.01 ± 1.96 vs. 4.37 ± 1.77%; p = 0.048; d = 0.77) than males. No significant sex differences were revealed for speed variability, absolute and relative speed. In addition, finishing time was correlated with: speed variability (r = 0.45; p = 0.010), index of pacing (r = -0.63; p < 0.001) and sedentary time (r = 0.64; p < 0.001). Meanwhile, intracompetition body weight changes were related with both the absolute and relative speed in the first and the last race section. These results suggest that females, as compared with males, take advantage of shorter time breaks at aid stations. Moreover, performing a more even pacing pattern may be positively associated with performance in mountain ultramarathons. Finally, intracompetition body weight changes in those races should be considered in conjunction with running speed fluctuations.

Key words

  • speed variability
  • accelerometry
  • cardiopulmonary exercise test
Open Access

The Effect of an Olympic Distance Triathlon on Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity and its Recovery 24 Hours Later

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 83 - 92

Abstract

Abstract

The Olympic distance triathlon includes maximal exercise bouts with transitions between the activities. This study investigated the effect of an Olympic distance triathlon (1.5-km swim, 40-km bike, 10-km run) on pulmonary diffusion capacity (DLCO). In nine male triathletes (age: 24 ± 4.7 years), we measured DLCO and calculated the DLCO to alveolar volume ratio (DLCO/VA) and performed spirometry testing before a triathlon (pre-T), 2 hours after the race (post-T), and the day following the race (post-T-24 h). DLCO was measured using the 9-s breath-holding method. We found that (1) DLCO decreased significantly between pre- and post-T values (38.52 ± 5.44 vs. 35.92 ± 6.63 ml∙min-1∙mmHg-1) (p < 0.01) and returned to baseline at post-T-24 h (38.52 ± 5.44 vs. 37.24 ± 6.76 ml∙min-1∙mmHg-1, p > 0.05); (2) DLCO/VA was similar at the pre-, post- and post-T-24 h DLCO comparisons; and (3) forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) and mean forced expiratory flow during the middle half of vital capacity (FEF25-75%) significantly decreased between pre- and post-T and between pre- and post-T-24-h (p < 0.02). In conclusion, a significant reduction in DLCO and DLCO/VA 2 hours after the triathlon suggests the presence of pulmonary interstitial oedema. Both values returned to baseline 24 hours after the race, which reflects possible mild and transient pulmonary oedema with minimal physiological significance.

Key words

  • pulmonary function
  • multi-sport activities
  • athletic performance
  • combined sport
Open Access

Differences in Nervous Autonomic Control in Response to a Single Session of Exercise in Bodybuilders Using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 93 - 101

Abstract

Abstract

Considering the role of autonomic nerve activity in blood pressure control, this study aimed to investigate the cardiac autonomic nerve responses after an aerobic exercise session in Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) users. Twenty men (AAS, n = 9; control group, n = 11) performed an aerobic exercise session (60 min, 70 to 80% of HRmax). Heart rate variability (HRV) was assessed before and during a 60-min post-exercise recovery period. RMSSD (root mean square successive difference of the RR intervals) and the LF/HF ratio (low frequency/high frequency spectra) were also evaluated. The Student's t-test for independent samples was used to compare differences between initial group characteristics. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare pre- and post-exercise HRV recovery (p < 0.05). AAS had a lower SDNN (standard deviation of the intervals) (40.8 ± 16.8 vs. 71.6 ± 24.7 ms; p = 0.04, d = 1.4) and a higher LF/HF (3.4 ± 2.1 vs. 1.8 ± 0.9%; p = 0.03, d = 0.9) before exercise. AAS and controls had similar RMSSD (14.0 ± 15.8 vs. 18.9 ± 12.1 ms; p = 0.20) and a LF/HF (2.8 ± 1.6 vs. 2.4 ± 1.2 ms; p = 0.41) immediately post-exercise. The between-groups comparison revealed a higher HF/LF at 30 min (4.3 ± 1.4 vs. 2.5 ± 1.3%; p = 0.008, d = 1.3) and 60 min (5.0 ± 2.2 vs. 2.3 ± 0.8%; p = 0.001, d = 1.6) for the AAS group in the recovery time. This study demonstrated impaired parasympathetic activity at rest and immediately after the exercise session as an adverse effect of AAS usage, but similar behavior regarding the restoration of sympathetic activity.

Key words

  • physical exercise
  • anabolic agents
  • autonomic nervous system
  • heart rate variability
Open Access

Training vs. Competition in Sport: State Anxiety and Response of Stress Hormones in Young Swimmers

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 103 - 112

Abstract

Abstract

This study was aimed to assess the neuroendocrine response to stress induced by different sports environments (a regular training session and a competitive event), to define the contribution of psychological and physical stress, and to check the possible relationship between state-anxiety and stress hormones responses to competitive and non-competitive sports practices. Twelve young national-level male swimmers participated in this investigation. Endorphins, adrenocorticotropin, and prolactin plasma levels were measured at baseline conditions (t0), before a regular swimming training session (t1), and before and after real swimming competition consisting of 100 m freestyle (t2 and t3, respectively). Moreover, state-anxiety was evaluated in all assessment time-points. The results showed no differences in endorphin, adrenocorticotropin, prolactin and state-anxiety between t0 and t1; however, significant increases in endorphins (142%), prolactin (137%) and state-anxiety (13%) were observed in t2. Huge stress response was observed in t3 (increases of 354%, 387%, and 250% for endorphins, adrenocorticotropin, and prolactin, respectively) although state-anxiety decreased slightly. Lastly, a lack of the relationship between stress hormones and state-anxiety was found in all conditions. Mental and especially physical stress associated with sports competition induces a significant release of stress hormones which is not relevant for the regular training session.

Key words

  • stress
  • neuroendocrine response
  • sports competition
  • swimming
Open Access

Antioxidants Markers of Professional Soccer Players During the Season and their Relationship with Competitive Performance

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 113 - 123

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess antioxidant markers before and after a mid-season of professional soccer players from the 3rd Spanish Division, and to correlate antioxidant markers with competitive performance. Sixty-five male players (age = 25.3 ± 4.2 yr, body mass = 73.2 ± 6.7 kg, body height = 177.8 ± 5.7 cm) from three soccer clubs from Cádiz (Spain) participated in the study. Body composition, maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max), and baseline antioxidant blood markers (Total Antioxidant Status (TAS) and Reduced glutathione/Oxidized glutathione ratio) were assessed in the first week of the championship season (pre-test) and after 18 weeks in the mid-season (post-test). Soccer performance was registered according to the official classification ranking at both the mid-season and at the end of the season; ranking positions for Team A were 2nd and 1st, for Team B were 5th and 5th, while for Team C were 12th and 14th, respectively. Regression analyses showed that TAS and VO2max were able to independently predict (p < 0.05) performance in our participants. Moreover, antioxidant levels showed significant main effects on performance (p < 0.001); where a higher antioxidant capacity was observed in the best performance soccer team, both before and after the mid-season. Notwithstanding, the competitive period compromised the antioxidant status since TAS levels significantly decreased after the 18-week training program and competition compared with baseline values in all soccer teams (p < 0.001). These results suggest the need of monitoring antioxidants in soccer players to prevent excessive oxidative stress and cellular damage which could compromise success in competition, by adjusting the training loads, diet or ergogenic aids, if needed.

Key words

  • total antioxidant capacity
  • glutathione
  • oxidative stress
  • elite athletes
  • team sports
Open Access

Uncommon Bone Injuries in Soccer Players

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 125 - 138

Abstract

Abstract

Soccer is the most common team sport in the world. A significant number of players are associated with a large number of injuries. Injuries occur in a variety of contexts regardless of the age or performance level of players. The vast majority of injuries involve soft tissues. Bone injuries are less common, but usually result in long-term exclusion from the game. Three different types of fractures related to soccer are classified as acute types, stress fractures and avulsion. This manuscript outlines the diagnostic procedures and treatments for stress fractures, avulsion fractures and bone cyst. The common feature of the described injuries includes frequent difficulties associated with the correct diagnosis and treatment direction. In therapeutic treatment, the doctor and the patient often have to choose between conservative treatment and surgical treatment, which in many cases is not simple. We suggest that in the event of injuries to soccer players, surgical treatment should be used, shortening the time to return to full sports activity. A very important element of the therapeutic process is proper rehabilitation, which should be individually tailored to the patient in order to optimize the treatment process. Some of the rehabilitation protocols should be permanently incorporated into the warm-up protocols for training. Such a procedure has a preventive effect.

Key words

  • stress fracture
  • avulsion fracture
  • bone cyst
  • sports injuries
Open Access

Age and Maturity Effects on Morphological and Physical Performance Measures of Adolescent Judo Athletes

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 139 - 151

Abstract

Abstract

Studies assessing age and maturation effects on morphological and physical performance measures of young judokas are scarce. This study aimed to assess the independent and combined effects of chronological age and biological maturation on anthropometry and physical performance of 67 judokas aged 11-14. Participants’ anthropometric profiles were assessed, and physical performance tests were completed. Multivariate analyses of variance revealed an independent effect of age (anthropometry: F = 1.871; p < 0.05; Pillai’s trace = 0.545; η2p = 0.272; physical performance: F = 2.876; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.509; η2p = 0.254) and maturity (anthropometry: F = 10.085; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.669; η2p = 0.669; physical performance: F = 11.700; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.581; η2p = 0.581). There was no significant combined effect of age and maturity. The maturation effect remained significant when controlled for age (anthropometry: F = 4.097; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.481; η2p = 0.481; physical performance: F = 3.859; p < 0.01; Pillai’s trace = 0.0.318; η2p = 0.318). Inadolescent judokas, the maturation effect on growth and physical performance seems to be more relevant than the age effect, leading to the need to control this effect in training routines and competitive events. As in studies with youth soccer players and other youth athletes, bio-banding can be a strategy for controlling maturation in combat sports.

Key words

  • anthropometry
  • aerobic performance
  • anaerobic performance
  • agility
  • muscle strength
  • biological maturation
Open Access

Relevance of a Sprint Interval Swim Training Set to the 100‐Meter Freestyle Event Based on Blood Lactate and Kinematic Variables

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 153 - 161

Abstract

Abstract

Sprint interval training (SIT) sets are commonly used by coaches in the training routine of swimmers competing in short-distance events; however, data regarding their relevance to competitive events are scarce. The aim of this study was to examine whether performance variables differed or correlated between a 4 × 50-m maximal swimming set (with a work-to-rest ratio of 1:4) and the 100-m freestyle event. Eleven male and 16 female competitive swimmers aged 16.1 ± 1.1 years participated in the study. All swimmers trained at least six times a week and had training experience of more than 4 years. They completed the two freestyle tests on different days, in random and counterbalanced order. In each test, speed, blood lactate, stroke rate (SR), and stroke index (SI) were measured. Speed, blood lactate, and SR were higher at the 4 × 50 m compared to the 100 m and were positively correlated between tests (p < 0.001). The SI did not differ significantly, but was positively correlated between tests. Males were faster and had a higher SI than females, but genders did not differ in lactate. Since performance variables were better in the SIT set and correlated with those in the 100-m bout, we suggest that the 4 × 50-m set can be used to improve performance in the 100-m freestyle event. Moreover, this set can help coaches identify which swimmers will swim fastest in the event.

Key words

  • anaerobic capacity
  • blood lactate
  • freestyle
  • stroke index
  • stroke rate
  • youth athletes
Open Access

Comparison of the Ramp and Step Incremental Exercise Test Protocols in Assessing the Maximal Fat Oxidation Rate in Youth Cyclists

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 163 - 172

Abstract

Abstract

The incremental exercise test is the most common method in assessing the maximal fat oxidation (MFO) rate. The main aim of the study was to determine whether the progressive linear RAMP test can be used to assess the maximal fat oxidation rate along with the intensities that trigger its maximal (FATmax) and its minimal (FATmin) values. Our study comprised 57 young road cyclists who were tested in random order. Each of them was submitted to two incremental exercise tests on an electro-magnetically braked cycle-ergometer - STEP (50 W·3 min-1) and RAMP (~0.278 W·s-1) at a 7-day interval. A stoichiometric equation was used to calculate the fat oxidation rate, while the metabolic thresholds were defined by analyzing ventilation gases. The Student’s T-test, Bland-Altman plots and Pearson’s linear correlations were resorted to in the process of statistical analysis. No statistically significant MFO variances occurred between the tests (p = 0.12) and its rate amounted to 0.57 ± 0.15 g·min-1 and 0.53 ± 0.17 g·min-1 in the STEP and RAMP, respectively. No statistically significant variances in the absolute and relative (to maximal) values of oxygen uptake and heart rate were discerned at the FATmax and FATmin intensities. The RAMP test displayed very strong oxygen uptake correlations between the aerobic threshold and FATmax (r = 0.93, R2 = 0.87, p < 0.001) as well as the anaerobic threshold and FATmin (r = 0.88, R2 = 0.78, p < 0.001). Our results corroborate our hypothesis that the incremental RAMP test as well as the STEP test are reliable tools in assessing MFO, FATmax and FATmin intensities.

Key words

  • cycling
  • incremental exercise test
  • RAMP protocol
  • indirect calorimetry
  • maximal fat oxidation
  • ventilatory thresholds
Open Access

The Effects of Successive Soccer Matches on the Internal Match Load, Stress Tolerance, Salivary Cortisol and Jumping Performance in Youth Soccer Players

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 173 - 184

Abstract

Abstract

The study aim was to analyze the effects of successive matches on the internal match load, stress tolerance, salivary cortisol concentration and countermovement vertical jump height in twelve youth soccer players (16.6 ± 0.5 yr; 175 ± 8 cm; 65 ± 8 kg) who performed four official matches within a four day-period with a 24-h recovery interval between the matches. The internal match load, monotony index and competitive strain, as well as stress tolerance were examined. Saliva samples were collected and countermovement vertical jump height was assessed 60 min pre and 30 min post each match; delta of salivary cortisol and countermovement vertical jump height for each match were analyzed. Salivary cortisol was analyzed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results of ANOVA with repeated measures showed no differences between matches for the internal match load (p > 0.05). The scores of the monotony index and competitive strain were 4.3 (±2.3) and 8104 (±6795) arbitrary units, respectively. There was no difference for stress tolerance between matches (p > 0.05). Delta values of salivary cortisol were not different among the assessed matches (F(3,33) = 1.397, p = 0.351, η2: 0.09); however, delta of countermovement vertical jump height decreased from match 1 to match 4 (F(3,33) = 8.64, p < 0.001, η2: 0.44). The current findings suggest that participating in four successive matches, with 24-h of recovery in between, may not lead to changes in stress tolerance and salivary cortisol of youth players, but it may induce a decrease in players’ jumping performance after the fourth match.

Key words

  • endocrine responses
  • monitoring competitive load
  • rating of perceived exertion
  • congested match schedule
  • team sports
Open Access

A Practical Approach to Monitoring Biomarkers of Inflammation and Muscle Damage in Youth Soccer Players During a 6‐Month Training Cycle

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 185 - 197

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the effects of a 6-month training cycle on muscle damage and inflammatory markers in youth male soccer players. Twenty-one soccer players were tested four times: at the beginning (T1) and immediately after the pre-season period (T2), in the middle (T3) and at the end of the competitive period (T4). Muscle damage and inflammatory markers were determined in blood taken 36 hours after the match. Throughout the training cycle significant increases (p < 0.05) of creatine kinase (T1: 254.4 U·L-1; T4: 304.2 U·L-1) and lactate dehydrogenase (T1: 382.8 U·L-1; T4: 453.2 U·L-1) activities were observed. Significant changes (p < 0.05) in platelet count (T1: 210.5·109·L-1; T4: 234.2·109·L-1), percentage of lymphocyte (T1: 39.80%; T4: 42.97%), monocyte (T1: 6.88%; T4: 9.99%) and granulocyte (T1: 53.32%; T4: 47.05%) as well as in granulocyte-to-lymphocyte (T1: 1.41; T4: 1.17) and lymphocyte-to-monocyte (T1: 6.21; T4: 4.46) ratios were noted. The correlation analysis revealed statistically significant relationships (p < 0.05) between: myoglobin and the percentage of leukocyte subpopulations and the granulocyte to lymphocyte ratio; lactate dehydrogenase and the percentage of monocyte; lactate and leukocyte count. In conclusion, the reported muscle damage and inflammatory markers in T3 and T4 indicate the need for fatigue status monitoring in youth soccer players, especially in the competitive period. Moreover granulocyte to lymphocyte and lymphocyte to monocyte ratios proved to be sensitive to fatigue changes and therefore can provide coaches and sport scientists with a broader perspective on the biochemical monitoring of training status in soccer players.

Key words

  • fatigue
  • soccer
  • training loads
  • creatine kinase
  • myoglobin
  • leukocyte count
Open Access

GALNTL6 rs558129: A Novel Polymorphism for Swimming Performance?

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 199 - 205

Abstract

Abstract

The enzyme polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase like 6, encoded by the GALANTL6 gene, plays a role in the gut microbiome regarding regulation of short-chain fatty acids and their anti-inflammatory and resynthesis functions. It was hypothesized that the T allele of the GALNTL6 rs558129 polymorphism could have a positive effect on anaerobic metabolism. Thus, this study was performed to investigate the association between GALNTL6 rs558129 polymorphism and athletic performance in swimmers. A total of 147 Polish short distance (SDS) and 49 long distance swimmers (LDS) of national or international competitive levels and 379 controls were genotyped using the real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR). We found that the carriers of the T allele (CT+TT) had a 1.56 times higher chance of being SDS (odds ratio (OR): 95%CI 1.06-2.29) than the CC homozygotes. The T allele was overrepresented in the SDS compared with controls (33.7% vs. 25.7%, p = 0.025, OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.04-1.87), but no statistically significant differences were found for LDS. This study provides evidence for an association between the GALNTL6 rs558129 polymorphism and short distance swimming athlete status. Although more replication studies are needed, the preliminary data suggest an opportunity to use the analysis of GALNTL6 polymorphism along with other variants of candidate genes and standard phenotypic assessment in power-oriented sports selection.

Key words

  • sport
  • swimming
  • performance
  • gene
  • athlete status
  • gut microbiome

Section III - Sports Training

Open Access

Effects of Intensity Modulated Total-Body Circuit Training Combined with Soccer Training on Physical Fitness in Prepubertal Boys After a 6-Month Intervention

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 207 - 222

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-month high- or moderate-intensity total-body circuit training (CT) program on physical fitness in prepubertal soccer players. Sixty-seven prepubertal boys with a mean age of 11.2 ± 0.7 years completed the study. Participants from a soccer academy were randomly assigned either to a high-intensity CT group (HCT, n = 22) or a moderate-intensity CT group (MCT, n = 24). A control group (CON, n = 21) comprised age-matched individuals who were not involved in any regular training regime. CT protocols were included in the experimental group’s training sessions 3 times per week over 24 weeks as part of their usual weekly training regime. Based on the HR zone method, CT protocols included high- or moderate-intensity (85–95% HRmax or 75–85% HRmax) series of 3 different sets of upper- and lower-body strength exercises with articular and muscular mobilization, all culminated with 40-m sprints. Physical fitness was evaluated by the Eurofit test which included the flamingo balance (FLB), plate tapping (PLT), sit-and-reach (SAR), standing broad jump (SBJ), handgrip (HG), sit-ups (SUP), bent arm hang (BAH), 10×5 m shuttle run (SHR), and the Physical Working Capacity test (PWC170). The two-way ANOVA indicated group×time interaction effects for 5 components: the largest was for the SBJ (F2,63 = 42.895, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.577), and the lowest for the SHR (F2,63 = 5.006, p < 0.01, η2 = 0.137) indicating better improvements in the HCT compared to the MCT group. Furthermore, for HCT and MCT groups the highest pre- to post-intervention percentage changes were for the FLB and the SAR, while in the CON group the changes of all physical fitness components were not significant (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the intensity-controlled total-body CT protocol incorporated into a standard soccer training program is effective for enhancement in physical fitness performance in prepubertal soccer players.

Key words

  • circuit training
  • high-intensity workout
  • physical performance
  • youth soccer
Open Access

Are the Player Selection Process and Performance Influenced by Relative Age Effect in Elite Women’s Handball?

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 223 - 237

Abstract

Abstract

The relative age effect (RAE) is a phenomenon present in team sports, but it does not influence each gender to the same extent. This study aimed to examine the RAE and its relation to performance in international women's handball competitions (2017/18 World Championships). The sample was composed of 1,096 female players distributed into three categories: youth or under 18 (n = 369); junior or under 20 (n = 328) and senior (n = 399). The teams were divided into four groups based on their final position (medalist, quarter-finalist, eight-finalist and bottom-eight teams). The birthdate distribution (trimesters and semesters) was analysed according to the competition category and the playing position. Differences between the expected and observed birthdate distribution were checked using the chi-square statistical test followed by the calculation of the odds ratio. The results revealed, by trimester, the presence of the RAE in the youth (x2(7) = 87.22; p < 0.001) and junior (x2 (7) = 33.12; p < 0.001) categories, with no impact on senior (p > 0.05). The effect size was relatively strong in the youth category (Vc = 0.48). By semester, the prevalence of the RAE was also found in the senior category (p < 0.05). According to the playing position, the RAE was especially detected in ‘goalkeeper’ (p < 0.01) and ‘centre-back’ (p < 0.05) positions, both in U-18 and U-20 categories. Surprisingly, this effect also appeared in the ‘back’ players in the senior category (p < 0.05). A prevalence of the RAE was identified in teams with a higher final position, but interestingly had a greater impact in the quarter-finalist teams (p < 0.001) than in the medalist teams (p < 0.01). The findings demonstrated that the RAE tends to decrease as the chronological age of players increases, demonstrating a strong presence according to collective performance in international women’s handball.

Key words

  • birthdate
  • competition performance
  • team sport
  • sports success
  • final team position
Open Access

Design of a Tennis-Specific Agility Test (TAT) for Monitoring Tennis Players

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 239 - 250

Abstract

Abstract

Agility is an important ability for tennis players. To be successful in the rallies, players must perform rapid, multidirectional movements in response to the ball and/or the position of the opponent. For a test to be representative in monitoring agility performance, it should capture a combination of the physical and cognitive agility performance. Considering that literature reports no reliable and valid sport-specific agility test for tennis, the aim of this article was to design and evaluate the measurement properties of a Tennis-specific Agility Test (TAT). To evaluate the TAT, test-retest reliability, concurrent validity, and feasibility were assessed. For reproducibility, a two-way mixed ANOVA was performed. Concurrent validity was assessed using Pearson correlations. A total of 69 tennis players participated in this study of whom 16 competed at the international (22 ± 3.7 years, playing level (Dynamic Rating System): .8 ± .3), 43 at the national (14 ± 1.4 years, playing level: 4.6 ± 1.4), and 10 at the regional level (15 ± 0.8 years, playing level: 4.9 ± 1.1). Test-retest reliability was found to be moderate with an Intra-Class Correlation coefficient (ICC) of .74 (p < .01) and a percentual minimal detectable change (%MDC) of 6.2%. Concurrent validity was found to be moderate by comparison with a recognised agility test, the Spider Drill, which measures only the physical component (.70; p < .01), and by comparison with tennis performance for both boys (r = .67; p < .01) and girls (r = .72; p < .01). The feasibility was high with short time for preparation (five to ten minutes) and time per participant (<5 minutes). In conclusion, the TAT shows promising results for assessing sport-specific agility performance in tennis making it likely to be used in the practical setting.

Key words

  • racquet sports
  • change of direction
  • sport-specificity
  • reproducibility of results
  • validity
Open Access

Exploration of the Age-Category Soccer Performance Effects During Ball Possession Small-Sided Games

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 251 - 262

Abstract

Abstract

Small-sided games have been adopted as an integral part of soccer training, however, the use of task constraints by the coach and the action capabilities of both players and teams require further investigation. The aim of this investigation was to explore the age-category effects (under-11: U11, under-15: U15 and under-23: U23) on external training workloads (total distance covered, distance covered while walking, running and sprinting, number of sprints and maximum sprint speed), internal training load metrics (rate of perceived exertion, RPE) and tactical individual actions (passing number with dominant and non-dominant foot, and max passing speed) during 4 vs. 4 ball possession small-sided game constrained within three different playing areas (small: 20 x 15 m, medium: 25 x 20 m, and large: 30 x 25 m). Results revealed substantial differences (all p < .001) for each specific playing area observed across many of the external workload measures. For every area analysed, U23 players covered more distance walking, whereas U11 and U15 players covered more distances at higher intensities. Additionally, significant differences were found for the RPE (small playing area: p = .001; large playing area: p < .001) with U23 and U15 players showing higher scores compared with U11 ones. It can be concluded that a 4 vs. 4 ball possession small-sided game can provide different performance related stimuli to players, depending on age category and the playing surface area. Therefore, coaches and individuals involved with training and development of soccer players across all age groups should be aware of the key variables highlighted in this study before planning training drills.

Key words

  • GPS monitoring
  • task constraints
  • session design
  • coaching development
Open Access

The Dirty League: English Premier League Provides Higher Incentives for Fouling as Compared to other European Soccer Leagues

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 263 - 276

Abstract

Abstract

Fouling in soccer has been studied from an ethical standpoint as a measure of aggression. However, there is limited research related to fouling for performance. The present study investigated fouling as a factor influencing performance in European soccer leagues. Out of possession fouls (FPGNorm), yellow cards (YCFNorm), and their ratio (YCPFPG) were used as predictors of points (Pts) and goals conceded (GA) at the end of the season using three separate linear regression models. Furthermore, 5-fold cross-validation was used to measure out sample reliability. All the models significantly predicted GA and Pts (p < 0.001). Models predicting GA showed higher reliability than models predicting points. Cross validation (CV) results suggested that FPGNorm and YCPFPG models showed a small standard deviation (SD) in the R2 results whereas the results from YCFNorm were not reliable to high SD in the 5-fold CV results. In summary, FPGNorm and YCPFPG seem to predict success (low GA and high Pts) across European soccer leagues, with EPL showing the maximum effect. The findings of the current study and the methodology can be applied to an actual game analysis by coaches in multiple invasion sports. Normalizing for out of possession time is a crucial step for the time spent in particular phases of play, which has not been done in previous research while analyzing ‘key performance indices’ (KPIs). Normalization can successfully introduce domain-specific knowledge into predictors, which can be used in complex algorithms improving predictions and investigation of underlying mechanisms.

Key words

  • fouls
  • normalization
  • performance analysis
  • soccer
  • English Premier League
  • aggressive behavior
Open Access

Impact of Movement Tempo Distribution on Bar Velocity During a Multi-Set Bench Press Exercise

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 277 - 285

Abstract

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to evaluate the effect of contrast tempo movement on bar velocity changes during a multi-set bench press exercise. In randomized and counter-balanced order, participants performed three sets of the bench press exercise at 60%1RM under two testing conditions: E-E where all repetitions were performed with explosive (X/0/X/0) movement tempo; and S-E where the first two repetitions were performed with a slow tempo (5/0/X/0) while the third repetition was performed with explosive movement tempo (slow, slow, explosive). Twelve healthy men volunteered for the study (age = 30 ± 5 years; body mass = 88 ± 10 kg; bench press 1RM = 145 ± 24 kg). The three-way repeated measures ANOVA (tempo × set × repetition) showed statistically significant multi-interaction effect for peak bar velocity (p < 0.01; η2 = 0.23), yet not for mean bar velocity (p = 0.09; η2 = 0.14). The post hoc results for multi-interaction revealed that peak bar velocity in the 3rd repetition was significantly higher for E-E compared to SE only during set 1 (p < 0.001). Therefore, the distribution of movement tempo had a significant impact on peak bar velocity, but not on mean bar velocity. The decrease in peak bar velocity in the 3rd repetition during the S-E condition was observed only in the first set, while such a tendency was not observed in the second and third set.

Key words

  • duration of movement
  • contrast tempo
  • slow movement
  • time under tension
Open Access

Running Performance and Hormonal, Maturity and Physical Variables in Starting and Non-Starting Elite U14 Soccer Players During a Congested Match Schedule

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 287 - 295

Abstract

Abstract

This study examined changes in match running performance (MRP) in Under-14 soccer players (13.5 ± 0.7 yrs) during a congested match schedule (CMS) (4 matches played within a 5-day period). It also examined the difference in salivary testosterone (sT) concentration, somatic maturation, jumping tests, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) between the players selected to play (SLG; group who participated in all matches) and players non-selected to play (NSG). A significant difference was observed for the frequency of decelerations (DEC) across matches (match 4 vs. matches 1, 2 and 3; p = 0.05; partial ƞ2 = 0.20). No difference between matches was observed for total running distance (TRD), high-speed running distance (HSRD), and frequency of accelerations (ACC) (p > 0.05). A wide range for within-player coefficient of variation (CV) values was observed for all MRP variables (range: 10.5 = TRD to 30.6 = HSRD). No difference between SLG and NSG for any of the assessed variables was observed (p > 0.05). The findings suggest that DEC was the most pertinent variable for monitoring changes in MRP during the CMS. In addition, at an elite youth soccer level, the biological maturity and fitness might not influence selection to play.

Key words

  • soccer match
  • testosterone
  • saliva
  • athletic performance
  • deceleration
Open Access

Vertical Jumping as a Monitoring Tool in Endurance Runners: A Brief Review

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 297 - 308

Abstract

Abstract

Jumping performance (e.g., countermovement jump [CMJ]), as a measure of neuromuscular performance, has been suggested as an easy-to-use tool which simultaneously provides neuromuscular and metabolic information and, thereby, allows coaches to confidently monitor the status of their athletes during a workout. This hypothesis has been satisfactorily tested with sprint athletes. However, the rationale for the use of CMJ height loss as an index to monitor the workload during an endurance running session is not sufficiently evidence-based. First, it is assumed that a CMJ height loss occurs during typical interval training for endurance runners. Second, it is also assumed that a significant relationship between metabolic stress and the neuromuscular strain induced during these endurance workouts exists. These two assumptions will be questioned in this review by critically analyzing the kinetics of CMJ performance during and after running workouts, and the relationship between neuromuscular and physiological stress induced during different protocols in endurance runners. The current evidence shows that fatigue induced by common running workouts for endurance runners does not counterbalance the potentiation effect in the CMJ height. Additionally, the findings reported among different studies are consistent regarding the lack of association between CMJ height loss and physiological stress during interval sessions in endurance runners. In practical terms, the authors suggest that this marker of neuromuscular fatigue may not be used to regulate the external training load during running workouts in endurance runners. Nevertheless, the analysis of CMJ height during running workouts may serve to monitor chronic adaptations to training in endurance runners.

Key words

  • post activation potentiation
  • dose-response
  • individualization
  • fatigue
Open Access

Comparison of Muscle Activity During 200 m Indoor Curve and Straight Sprinting in Elite Female Sprinters

Published Online: 31 Oct 2021
Page range: 309 - 316

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess whether peak surface electromyography (sEMG) amplitude of selected lower limb muscles differed during a) curve and straight sprinting, b) sprinting in inside and outside lanes between lower limbs. Eleven well-trained female sprinters (personal best: 24.1 ± 1.1 s) were included in a randomized within-subject design study, in which participants underwent two experimental conditions: all-out 200 m indoor sprints in the innermost and outermost lane. Peak sEMG amplitude was recorded bilaterally from gastrocnemius medialis, biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, tibialis anterior, and vastus lateralis muscles. Left gastrocnemius medialis peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher than for the right leg muscle during curve (p = 0.011) and straight sprinting (p < 0.001) when sprinting in the inside lane, and also significantly higher when sprinting in the inside vs. outside lane for both curve and straight sprinting (p = 0.037 and p = 0.027, respectively). Moreover, left biceps femoris peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher during straight sprinting in the inside vs. outside lane (p = 0.006). Furthermore, right and left vastus lateralis peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher during curve sprinting in the inside lane (p = 0.001 and p = 0.004, respectively) and for the left leg muscle peak sEMG amplitude was significantly higher during curve compared to straight sprinting in the outside lane (p = 0.024). Results indicate that curve sprinting creates greater demands mainly for the gastrocnemius medialis of the inner than the outer leg, but the degree of these requirements seems to depend on the radius of the curve, thus significant changes were noted during sprinting in the inside lane, but not in the outside lane.

Key words

  • electromyography
  • activity pattern
  • lower limbs
  • biceps femoris
  • gastrocnemius

Erratum

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