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Training Loads, Wellness And Performance Before and During Tapering for a Water-Polo Tournament

Abstract

We investigated the effectiveness of a short-duration training period including an overloaded (weeks 1 and 2) and a reduced training load period (weeks 3 and 4) on wellness, swimming performance and a perceived internal training load in eight high-level water-polo players preparing for play-offs. The internal training load was estimated daily using the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and session duration (session-RPE). Perceived ratings of wellness (fatigue, muscle soreness, sleep quality, stress level and mood) were assessed daily. Swimming performance was evaluated through 400-m and 20-m tests performed before (baseline) and after the end of weeks 2 and 4. In weeks 3 and 4, the internal training load was reduced by 19.0 ± 3.8 and 36.0 ± 4.7%, respectively, compared to week 1 (p = 0.00). Wellness was improved in week 4 (20.4 ± 2.8 AU) compared to week 1 and week 2 by 16.0 ± 2.2 and 17.3 ± 2.9 AU, respectively (p =0.001). At the end of week 4, swimming performance at 400-m and 20-m tests (299.0 ± 10.2 and 10.2 ± 0.3 s) was improved compared to baseline values (301.4 ± 10.9 and 10.4 ± 0.4 s, p < 0.05) and the overloading training period (week 2; 302.9 ± 9.0 and 10.4 ± 0.4 s, p < 0.05). High correlations were observed between the percentage reduction of the internal training load from week 4 to week 1 (-25.3 ± 5.5%) and the respective changes in 20-m time (-2.1 ± 2.2%, r = 0.88, p < 0.01), fatigue perception (39.6 ± 27.1%), muscle soreness (32.5 ± 26.6%), stress levels (25.6 ± 15.1%) and the overall wellness scores (28.6 ± 21.9%, r = 0.74-0.79, p < 0.05). The reduction of the internal training load improved the overall perceived wellness and swimming performance of players. The aforementioned periodization approach may be an effective training strategy in the lead-up to play-off tournaments.

Open access
Unilateral Knee and Ankle Joint Fatigue Induce Similar Impairment to Bipedal Balance in Judo Athletes

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of unilateral ankle fatigue versus the knee muscles with and without vision on bipedal postural control. Elite judo athletes who competed at the national level with at least 10 years of training experience, were randomised into KNEE (n = 10; 20 ± 2 years) and ANKLE (n = 9; 20 ± 3 years) groups, who performed dynamic isokinetic fatiguing contractions (force decreased to 50% of initial peak torque for three consecutive movements) of the knee flexors and extensors or ankle dorsiflexors and plantar flexors, respectively. Static bipedal postural control (French Posturology Association normative standards) with eyes open and eyes closed was examined before and immediately after the fatiguing task. Postural variables examined were the centre of pressure (CoP) sway in the medio-lateral and antero-posterior directions, total CoP area sway and CoP sway velocity. Although unilateral ankle and knee fatigue adversely affected all bipedal postural measures, with greater disturbances with eyes closed, there were no significant main group or interaction effects between KNEE and ANKLE groups. Unilateral lower limb fatigue adversely affected bipedal balance, with knee extension/flexion fatigue affecting bipedal postural control to a similar extent as unilateral ankle dorsiflexion/plantar flexion fatigue. Hence unilateral fatigue can affect subsequent bilateral performance or also have implications for rehabilitation exercise techniques. Our findings may be limited to judo athletes as other populations were not tested.

Open access
The Black Dog of Swimming: Mental Illness and Australia’s Sporting Industrial Complex

Abstract

This article considers the cultural and social crisis facing the sporting celebrity, with specific reference to the Australian athlete in the field of swimming. In that sense, this paper argues that parallels in other political systems for ruthless, sustained success, and the loss occasioned by it to individual sports figures, should be considered. Liberal democracies can still be perpetrating systems of sporting depression and mental illness, undermining their representatives in a relentless drive for performance and medals. The problem lies in what might be best described as a sporting industrial complex, one that emerged in Australia with the professionalization of sports.

Open access
Bridging the Gap Between Health Psychology and Philosophy: An Existential Approach to Promoting Physical Activity

Abstract

Participation rates in a number of health-related behaviors, such as physical activity, have shown recent declines. To promote participation, psychological health behavior change theories have been developed to understand and help identify relevant psychological processes. Such processes can then be targeted within interventions utilizing specific behavior change techniques (BCTs). Although the use of these theories and BCTs is useful in facilitating change, such work could be enhanced through the inclusion and consideration of philosophical positions. Existentialism suggests that the absurdity and meaningless of human life allows the individual to create their own meaning within a behavior. This philosophical position thus places meaning and individual purpose at the center of human behavior. The purpose of this article is to connect the theoretical insights and BCTs outlined within health psychological behavior change theories with the philosophical position of existentialism. The integration of this philosophical position, and potentially many others, with psychological ideas may provide useful insights into the promotion of health-related behaviors.

Open access
CrossFit across Three Platforms: Using Social Media to Navigate Niche Sport Challenges

Abstract

Niche sports have limited opportunities to promote their sport offerings via traditional communication channels and may rely upon alternatives such as social media to accomplish their marketing goals (Puchan, 2004). Williams and Chinn (2010) developed a relationship marketing conceptual framework to examine social media usage and marketing within a sports context. This study used the framework with the burgeoning sport of CrossFit and examined three primary organizational relationship-marketing activities: (a) Information, (b) Interaction, and (c) Promotion. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of social media by key members of the CrossFit community. The study addressed the following research questions: RQ1. What are the usage categories similarities and differences observed across the social media platforms? RQ2. What are the group usage similarities and differences observed across the social media platforms? and RQ3. What are the group usage similarities and differences observed across the usage categories? A content analysis of 5,565 Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube messages was used to explore these activities. The CrossFit social media users—CrossFit Games, regions, boxes, athletes, and sponsors—used the platforms primarily to provide information about the sport and interact with the community, while promotion was employed less frequently. CrossFit and other niche sports can use social media to provide information and build community within their sports, before attempting to create online communities and promote their products.

Open access
Differences in the Perceived Attractiveness of Non-contact and Combative Athletes' Facial Pictures

Abstract

Female mating strategies and partner preferences are influenced by many factors. Depending on the life context, the preference for either a long-term or a short-term relationship, the willingness to have off-spring, or the current fertility conditions can be key factors. Differences can largely be traced to the perception of physical masculinity and the ability to provide and raise offspring. This study seeks to obtain data that will help to describe changes in the female perception of the attractiveness of facial photographs of male elite golfers (non-contact sport) and MMA fighters (combative sport) in connection with the following factors: age, sexual activity/passivity, use of hormonal contraceptives, duration of actual relation-ship, and number of children. Data for this study were collected using an anonymous questionnaire that included photos of the athletes in a random order and a 1-10 rating scale (10 indicating the most attractive). The research sample consisted of 1,035 female participants. The statistical significance was analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests, Eta2, and Cohen's d for the average ratings of the contact and non-contact athletes. The female participants slightly preferred the golfers’ pictures. This preference grew significantly with age and number of children. A possible explanation for these results may be the participants’ decreasing fertility or the willingness to have another child in the Czech socio-culture. In such cases, the strong masculine features typical of combative athletes could be less important. In contrast to some earlier findings, contraceptive use did not affect the perception of male attractiveness compared to the entire sample's average ratings, furthermore, neither did sexual activity/passivity.

Open access
Mapping Sport for Development and Peace as Bourdieu’s Field

Abstract

Over the past two decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of sport and other forms of physical activity to reach development goals and to support peace-building and peace-keeping processes. The sport for development and peace (SDP) sector is continuously growing in terms of the types of stakeholders involved and the number of projects implemented.

This paper examines the SDP sector using Bourdieu’s field theory and his concept of habitus and capital. For this, a qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with 10 people involved in SDP was used. Their perception of the stakeholders in the field and the connections between them are analyzed through the lens of field theory. The analysis particularly focuses on the perceived role of the former United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), which was closed during the data analysis.

Open access
A Narrative Review of Children’s Movement Competence Research 1997-2017

Abstract

This paper reviews empirical research exploring primary/elementary school aged children movement competence assessment over the twenty year period, 1997-2017. The review occurs within the context of a recent global report into children’s physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and movement competence revealing many children reach adolescence with poor movement competence attainment. A qualitative, narrative review of this extant literature on children’s movement competence research was undertaken. Themes were interpretatively drawn from an examination of the summaries. The number of different test types and protocols used in this field of research complicates the comparison of findings and outcomes of the research. The most common reported upon factor in movement competence was gender. Evidence of an association between movement competence, physical activity intensity and habitual physical activity was found. The sameness of the findings over the past twenty years leads us to suggest that new and novel research methods would enhance understanding in this area, particularly with regards to programs that are successful in moving more children towards movement competence benchmarks.

Open access
Olympic Games Rio 2016: The Legacy for Coaches

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to identify the legacy of the Olympic Games for sports coaches with a special focus on professional education. Thus, in framing this study, two research questions are posed: 1) How did Olympic Games affect the characteristics of the educational activities for coaches? 2) What was the perception about the coaches' education in Brazil, and the legacy of the event for coach's education and career? The methodology used was the content analysis of the websites of National Sports Confederations, Institutions of Higher Education in the State of Rio de Janeiro, and the National and Regional Professional Councils in Brazil, totaling 70 institutions. Concomitantly, interviews were conducted with members of the Ministry of Sport, the Brazilian Olympic Academy, and the Federal Council of Physical Education. The interview questions were grounded on the theoretical framework of Sports Policy Factors Leading To International Sporting Success - SPLISS, which included: 1) the existence of well-trained and experience elite coaches in the country; 2) opportunities to develop their coaching career to become a world-class elite coach; 3) the status of coaches and the recognition of their work as valuable throughout the country. The results indicated that the event brought few benefits to coaches. In addition, according to the interviews, coaches play a secondary role in the organization of the Olympic Games, although they are considered fundamental for the development of the sport. Based on the results, this study discusses the education of coaches and the perceived importance of coaches according to the sports and educational institutions.

Open access