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The Evaluation of Cohesion in the Sports Groups within a Romanian City

Abstract

We propose to conduct an analysis, by studying the influences exercised by certain variables (the biological gender, the ranking and the sociomotor space) on the level of cohesion among the sports teams in the municipality of Iaşi, Romania, evolving in the first leagues. A questionnaire was conducted on a number of 158 athletes (55 females, 103 males) who practice basketball, soccer, handball, rugby, volleyball. The responders answered the questionnaire regarding the group environment (GEQ). Factor analysis groups the items on two factors at the level of the Romanian subjects. The homogeneity of the instrument was evaluated for the entire scale, as well as independently for each of the two factors. The gender variable does not influence the level of social cohesion and the one of task cohesion among the sports teams taken into account. The ranking does not influence task cohesion among the teams studied. Both the ranking and the level of sociomotor space, as independent variables, determine significant differences regarding the level of social cohesion among the teams studied. The sociomotor space variable determines at the level of the teams sportive studied significant differences also regarding task cohesion.

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Motivation for Participation in Sports Based on Athletes in Team and Individual Sports

Abstract

There are many reasons why individuals are motivated to participate in sports. For athletes to participate in and keep up exercise, investigating the participation motivation of athletes is necessary. The aim of this study was to compare sport participation motivation of athletes in team and individual disciplines. The sample consisted of 265 athletes including four teams from football, volleyball, basketball, and handball and two individual disciplines of kung fu and taekwondo which were randomly selected. The 30-item sports participation motivation questionnaire (PMQ) was used. Analysis of data was conducted by the use of independent-samples t-test. The results showed that there is a significant difference between the sports participation motivation of athletes in a team and individual sports as well as between male and female athletes. But, among the components of the sports participation motivation, only the aspect of achievement in a team and individual sports and the aspect of finding friendship in male and female athletes existed, no other significant difference was observed. The results of this study show that sports discipline and the athlete’s gender is effective in motivating athletes’ continuation and commitment to a physical activity.

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Motivation Psychological Characteristics of Canoe-Kayak Sprint Elite Youth Athletes

Abstract

The objective of the current study was the investigation of anxiety and satisfaction levels among Elite Greek Youth athletes of Canoe-Kayak Sprint. Additionally, whether elements such as gender, age, athletic experience, and weekly practice-time, differentiated the sample. 122 athletes, (61 males and 61 females) between the ages of 15-17 yrs. old, who competed in the Hellenic Federation’s Canoe-Kayak Sprint National Championships. Study participants were invited to complete two questionnaires: a) the Greek version of “CSAI-2” (Stavrou, Zervas, Kakkos, & Psichoundaki, 1998), and b) the Greek version of the “Athlete Satisfaction” scale (Bebetsos & Theodorakis, 2003). Results of the conducted study revealed that the sample differentiated: a) on somatic, and cognitive anxiety, according to their athletic experience, and b) on somatic, and cognitive anxiety, self-confidence, leadership, and personal outcome, according to their weekly practice-time. Finally, no sex differences were found in any questionnaire variable. In conclusion, the survey results highlighted the importance of the psychological factors tested on Canoe-Kayak Sprint athletes’ performance. Knowing and understanding athletes’ psychological state, can help them out (the athletes) in identifying aspects such as stress and satisfaction that directly affect their racing performance.

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The Acute Effects of High‐Intensity Cycling Exercise on Arterial Stiffness in Adolescent Wrestlers

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the acute effects of high‐intensity cycling exercise on the variables of carotid artery compliance, distensibility and beta stiffness index in elite adolescent wrestlers. The subjects were elite athletes competing in national, European and World Championships, who attended a training camp in the province of Kahramanmaras organized by the Turkish Centre for Olympic Preparation. The study sample comprised 31 male elite wrestlers with a mean age of 15.90 ± 0.87 years, body height of 165.97 ± 9.7 cm and body mass of 66.3 ± 18.45 kg. The arterial stiffness variables of the wrestlers were measured with high‐resolution Doppler ultrasonography before and 5 min after 30 s of high‐intensity cycling exercise (the Wingate Anaerobic Cycling test). The results showed a statistically significant correlation between mean power performance and carotid artery compliance at the 5th min after a single cycling sprint exercise (p < 0.05). No correlation was determined between peak power and the arterial stiffness variables (p > 0.05). The study results indicate that acute changes in arterial stiffness variables are associated with the performance level of high‐intensity cycling exercise in a group of elite adolescent wrestlers.

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Analysis of Successful Offensive Play Patterns by the Spanish Soccer Team

Abstract

Victory is the ultimate aim in soccer and therefore when a team wins an elite European or world championship, attempts will invariably be made to emulate the winning team’s style of play. In this study, we performed an in‐depth analysis of play by the Spanish soccer team during the 2012 UEFA European Championship, where it was crowned champion. Using observational methodology and T‐pattern analysis, we identified hidden patterns of play that ended in a goal for the Spanish team. A generalizability coefficient (e2) of 0.986 demonstrated that the offensive patterns detected are robust and highly generalizable. These patterns were formed by technical actions consisting of ball control and pass, with alternations between short and long passes, in the central area of the rival pitch, with use of both wings to achieve width of play and prioritization of width over depth of play. We also found patterns showing that goals and shots at goal were made on a ball delivered from the opposite direction to the shot and were not preceded by a technical action.

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Application of Virtual Reality in Competitive Athletes – A Review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the state of the art in the area of virtual reality in competitive athletes of different levels of expertise in various disciplines and point the areas of its application. Articles published before August 2018 were considered in our review. The PubMed, SCOPUS, SportDiscus and Medline databases were searched. A combination of the following search terms was used: virtual reality, virtual environment, virtual system, athletes, sports, physical training, sport performance, physical exercises. Studies involved healthy competitive athletes. A total of 18 articles met the inclusion criteria. There were three areas of application of virtual reality to sport: performance analysis, simulation improvement and virtual training. Competitive athletes were mostly examined in a semi‐immersive setting. In conclusion, virtual reality seems to play a marginal role in competitive athletes’ training. Due to the fact that virtual reality interventions bring significant improvements in clinical research, well‐designed randomized control trials with detailed virtual training programmes are required in the future. Practically, virtual reality is effectively and commonly used to analyse performance in competitive athletes. There is still a need of creating fully interactive VR, where athletes will be able to cooperate with a virtual partner and influence the environment.

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Can Anthropometric Variables and Maturation Predict the Playing Position in Youth Basketball Players?

Abstract

Anthropometric diagnoses predict the most appropriate on‐court position for a certain player and are important in the long‐term planning of basketball training programs. This study provides anthropometric characteristics and body composition profiles of Polish youth national team players (U‐14, U‐15, U‐16 and U‐18). The aim of this research was to determine the somatic characteristics of basketball players regarding particular on‐court positions. The sample population consisted of 109 elite basketball players, who played in national teams in four age categories: U‐14, U‐16, U‐18 U‐20. An analysis of the obtained results revealed differences between the younger (U‐14, U‐15 and U‐16) and older groups (U‐18 and U‐20) in terms of length, width and circumference measurements and body mass (3.6–9.3%), as well as subcutaneous fat measured by the skinfold thickness method (14.3–33.7%). ANCOVA with maturity offset as the covariate variable showed differences in body height (p < 0.05, R2 = 0.74) and the arm span (p < 0.05, R2 = 0.87) between each playing position; the somatic measurements were greater for centers than for forwards and guards, and the measurements were greater for forwards than for guards. The somatic feature measurements also increased linearly with age. We can conclude that the arm span and body height are two major somatic factors that can predict center and guard playing positions for national team basketball players in all age categories from U‐14 to U‐20.

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Cardiovascular and Perceived Effort in Different Head‐Out Water Exercises: Effect of Limbs’ Action and Resistance Equipment

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the cardiovascular and perceived effort of head‐out water exercises selecting different limb strategies and using resistance equipment. Ten young women were randomly assigned to perform at 132 bpm during five minutes different head‐out aquatic exercises: (i) horizontal arms abduction (Ab); (ii) horizontal arms abduction with dumbbells (AbD); (iii) frontal kick (Fk); (iv) frontal kick with leggings (FkLeg), and; (v) aquatic skiing (Ski). Cardiovascular effort was measured by monitoring the heart rate, blood pressure and double product. Perceived effort was assessed by the Borg’s scale. Within‐routines comparison was computed using repeated‐ measures ANOVA followed‐up by the Bonferroni post‐hoc test. Considering the percentage of the maximal heart rate, participants reached 72.88 ± 12.90% in the FkLeg, 65.99 ± 10.91% in the Fk, 62.62 ± 7.20% in Ski, 57.27 ± 11.58% in AbD and 57.12 ± 12.09% in Ab. Comparing exercises, higher heart rates were observed in the FkLeg (140.40 bpm) than Ab (110.30 bpm) or AbD (110.00 bpm). Significant differences were found in the systolic blood pressure when compared to the Fk (120.60 mmHg) and Ab (104.50 mmHg). Double product was higher in the FkLeg (16990) showing a meaningful difference when compared to Ab (11608) or AbD (12001). The highest perceived effort was found in the FkLeg (15.80) with meaningful variations compared to Ab (11.70), the Fk (13.70) and Ski (10.40). Thus, different head‐ out water exercises result in different intensities. The actions by lower limbs promote a higher cardiovascular response, whereas the upper limbs actions trigger a lower exertion. Moreover, exercising the four limbs concurrently seems to be less intense than using only two limbs with an aid.

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Combined Small‐Sided Game and High‐Intensity Interval Training in Soccer Players: The Effect of Exercise Order

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to compare combined small‐sided game (SSG) and high‐intensity interval training (HIT) with different order. Twenty‐one semi‐professional soccer players were divided into two groups: SSG+HIT (n = 10) and HIT+SSG (n = 11), and underwent similar four‐week training programs. Players completed the 30‐15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30‐15IFT) before and after the experiment; maximum speed (VIFT) was recorded. During the experiment, seven sessions of SSG (3 vs 3) and HIT (15ʺ‐15ʺ with 95‐100% VIFT) were implemented. Weekly accumulated training loads for both groups during the experiment were similar. Moderate improvements in VIFT were observed in both SSG+HIT (+6.2%, 90% confidence limits, [CL] 4.6; 7.7 and Effect Size, [ES] +0.96) and HIT+SSG (+6.9%, 90% CL 4.6; 9.3 and ES +0.97) groups. Between‐group difference in changes of VIFT was trivial (+0.7%, 90% CL ‐1.8; 3.3 and ES +0.11). Combining SSG and HIT in different order elicited the same enhancement in high‐intensity intermittent performance in soccer players.

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Differences in Mechanical Midsole Characteristics of Running Shoes Do Not Influence Physiological Variables in Aerobic and Anaerobic Running

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of footwear stiffness and energy loss on oxygen uptake and heart rate in athletes running under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Four footwear conditions with identical outsoles, insoles, upper materials, but different mechanical properties regarding polyurethane midsole materials were investigated. Respective midsole material characteristics were selected to represent a wide range of running shoes. The test procedure for eighteen well‐trained male runners was divided into three treadmill testing sessions: an incremental ramp protocol to estimate the individual ventilatory threshold (day 1), a test with 6‐minute stages in each shoe at 70% (aerobic, day 2) and 102% (anaerobic, day 3) of the participant’s ventilatory threshold. For oxygen uptake and the heart rate, no significant differences between footwear conditions were found for either running condition. Furthermore, no significant relationships between physiological variables and mechanical midsole characteristics were found. The wide range of significant stiffness differences in the rearfoot (52.7 N/mm) and forefoot areas (50.7 N/mm), as well as significant differences of the shoe midsole material energy loss in the rearfoot (18.8%) and forefoot areas (10.7%) were too low to influence physiological variables significantly when running below and slightly above the ventilatory threshold. It seems that shoe mass and shoe comfort can influence physiological variables more than the mechanical midsole characteristics of stiffness and energy loss. These results may have practical implications for shoe manufacturers, coaches, and athletes, alike.

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