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Open access

Alexis Padrón-Cabo, Ezequiel Rey, Benjamín Vidal and Javier García-Nuñez

Abstract

The aims of this study were to evaluate physical performance of substitute players versus those replaced or completing the entire match, determine physical performance of substitute players across different playing positions and examine variations in match-related running performance in substitute players throughout the entire competitive season. The sample was composed of 943 observations of professional players who participated in the first division of the Spanish League (La Liga) during the 2014-2015 season. The players were divided into three different groups: players who completed the entire match (n = 519), players who were replaced (n = 212) and substitute players (n = 212). Substitute players covered greater distances at medium and high intensity compared to the players who played the entire match and those who were replaced. Position-specific trends indicated that attackers and central midfielder increased the distance covered at high-intensity running compared to their peers who played the whole match. During the competitive season, it was observed that substitute players attained greater match running performance during the mid-season period, allowing them to cover more distance for different variables of running performance compared to the start and end of the season.

Open access

Cheryl Sihui Tay and Pui Wah Kong

Abstract

The study aimed to quantify stroke synchronisation in two-seater crew boat sprint kayaking (K2) using a video-based method, and to assess the intra- and inter-rater reliabilities of this method. Twelve sub-elite sprint kayakers (six males and six females) from a national team were paired into six single-gender K2 crews. The crews were recorded at 120 Hz with a sagittal-view video camera during 200-m time trials. Video analysis identified four meaningful positions of a stroke (catch, immersion, extraction and release). The timing difference (termed “offset”) between the front and back paddlers, within each K2, at each stroke position was calculated, with zero offset indicating perfect synchronisation. Results showed almost perfect intra-rater reliability of this method. The intra-class correlation (ICC) ranged from .87 to 1.00, and standard error of measurement ( SEM) from 0 to 5 milliseconds (ms). Inter-rater reliability was substantial to almost perfect (ICC .72 – .94, SEM 2 – 6 ms). On average, 35 strokes were analysed for each crew and the mean offset was 17 ms, or 5.7% of water phase duration. Crews were more synchronised at the catch (11 ms, 3.8%) than the release (21 ms, 7.2%). However, the stroke synchronisation profiles of the six sub-elite crews varied considerably from each other. For example, the best performing male and female crews had directly contrasting profiles. This suggests that there is no universal stroke synchronisation profile for well-trained sprint kayakers. This video-based method may aid future investigations on improving performance.

Open access

Tiago Cetolin, Anderson Santiago Teixeira, Almir Schmitt Netto, Alessandro Haupenthal, Fábio Yuzo Nakamura, Luiz Guilherme Antonacci Guglielmo and Juliano Fernandes da Silva

Abstract

The aims of this study were to compare the internal training load (ITL) in soccer players of two competitive age groups (under-15 [U-15] and under-19 [U-19]) during an 8-week preseason training period and compare the associated changes in physical performance measures. Eighteen U-15 and twelve U-19 players were monitored over an 8-week period during the preseason phase. The ITL was monitored using the session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) method. Before and after the preseason period, physical performance was assessed by best (RSAbest) and mean (RSAmean) times in a repeated sprint ability (RSA) test and peak velocity derived from the Carminatti test (PVT-CAR). Total weekly ITL increased with age (U-15: 13770 ± 874 AU vs. U-19: 33584 ± 2506 AU; p < 0.001). In addition, U-19 players perceived training sessions as heavier than U-15 players (6.1 ± 0.3 vs. 5.3 ± 0.3 AU, respectively; p < 0.001). After the preseason period, very likely to almost certainly positive changes were observed for all performance measures in both age groups. However, the U-15 group had possibly superior gains in RSAbest (+1.40%, 90%CL -0.29 to 3.05, with ES = 0.35) and likely higher effects in RSAmean (+1.89%, 90%CL 0.04 to 3.70, with ES = 0.53) and PVT-CAR (+2.71%, 90%CL 0.35 to 5.01, with ES = 0.37) compared to the U-19 group. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that the U-19 group accumulate higher total weekly ITLs than the U-15 group during the preseason phase due to longer and heavier training sessions. However, the U-15 group obtained superior gains in soccer-specific physical abilities while accumulating half the total ITLs during lighter training sessions.

Open access

Daniel Collado-Mateo, Francisco J. Dominguez-Muñoz, Nuno Batalha, Jose Parraça, Pablo Tomas-Carus and Jose C. Adsuar

Abstract

Swimming motor patterns lead internal rotators to grow stronger than antagonist muscles, what may increase the risk of injury in swimmers. Injury prevention often involves the improvement of external rotators strength, as well as the external rotation/internal rotation ratio. The current research aimed to evaluate the test-retest reliability of shoulder concentric rotation strength in competitive swimmers using an isokinetic dynamometer. The study enrolled 35 competitive swimmers aged between 13 and 19 years. Concentric movements were performed including internal and external rotations of the shoulder joint following the instructions of the standardized protocol. The angular velocity of the test was defined at 60º/s. Outcome measures were peak torque (Nm) and work (J), measured in both, the dominant and non-dominant arms. The external rotation/internal rotation ratio was also calculated. Reliability was excellent for peak torque and work. For the external rotation/internal rotation ratio, the ICC oscillated between 0.744 and 0.860 for the work ratio of the non-dominant arm and the peak torque ratio of the dominant arm, respectively. In general terms, better reliability was observed for peak torque compared with work, for external rotation compared with internal rotation, and for the dominant arm compared with the non-dominant one.

Open access

Michal Wilk, Michal Krzysztofik, Mariola Gepfert, Stanislaw Poprzecki, Artur Gołaś and Adam Maszczyk

Abstract

Blood flow restriction (BFR) combined with resistance training (RT-BFR) shows significant benefits in terms of muscle strength and hypertrophy. Such effects have been observed in clinical populations, in groups of physically active people, and among competitive athletes. These effects are comparable or, in some cases, even more efficient compared to conventional resistance training (CRT). RT-BFR stimulates muscle hypertrophy and improves muscle strength even at low external loads. Since no extensive scientific research has been done in relation to groups of athletes, the aim of the present study was to identify technical, physiological and methodological aspects related to the use of RT-BFR in competitive athletes from various sport disciplines. RT-BFR in groups of athletes has an effect not only on the improvement of muscle strength or muscle hypertrophy, but also on specific motor abilities related to a particular sport discipline. The literature review reveals that most experts do not recommend the use RT-BFR as the only training method, but rather as a complementary method to CRT. It is likely that optimal muscle adaptive changes can be induced by a combination of CRT and RT-BFR. Some research has confirmed benefits of using CRT followed by RT-BFR during a training session. The use of BFR in training also requires adequate progression or modifications in the duration of occlusion in a training session, the ratio of exercises performed with BFR to conventional exercises, the value of pressure or the cuff width.

Open access

Alexandre Moreira, Marcelo Saldanha Aoki, Ademir Felipe Schultz de Arruda, Daniel Gomes da Silva Machado, Hassan Mohamed Elsangedy and Alexandre Hideki Okano

Abstract

Salivary cortisol increases in response to stressors, including physical exertion and psychological stress associated with sports competition. In addition, stress may induce change in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, there are still no data available to compare the salivary BDNF level in sedentary male individuals and elite team-sport male athletes, regularly involved in activities that require elevated attention and concentration. This information could contribute to the advance of understanding of the effect of regular exercise on the salivary level of BDNF, the pre-to-post change in salivary BDNF during exercise, and the association between salivary cortisol and salivary BDNF responses to physical exercise. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the concentration of salivary cortisol and BDNF, before and after exercise, in sedentary individuals and elite male basketball players. The sedentary group (23.0 ± 4.2 yrs) performed a high-intensity exercise protocol and the basketball players (18.6 ± 0.5 yrs) participated in three official basketball matches. Saliva samples were tested for cortisol and BDNF using ELISA. A significant increase in salivary cortisol from pre- to post-match was observed only for the basketball players (p < 0.05). Basketball players also presented a higher salivary BDNF concentration for both resting (pre) and post-physical exercise (p < 0.05); however, no change in pre- to post-exercise salivary BDNF was observed for either group (p > 0.05). Elevated BDNF in athletes may be associated to their repeated exposure to stressful competition situations. The current findings also suggest that different mechanisms might be involved in salivary cortisol and BDNF responses during physical exercise.

Open access

Cristina López de Subijana and Jorge Lorenzo

Abstract

The aims of this study were: i) to analyze whether relative age effect occurs in the athletes of the junior national teams and professional athletes in Spain in general and in soccer and basketball, and ii) to compare the long-term success of the players selected for the junior national team between these sports. The samples for this study were Spanish professional soccer (n = 461) and basketball (n = 250) players in the 2013-2014 premier league and players from the junior Spanish soccer (i.e., n = 273; U-17: n = 107; U-19: n = 166) and basketball (i.e., n = 240; U-18: n = 120, U-16: n = 120) teams that classified to play in the European Championships (from 2004 to 2013). Junior players (42.3%) were more frequently born in the 1st quarter of the year than the professional players (30.7%) (χ2(3) = 30.07; p = .001; Vc = .157). This was found in both basketball (χ2(3) = 12.2.; p = .007; Vc = .158) and soccer (χ2(3) = 20.13; p < .001; Vc = .166). Long-term success is more frequent in soccer, where 59.9% of the juniors selected for the national team played later in the premier league, while in basketball that percentage was 39.6% (χ2(1) = 14.64; p < .001; Vc = .201). On the other hand, 79.4% and 39.8% of the professional soccer and basketball players had been previously selected for junior national teams (χ2(1) = 60.2; p < .001; Vc = .386), respectively. The talent selection process should be reviewed as players born in the second half of the year have fewer opportunities to stand out.

Open access

Takehiro Iwatsuki, Judy L. Van Raalte, Britton W. Brewer, Albert Petitpas and Masanori Takahashi

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine relations among reinvestment, self-regulation, and perception of choking under pressure in skilled tennis players. Participants were 160 collegiate players from the NCAA Division I in the U.S. and the 1st League in Japan. Participants completed questionnaires assessing reinvestment (conscious motor processing and movement self-consciousness), self-regulation, and perception of choking under pressure. Results of correlation analysis indicated self-regulatory factors were positively related to reinvestment conscious motor processing, but not with reinvestment movement self-consciousness. Self-efficacy and movement self-consciousness of reinvestment were found to predict one’s perception of choking under pressure. Results of simultaneous entry multiple regression revealed that tennis players who had low self-efficacy and were concerned about making a good impression with their movements were more likely to perceive that they choked during tennis matches. Additionally, Japanese players reported less self-regulation skills and a higher perception of choking under pressure than American players, suggesting the need for additional research on cross-cultural differences. Overall, these results suggest that self-efficacy may protect athletes from choking, but movement self-consciousness may lead athletes to choke during tennis games.

Open access

Dariusz Jastrzębski, Aleksandra Żebrowska, Sebastian Rutkowski, Anna Rutkowska, Joanna Warzecha, Bettina Ziaja, Aleksandra Pałka, Barbara Czyżewska, Damian Czyżewski and Dariusz Ziora

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of exercises on a stabilometric platform on the physical fitness and mobility of patients with lung cancer after thoracic surgery. The Experimental Group included 22, and the Control Group consisted of 21 patients. All included patients were enrolled after thoracic surgery due to lung cancer. The Experimental and Control Groups were enrolled in a 3-week in-hospital pulmonary rehabilitation program. The Experimental Group additionally performed daily 20-min training sessions on a stabilometric platform. Agility and flexibility were assessed with the Fullerton test before and after rehabilitation in both groups, and quality of life was assessed with the SF-36 questionnaire. Exercise performance stated as a distance in a 6 min walking test (6MWT) significantly improved in both groups with a medium effect size. The results of the Fullerton test indicated improvements in flexibility in both groups after the completion of the program without a significant difference between the groups and with a small effect size. In the Experimental Group, the best results were observed in the Arm curl (p = 0.0001), Chair stand (p = 0.04), Up and go (p = 0.001) and Chair sit and reach (p = 0.0001) tasks. No deterioration in the quality of life was observed in the Experimental or the Control Group after the completion of the program. Between-group analyses revealed significant differences in the Role-Physical (RP) (p = 0.020) and Mental-Health (MH) (p = 0.025) domains of the SF-36. The rehabilitation program with a stabilometric platform improved agility and flexibility of patients after thoracic surgery without an effect size or significant differences between the Experimental and Control Groups.

Open access

Marco Gervasi, Anna Rita Calavalle, Stefano Amatori, Eugenio Grassi, Piero Benelli, Piero Sestili and Davide Sisti

Abstract

To determine the relationship between fatigue and post-activation potentiation, we examined the effects of sub-maximal continuous running on neuromuscular function tests, as well as on the squat jump and counter movement jump in endurance athletes. The height of the squat jump and counter movement jump and the estimate of the fast twitch fiber recruiting capabilities were assessed in seven male middle distance runners before and after 40 min of continuous running at an intensity corresponding to the individual lactate threshold. The same test was then repeated after three weeks of specific aerobic training. Since the three variables were strongly correlated, only the estimate of the fast twitch fiber was considered for the results. The subjects showed a significant improvement in the fast twitch fiber recruitment percentage after the 40 min run. Our data show that submaximal physical exercise determined a change in fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment patterns observed when subjects performed vertical jumps; however, this recruitment capacity was proportional to the subjects’ individual fast twitch muscle fiber profiles measured before the 40 min run. The results of the jump tests did not change significantly after the three-week training period. These results suggest that pre-fatigue methods, through sub-maximal exercises, could be used to take advantage of explosive capacity in middle-distance runners.