Does Physical Conditioning Influence Performance Attenuation and Recovery in Gaelic Football?

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: This study investigated the influence of components of fitness on measures of performance attenuation and recovery following Gaelic football match play. Methods: Measurements of players’ anthropometric characteristics, body composition, running speed, lower-body strength and power, blood lactate concentrations, running economy, and maximal aerobic capacity (V˙O2max) were taken over 2 separate days 1 week prior to a competitive match. Creatine kinase, countermovement jump height, drop jump height, contact time, reactive strength index, and perceptual responses were tested prematch, at full time, 24 hours postmatch, and 48 hours postmatch. Results: Multiple components of fitness were associated with reduced performance attenuation and improved recovery responses (adjusted R2 = 9.8%–27.6%; P < .05). Players were divided into higher-standard and lower-standard V˙O2max (higher standard: 57.4 [4.2] mL·kg−1·min−1; lower standard: 45.3 [3.8] mL·kg−1·min−1) and relative squat (higher standard: 1.46 [0.11] 1-repetition-maximum kg·body mass−1; lower standard: 1.20 [0.08] 1-repetition-maximum kg·body mass−1) groups. After adjusting for prematch baseline differences, there were significant differences between V˙O2max groups in drop jump height at 24 hours postmatch (ηp2=.078.154; P < .05) and countermovement jump height at 48 hours postmatch (ηp2=.134; P < .05), where the lower-standard group displayed larger decrements. In addition, there were significant differences between relative squat groups at all postmatch time points in contact time (ηp2=.156.194; P < .05) and reactive strength index (ηp2=.127.223; P < .05) and in perceptual responses at 24 hours postmatch (ηp2=.152; P < .05), where the lower-standard group expressed larger decrements. Conclusion: Coaches should prioritize the development of aerobic capacity and neuromuscular function as an effective method of reducing performance attenuation and enhancing recovery kinetics in Gaelic football.

The authors are with the Dept of Health and Sport Science and the SHE Research Group, Technological University of the Shannon, Co. Westmeath, Ireland.

Daly (l.daly@research.ait.ie) is corresponding author.
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