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Open access

Kobe C. Houtmeyers, Arne Jaspers, and Pedro Figueiredo

Elite sport practitioners increasingly use data to support training process decisions related to athletes’ health and performance. A careful application of data analytics is essential to gain valuable insights and recommendations that can guide decision making. In business organizations, data analytics are developed based on conceptual data analytics frameworks. The translation of such a framework to elite sport may benefit the use of data to support training process decisions. Purpose: The authors aim to present and discuss a conceptual data analytics framework, based on a taxonomy used in business analytics literature to help develop data analytics within elite sport organizations. Conclusions: The presented framework consists of 4 analytical steps structured by value and difficulty/complexity. While descriptive (step 1) and diagnostic analytics (step 2) focus on understanding the past training process, predictive (step 3) and prescriptive analytics (step 4) provide more guidance in planning the future. Although descriptive, diagnostic, and predictive analytics generate insights to inform decisions, prescriptive analytics can be used to drive decisions. However, the application of this type of advanced analytics is still challenging in elite sport. Thus, the current use of data in elite sport is more focused on informing decisions rather than driving them. The presented conceptual framework may help practitioners develop their analytical reasoning by providing new insights and guidance and may stimulate future collaborations between practitioners, researchers, and analytics experts.

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Darren J. Devaney, Mark Stephen Nesti, Noora J. Ronkainen, Martin A. Littlewood, and David Richardson

This study aims to highlight how an existential-humanistic perspective can inform athlete support and in doing so, emphasize the importance of explicating the philosophical underpinnings of athlete lifestyle support. Drawing on applied experience with elite youth cricketers over a 12-month period, ethnographic data were collected through the observation, maintenance of case notes, and a practitioner reflective diary. Based on thematic analysis, we created three nonfictional vignettes that we use to illustrate how existential-humanistic theorizing can inform lifestyle support. We discuss the implications of this professional philosophy in terms of considerations for performance and talent development programs, and how holistic support for athletes is positioned. We also discuss implications for athlete lifestyle and performance psychology practitioners, with regard to training, underpinning theoretical grounding of support and the strategic positioning of their practitioner roles.

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Elly van Hyfte, Sien Vercruysse, Griet Warlop, and Matthieu Lenoir

Purpose: To investigate the effect of an obstacle course based physical education program, designed according to contemporary insights on motor learning, on motor competence (MC) of 6- to 7-year-old Flemish children. Method: Pupils from 16 primary schools were randomly allocated to either control (n = 173, 50.3% boys) or intervention group (n = 182, 54.9% boys). MC, assessed with the Körperkoordinationtest für Kinder (KTK), was analyzed with a 2 (Gender, girls vs. boys) × 2 (Group: INT vs. CON) × 3 (Time: pre vs. inter vs. post) Repeated Measures ANOVA. Results: The MC in the intervention group improved more compared with the control group (Time × Group interaction, p < .001). Moreover, a shift to a more favorable MC classification is seen for all children in intervention group. Conclusion: The results underline the potential value of an obstacle course based PE program based and provide a gateway for optimization of the current PE programs.

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Rafaela Nehme, Flávia M.S. de Branco, Públio F. Vieira, Ana Vitória C. Guimarães, Gederson K. Gomes, Gabriela P. Teixeira, Pedro H. Rodrigues, Leonardo M. de Castro Junior, Guilherme M. Puga, Bryan Saunders, and Erick P. de Oliveira

Carbohydrate (CHO) mouth rinsing seems to improve performance in exercises lasting 30–60 min. However, its effects on intermittent exercise are unclear. It is also unknown whether serial CHO mouth rinses can promote additional ergogenic effects when compared with a single mouth rinse. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of single and serial CHO mouth rinses on Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) performance in soccer players. In a randomized, crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, 12 male (18.9 ± 0.5 years) soccer players performed eight serial mouth rinses under three different conditions: placebo solution only (noncaloric juice), seven placebo mouth rinses plus a single CHO mouth rinse (8% maltodextrin), or eight CHO mouth rinses (8-CHO). Following the final mouth rinse, individuals performed the Yo-Yo IR1 test to evaluate the maximal aerobic endurance performance measured via total distance covered. There were no differences in Yo-Yo IR1 performance between sessions (p = .32; single CHO mouth rinse (8% maltodextrin): 1,198 ± 289 m, eight CHO mouth rinses: 1,256 ± 253 m, placebo: 1,086 ± 284 m). In conclusion, single and serial CHO mouth rinsing did not improve performance during the Yo-Yo IR1 for soccer players. These data suggest that CHO mouth rinsing is not an effective ergogenic strategy for intermittent exercise performance irrespective of the number of rinses.

Open access

Philip Friere Skiba and David C. Clarke

Since its publication in 2012, the W′ balance model has become an important tool in the scientific armamentarium for understanding and predicting human physiology and performance during high-intensity intermittent exercise. Indeed, publications featuring the model are accumulating, and it has been adapted for popular use both in desktop computer software and on wrist-worn devices. Despite the model’s intuitive appeal, it has achieved mixed results thus far, in part due to a lack of clarity in its basis and calculation. Purpose: This review examines the theoretical basis, assumptions, calculation methods, and the strengths and limitations of the integral and differential forms of the W′ balance model. In particular, the authors emphasize that the formulations are based on distinct assumptions about the depletion and reconstitution of W′ during intermittent exercise; understanding the distinctions between the 2 forms will enable practitioners to correctly implement the models and interpret their results. The authors then discuss foundational issues affecting the validity and utility of the model, followed by evaluating potential modifications and suggesting avenues for further research. Conclusions: The W′ balance model has served as a valuable conceptual and computational tool. Improved versions may better predict performance and further advance the physiology of high-intensity intermittent exercise.

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Paulius Kamarauskas, Inga Lukonaitienė, Aaron T. Scanlan, Davide Ferioli, Henrikas Paulauskas, and Daniele Conte

Purpose: To assess weekly fluctuations in hormonal responses and their relationships with load and well-being during a congested in-season phase in basketball players. Methods: Ten semiprofessional, male basketball players were monitored during 4 congested in-season phase weeks consisting of 3 weekly matches. Salivary hormone variables (testosterone [T], cortisol [C], and T:C ratio) were measured weekly, and external load (PlayerLoad™ and PlayerLoad per minute), internal load session rating of perceived exertion, percentage of maximum heart rate (HR), summated HR zones, and well-being were assessed for each training session and match. Results: Significant (P < .05) moderate to large decreases in T were found in the third and fourth weeks compared with the first week. Nonsignificant moderate to large decreases in C were apparent in the last 2 weeks compared with previous weeks. Summated HR zones and perceived sleep significantly (P < .05) decreased in the fourth week compared with the first week; whereas, percentage of maximum HR significantly (P < .05) decreased in the fourth week compared with the second week. No significant relationships were found between weekly changes in hormonal responses and weekly changes in load and overall wellness. Conclusions: A congested schedule during the in-season negatively impacted the hormonal responses of players, suggesting that T and C measurements may be useful to detect fluctuations in hormone balance in such scenarios. The nonsignificant relationships between weekly changes in hormonal responses and changes in load and well-being indicate that other factors might induce hormonal changes across congested periods in basketball players.

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Vincenzo Rago, Adrian Muschinsky, Kasper Deylami, Magni Mohr, and Jeppe F. Vigh-Larsen

Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare training load (TL) between practice and games across in-season microcycles in elite Danish male ice hockey. Methods: Practice sessions and game data were collected using a wearable 200-Hz accelerometer, heart rate (HR) recording, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) throughout 23 practice sessions and 8 competitive games (n = 427 files) and examined in relation to the number of days before the game (game day minus). Results: Total accelerations, accelerations >2 m·s−1 (Acc2), total decelerations, decelerations less than −2 m·s−1 (Dec2), time >85% maximum heart rate (t85HRmax), Edwards TL, modified training impulse (TRIMPMOD), session-RPE, peak HR (HRpeak), and RPE were greater during competition than during practice (r = .19–.91; P < .05), whereas total accelerations per minute and total decelerations per minute were lower (r = .27–.36; P < .001). Acc2, t85HRmax, Edwards TL and TRIMPMOD, % t85HRmax, mean HR (HRmean), and RPE progressively decreased toward game day (r = .13–.63; P < .001). Positive correlations were found between Acc2, Dec2, Acc2 per minute, and Dec2 per minute during practice and during competition (r = .66–.84; P < .001). Conclusions: Evident within-week decreases in internal TL but not external TL were observed as the game day approached. Day-to-day variations were more pronounced in HR- and RPE-based parameters than accelerations and decelerations. Finally, the amount of intense accelerations and decelerations performed during practice was associated to the amount performed during competition, whereas physiological and perceptual demands showed no such relationship.

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Arilene M.S. Santos, Alberto J. Maldonado, Antônio V.M. de Sousa Junior, Susi O.S. Brito, Rayane C. de Moura, Caique Figueiredo, Paula A. Monteiro, Lucas M. Neves, Ismael F. Freitas Junior, Marcos A.P. dos Santos, Sergio L.G. Ribeiro, and Fabrício E. Rossi

Purpose: To analyze peripheral brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels and psychophysiological parameters in youth badminton athletes during the season and to determine the relationship between variables. Methods: Fourteen young badminton athletes were assessed over the season (preseason, middle season, and final season). Serum BDNF (sBDNF) was determined during the preseason and final season. Sleep time, total physical activity, and time in vigorous activity were measured using an accelerometer. The fat-free mass, skeletal muscle mass, fat mass, handgrip strength, cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max), and dietary intake were evaluated during the season. The Stroop Color and Word Test was employed to assess cognitive tasks. To evaluate the mood, the Brunel Mood Scale was used. Results: There  were lower sBDNF levels (−16.3% [46.8%]; P = .007) and sleep time (final season = 5.7 [1.1] vs preseason = 6.6 [1.1] h·night−1, P = .043) during the end of the season. The total calories and carbohydrate intake decreased across the season (P < .05). Conversely, better cognitive function was found in the final season with respect to the preseason (P < .05). There were significant correlations between BDNF and VO2max only in the preseason (r = .61, P = .027), but no significant relationship was found among sBDNF and cognitive performance, sleep time, and percentage of won games. Conclusions: Youth badminton athletes decreased their sBDNF levels, sleep time, carbohydrate, and calorie intake across the season. The athletes improved in cognitive function; however, only the females improved in body composition, and the males improved their VO2max in the middle season. The sBDNF levels were positively correlated with the VO2max in the preseason, and no correlations were observed among the sBDNF and psychological parameters, sleep time, and sport performance during the season.

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Zachary A. Soulliard, Hannah F. Fitterman-Harris, Joanne E. Perry, Lindsey M. Poe, and Michael J. Ross

The present study examined differences in body appreciation and functionality appreciation between student-athletes and nonathletes. Additionally, the present study assessed differences in these constructs among female and male athletes outside of their sport and directly following participation in their sport. Seventy-five student-athletes and 211 nonathletes from a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I university completed online measures, including the State-Based Body Appreciation Scale and Functionality Appreciation Scale. Student-athletes completed the same measures following a sport practice. Student-athletes reported higher levels of body appreciation and functionality appreciation compared to nonathletes. No differences in body appreciation were found among student-athletes outside of their sport compared to directly following participation in their sport; however, student-athletes reported higher levels of functionality appreciation after their sport practice. Implications for coaches and athletic staff are discussed, including placing a greater emphasis on body functionality rather than specific body ideals.