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Brendan R. Scott, Olivier Girard, Nicholas Rolnick, James R. McKee, and Paul S.R. Goods

Background: Exercise with blood-flow restriction (BFR) is being increasingly used by practitioners working with athletic and clinical populations alike. Most early research combined BFR with low-load resistance training and consistently reported increased muscle size and strength without requiring the heavier loads that are traditionally used for unrestricted resistance training. However, this field has evolved with several different active and passive BFR methods emerging in recent research. Purpose: This commentary aims to synthesize the evolving BFR methods for cohorts ranging from healthy athletes to clinical or load-compromised populations. In addition, real-world considerations for practitioners are highlighted, along with areas requiring further research. Conclusions: The BFR literature now incorporates several active and passive methods, reflecting a growing implementation of BFR in sport and allied health fields. In addition to low-load resistance training, BFR is being combined with high-load resistance exercise, aerobic and anaerobic energy systems training of varying intensities, and sport-specific activities. BFR is also being applied passively in the absence of physical activity during periods of muscle disuse or rehabilitation or prior to exercise as a preconditioning or performance-enhancement technique. These various methods have been reported to improve muscular development; cardiorespiratory fitness; functional capacities; tendon, bone, and vascular adaptations; and physical and sport-specific performance and to reduce pain sensations. However, in emerging BFR fields, many unanswered questions remain to refine best practice.

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Ryan G. Bailey and Martin J. Turner

Research into the psychology of coaching has been somewhat neglected in comparison to research on the psychological development of athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a brief online rational-emotive-behavioral-therapy (REBT) program on coach irrational beliefs and well-being. Coaching staff from an elite international canoeing team (N = 4) took part in a three-session (30- to 40-min) REBT program. Participants completed measures of irrational beliefs and mental well-being at preintervention, postintervention, and follow-up (1 month) time points. Visual analyses and social validation revealed that the intervention reduced irrational beliefs and enhanced mental well-being in two participants. However, REBT was more effective for some coaches than others, and follow-up data indicated a return to base levels in some coaches. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed, alongside practitioner reflections.

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Grégoire P. Millet, Johannes Burtscher, Nicolas Bourdillon, Giorgio Manferdelli, Martin Burtscher, and Øyvind Sandbakk

Purpose: One hundred years ago, Hill and Lupton introduced the concept of maximal oxygen uptake ( V ˙ O 2 max ), which is regarded as “the principal progenitor of sports physiology.” We provide a succinct overview of the evolvement of research on V ˙ O 2 max , from Hill and Lupton‘s initial findings to current debates on limiting factors for V ˙ O 2 max and the associated role of convective and diffusive components. Furthermore, we update the current use of V ˙ O 2 max in elite endurance sport and clinical settings. Practical Applications and Conclusions: V ˙ O 2 max is a healthy and active centenarian that remains a very important measure in elite endurance sports and additionally contributes as an important vital sign of cardiovascular function and fitness in clinical settings. Over the past 100 years, guidelines for the test protocols and exhaustion criteria, as well as the understanding of limiting factors for V ˙ O 2 max , have improved dramatically. Presently, possibilities of accurate and noninvasive determination of the convective versus diffusive components of V ˙ O 2 max by wearable sensors represent an important future application. V ˙ O 2 max is not only an indicator of cardiorespiratory function, fitness, and endurance performance but also represents an important biomarker of cardiovascular function and health to be included in routine assessment in clinical practice.

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Andrew Newland, Colum Cronin, Gillian Cook, and Amy Whitehead

Developing high-quality athlete–coach (A–C) relationships improves both athlete performance and well-being. However, content relating to the A–C relationship has been underrepresented within coach education. The study evaluates how coaches completing the English Football Association’s Union of European Football Associations A and B licenses develop knowledge of the A–C relationship. It does so by drawing on the perspectives of those who design and deliver the courses. Semistructured interviews were completed with nine experienced Football Association coach developers alongside a document analysis of seven key course documents. Data were analysed through an inductive thematic analysis and five themes were generated: (a) coach developers understand that the A–C relationship is built on trust, care, and hard and soft interpersonal approaches; (b) the triad of knowledge impacts on the A–C relationship, not just interpersonal knowledge; (c) the A–C relationship is not meaningfully addressed in the formalised course content; (d) in situ visits provide an effective medium to develop knowledge of the A–C relationship; and (e) the assessment framework does not align with the formalised course content. Findings demonstrate, despite a diversification in content, the A–C relationship is introduced in a superficial manner. Future research should clarify the knowledge coaches require to develop high-quality A–C relationships within a high-performance footballing context.

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Thomas Losnegard, Magne Lund-Hansen, Erland Vedeler Stubbe, Even Dahlen Granrud, Harri Luchsinger, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Jan Kocbach

Purpose: In sprint biathlon, a J-shaped pacing pattern is commonly used. We investigated whether biathletes with a fast-start pacing pattern increase time-trial skiing and shooting performance by pacing more evenly. Methods: Thirty-eight highly trained biathletes (∼21 y, 27 men) performed an individual 7.5 (3 × 2.5 km for women) or 10-km (3 × 3.3 km for men) time trial on roller skis with a self-selected pacing strategy (day 1). Prone (after lap 1) and standing shooting (after lap 2) stages were performed using paper targets. Based on their pacing strategy in the first time trial (ratio between the initial ∼800-m segment pace on lap 1 and average ∼800-m segment pace on laps 1–3), participants were divided into an intervention group with the fastest starting pace (INT, n = 20) or a control group with a more conservative starting pace (CON, n = 18). On day 2, INT was instructed to reduce their starting pace, while CON was instructed to maintain their day 1 strategy. Results: INT increased their overall time-trial performance more than CON from day 1 to day 2  (mean ± 95% CI; 1.5% ± 0.7% vs 0.0% ± 0.9%, P = .02). From day 1 to day 2, INT reduced their starting pace (5.0% ± 1.5%, P < .01), with reduced ratings of perceived exertion during lap 1 (P < .05). For CON, no change was found for starting pace (−0.8% ± 1.2%) or ratings of perceived exertion between days. No differences were found for shooting performance for either group. Conclusion: Highly trained biathletes with a pronounced fast-start pattern improve skiing performance without any change in shooting performance by pacing more evenly.

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Anna Goorevich, Courtney Boucher, Jekaterina Schneider, Hannah Silva-Breen, Emily L. Matheson, Aline Tinoco, and Nicole M. LaVoi

Gender essentialism in coaching discourses often goes unnoticed by coaches yet promotes gender stereotypes. Currently, no coach development program addresses gender essentialism. This study tested the acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a novel web-based coaching intervention comprising seven self-led modules, aimed at reducing gender essentialism among coaches. A pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted with 102 coaches of adolescent girls across multiple sports. Coaches were randomized into the intervention condition (n = 54) or a waitlist control condition (n = 48). Both intervention and control group participants completed a baseline self-assessment prior. Intervention group participants undertook Coaching HER Foundation modules over 2 weeks and completed a postintervention self-assessment. Control group coaches completed the postintervention assessment without completing the Coaching HER Foundation modules. Based on the data, coaches found the intervention easy to follow, relevant, applicable, and enjoyable. Efficacy analyses illustrated the intervention group reported lower levels of gender essentialism at postintervention compared with the control group. Study results must be considered in relation to the small sample size and high attrition rate (72%). Study findings will inform intervention optimizations based on participant feedback, after which Coaching HER Foundation will be made freely available within a wider coach education and training framework.

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Domingo Jesús Ramos-Campo, Francisco Javier López-Román, Silvia Pérez-Piñero, Raquel Ortolano, María Salud Abellán-Ruiz, Enrique Molina Pérez de los Cobos, Antonio Jesús Luque-Rubia, Dag Van Elslande, and Vicente Ávila-Gandía

The present randomized study investigated the effect of acute supplementation of 800 mg/kg of ketone monoester ingestion (KE) or placebo (PL) and 210 mg/kg of NaHCO3 co-ingestion on cycling performance of WorldTour cyclists during a road cycling stage simulation. Twenty-eight cyclists participated in the study (27.46 ± 4.32 years; 1.80 ± 0.06 m; 69.74 ± 6.36 kg). Performance, physiological, biochemical, and metabolism outcomes, gut discomfort, and effort perceived were assessed during a road cycling simulation composed of an 8-min time-trial (TT) performance + 30-s TT + 4.5 hr of outdoor cycling + a second 8-min TT + a second 30-s TT. Greater absolute and relative mean power during the first 8-min TT (F = 5.067, p = .033, η p 2 = .163 , F = 5.339, p = .029, η p 2 = .170 , respectively) was observed after KE than after PL (KE: 389 ± 34, PL: 378 ± 44 W, p = .002, d = 0.294 and KE: 5.60 ± 0.42, PL: 5.41 ± 0.44 W/kg, p = .001, d = 0.442). Additionally, greater concentration of β-hydroxybutyrate blood concentration (F = 42.195, p < .001, η p 2 = .619 ) was observed after KE than after PL during the first steps of the stage (e.g., after warm-up KE: 1.223 ± 0.642, PL: 0.044 ± 0.058 mM, p < .001, d = 2.589), although the concentrations returned to near baseline after 4.5 hr of outdoor cycling. Moreover, higher values of anion gap were observed (F = 2.333, p = .026, η p 2 = .080 ) after KE than after PL ingestion, after the warm-up and after the first 8-min and 30-s TT. Additionally, lower concentrations of HCO 3 were reported in the KE condition after warm-up and after the first 8-min and 30-s TT. During the initial phase of the stage simulation, acute supplementation with KE + NaHCO3 co-ingestion enhanced 8-min TT cycling performance (3.1%) in WorldTour cyclists with a concomitant hyperketonaemia.