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Volume 34 (2024): Issue 2 (Mar 2024)

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Academic Life: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Robert P. Lamberts and N. Tim Cable

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Predicting Soccer Players’ Fitness Status Through a Machine-Learning Approach

Mauro Mandorino, Jo Clubb, and Mathieu Lacome

Purpose: The study had 3 purposes: (1) to develop an index using machine-learning techniques to predict the fitness status of soccer players, (2) to explore the index’s validity and its relationship with a submaximal run test (SMFT), and (3) to analyze the impact of weekly training load on the index and SMFT outcomes. Methods: The study involved 50 players from an Italian professional soccer club. External and internal loads were collected during training sessions. Various machine-learning algorithms were assessed for their ability to predict heart-rate responses during the training drills based on external load data. The fitness index, calculated as the difference between actual and predicted heart rates, was correlated with SMFT outcomes. Results: Random forest regression (mean absolute error = 3.8 [0.05]) outperformed the other machine-learning algorithms (extreme gradient boosting and linear regression). Average speed, minutes from the start of the training session, and the work:rest ratio were identified as the most important features. The fitness index displayed a very large correlation (r = .70) with SMFT outcomes, with the highest result observed during possession games and physical conditioning exercises. The study revealed that heart-rate responses from SMFT and the fitness index could diverge throughout the season, suggesting different aspects of fitness. Conclusions: This study introduces an “invisible monitoring” approach to assess soccer player fitness in the training environment. The developed fitness index, in conjunction with traditional fitness tests, provides a comprehensive understanding of player readiness. This research paves the way for practical applications in soccer, enabling personalized training adjustments and injury prevention.

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Mixed-Method Precooling Enhances Self-Paced 20-km Cycling Time-Trial Performance When Apparent Temperature Is >46 °C but May Not Be a Priority in <46 °C

Julian Andro P. Ramos, Kagan J. Ducker, Hugh Riddell, Olivier Girard, Grant J. Landers, and Carly J. Brade

Purpose: Precooling (PreC) may only benefit performance when thermal strain experienced by an individual is sufficiently high. We explored the effect of mixed-method PreC on 20-km cycling time-trial (CTT) performance under 3 different apparent temperatures (AT). Methods: On separate days, 12 trained or highly trained male cyclists/triathletes completed six 20-km CTTs in 3 different ATs: hot-dry (35 °C AT), moderately hot-humid (40 °C AT), and hot-humid (46 °C AT). All trials were preceded by 30 minutes of mixed-method PreC or no PreC (control [CON]). Results: Faster 2.5-km-split completion times occurred in PreC compared with CON in 46 °C AT (P = .02), but not in 40 °C AT (P = .62) or 35 °C AT (P = .57). PreC did not affect rectal and body temperature during the 20-km CTT. Skin temperature was lower throughout the CTT in PreC compared with CON in 46 °C AT (P = .01), but not in 40 °C AT (P = 1.00) and 35 °C AT (P = 1.00). Heart rate had a greater rate of increase during the CTT for PreC compared with CON in 46 °C AT (P = .01), but not in 40 °C AT (P = .57) and 35 °C AT (P = 1.00). Ratings of perceived exertion (P < .001) and thermal comfort (P = .04) were lower for PreC compared with CON in 46 °C AT only, while thermal sensation was not different between PreC and CON. Conclusion: Mixed-method PreC should be applied prior to 20-km CTTs conducted in hot-humid conditions (≥46 °C AT). Alternatively, mixed-method PreC may be a priority in moderately hot-humid (∼40 °C AT) conditions but should not be in hot-dry (∼35 °C AT) conditions for 20-km CTT.

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Impact of Occupational Socialization on South Korean Physical Education Teachers’ Interpretation and Delivery of the Hanaro Teaching Model

Seungsoo Baek and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: To determine the impact of occupational socialization on eight South Korean teachers’ interpretation and delivery of the Hanaro Teaching (HT) model. Method: Data were collected through formal interviews, film of teachers employing HT, document analysis, reflective journaling, and the critical incident technique. They were analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Findings: The teachers interpreted and delivered the HT model in four different ways. These were the full and full+ versions of the model, watered down, and taking a cafeteria approach. The organizational socialization phase was key in shaping how the teachers delivered the model. The teachers’ acculturation and professional socialization were mainly supplemental. Conclusions: The fact that seven of the teachers employed HT without any formal training suggests that the model was fairly easy to learn. Specific training in undergraduate physical education teacher education, however, could lead to more teachers employing the full and full+ versions of the model.

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Scholarly Book Reviews in the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education

Michael A. Hemphill

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Before-School Physical Activity Program on Middle School Students’ Social and Emotional Learning and Energy Levels

Tan Leng Goh and Chee Hoi Leong

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a before-school physical activity program on middle school students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) and their energy levels. Method: A total of 171 students (67 in program group; 104 in control group) participated in the study from fall 2019 to spring 2022. The physical education teacher implemented the program 3 days per week, for 8 weeks. The students completed a 17-item SEL assessment before and after the program. The program group also reported their energy levels using an energy meter at each session. Results: Students’ SEL in program group improved by 14% (p < .001) at the end of the program. Students also reported higher energy levels (p < .001) following their participation at each session. Discussion/Conclusion: Schools are encouraged to incorporate before-school physical activity programs to energize the students at the start of the school day and improve their SEL.

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Bridging Boundaries Between Life and Sport: Exploring Sports Coaches’ Micro Role Transitions

Paul A. Davis, Faye F. Didymus, Scott Barrass, and Louise Davis

Coach education notes the importance of effective transitions between life and sport, yet research evidence supporting coaches to make such transitions is lacking. The present study used a mixed-methods design to explore 41 highly qualified coaches’ perceptions of how responsibilities in life beyond sport spill over to coaching practice. Additionally, we examined coaches’ transitions between roles in life and sport and the implications for their health and coaching practice. Coaches completed questionnaires measuring perceived stress and emotion regulation, and a writing task about how roles outside of sport impacted their coaching practice. Linguistic analyses using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software revealed that coaches with lower levels of perceived stress expressed more positive emotions when writing about the influence of life commitments on their coaching practice. The findings also suggest that coaches’ perceptions of the coaching process can be both positively and negatively influenced by life commitments spilling over into sport. Further, coaches reported challenges with the process of undertaking micro role transitions and highlighted implications for their mental health, coaching effectiveness, and relationships in both sport and life. Integrating organizational and sport psychology research, we offer guidance to optimize coaches’ transitions between roles to promote health and optimal performance.

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The Day-by-Day Periodization Strategies of a Giro d’Italia Podium Finisher

Gabriele Gallo, Manuel Mateo-March, Andrea Fuk, Emanuela Faelli, Piero Ruggeri, Roberto Codella, and Luca Filipas

Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe the day-by-day training and racing characteristics in preparation for the Giro d’Italia of 1 world-class road cyclist who achieved a place on the podium in the final general classification of the Giro d’Italia. Methods: Day-by-day power meter training and racing data of 1 study subject (road cyclist; age 25 y; relative maximum oxygen consumption 81 mL·min−1·kg−1; relative 20-min record power output 6.6 W·kg−1) covering the 152 days leading up to the podium in the Giro d’Italia final general classification were retrospectively analyzed. Daily load, daily volume, and intensity distribution were considered. Results: During training a pattern alternating “hard days” versus “easy days” was observed, as significant amounts of medium or high intensity, or load, were not performed for more than 2 consecutive days This pattern was achieved combining high volume (>4 h) with a significant amount of medium and high intensity within the same training sessions. During training, when training load and intensity increased, the density of “easy days” augmented. In 1-week stage races and the Giro d’Italia, 3 to 8 consecutive days with significant amounts of medium and high intensity were performed. A high number of training sessions with small amounts of medium- and high-intensity volume was observed: 38 days accumulating 3 to 10 minutes at medium intensity and 29 days spending 1 to 9 minutes at high intensity. Conclusion: These data provide novel insights about the day-by-day periodization strategies leading to a top 3 in the Giro d’Italia general classification.

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Effect of Acute Sodium Bicarbonate and Caffeine Coingestion on Repeated-Sprint Performance in Recreationally Trained Individuals: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Carmen Ferragut, Paola Gonzalo-Encabo, Álvaro López-Samanes, David Valadés, and Alberto Pérez-López

Introduction: The acute and isolated ingestion of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and caffeine (CAF) improves performance and delays fatigue in high-intensity tasks. However, it remains to be elucidated if the coingestion of both dietary supplements stimulates a summative ergogenic effect. This study aimed to examine the effect of the acute coingestion of NaHCO3 and CAF on repeated-sprint performance. Methods: Twenty-five trained participants (age: 23.3 [4.0] y; sex [female/male]: 12/13; body mass: 69.6 [12.5] kg) participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo (PLA) -controlled, crossover study. Participants were assigned to 4 conditions: (1) NaHCO3 + CAF, (2) NaHCO3, (3) CAF, or (4) PLA. Thus, they ingested 0.3 g/kg of NaHCO3, 3 mg/kg of CAF, or PLA. Then, participants performed 4 Wingate tests (Wt), consisting of a 30-second all-out sprint against an individualized resisted load, interspersed by a 1.5-minute rest period between sprints. Results: Peak (Wpeak) and mean (Wmean) power output revealed a supplement and sprint interaction effect (P = .009 and P = .049, respectively). Compared with PLA, NaHCO3 + CAF and NaHCO3 increased Wpeak performance in Wt 3 (3%, P = .021) and Wt 4 (4.5%, P = .047), while NaHCO3 supplementation increased mean power performance in Wt 3 (4.2%, P = .001). In Wt 1, CAF increased Wpeak (3.2%, P = .054) and reduced time to Wpeak (−8.5%; P = .008). Plasma lactate showed a supplement plus sprint interaction (P < .001) when NaHCO3 was compared with CAF (13%, P = .031) and PLA (23%, P = .021). Conclusion: To summarize, although the isolated ingestion of CAF and NaHCO3 improved repeated-sprint performance, the coingestion of both supplements did not stimulate a synergic ergogenic effect.