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Adrien Vachon, Nicolas Berryman, Iñigo Mujika, Jean-Baptiste Paquet, and Laurent Bosquet

Purpose: To assess the effects of a short-term taper on the ability to perform repeated high-intensity efforts, depending on players’ fatigue level following an intensive training block. Method: After a 3-day off-season camp, 13 players followed the same 3-week preseason training block followed by a 7-day exponential taper. Performance was assessed by a repeated high-intensity effort test before and after the taper. Total sprint time, percentage of decrement, and the number of sprints equal to or higher than 90% of the best sprint were retained for analysis. Players were a posteriori classified in normal training or acute fatigue groups based on their readiness to perform prior to the taper, assessed through the magnitude of difference in psychological (Profile of Mood State Questionnaire), cardiovascular (submaximal constant-duration cycling), and neuromuscular (countermovement jump) tests between the preintensive and postintensive training blocks. Results: Training load declined by 55% (9%) during the taper (P = .001, g = −2.54). The overall group showed a small improvement in total sprint time (−3.40% [3.90%], P = .04, g = −0.39) following the taper. Relative changes tended to be higher in the acute fatigue compared with the normal training group (−5.07% [4.52%] vs −1.45% [1.88%], respectively; P = .08; d = 1.01). No taper-induced improvement was observed in percentage of decrement or number of sprints equal to or higher than 90% of the best sprint. Conclusion: A 7-day taper consisting of 55% training load reduction improved repeated high-intensity effort performance in young elite rugby union players. Pretaper level of fatigue seems to be a key determinant in the taper supercompensation process, as acutely fatigued players at the end of the intensive training block tended to benefit more from the taper.

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Maria Jose Arias-Tellez, Francisco M. Acosta, Jairo H. Migueles, Jose M. Pascual-Gamarra, Elisa Merchan-Ramirez, Clarice M. de Lucena Martins, Jose M. Llamas-Elvira, Borja Martinez-Tellez, and Jonatan R. Ruiz

The role of lifestyle behaviors on neck adipose tissue (NAT), a fat depot that appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of different cardiometabolic diseases and in inflammatory status, is unknown. In this cross-sectional and exploratory study, the authors examined the relationship between sedentary time and physical activity (PA) with neck adiposity in young adults. A total of 134 subjects (69% women, 23 ± 2 years) were enrolled. The time spent in sedentary behavior and PA of different intensity were objectively measured for 7 consecutive days (24 hr/day), using a wrist (nondominant)-worn accelerometer. The NAT volume was assessed using computed tomography, and the compartmental (subcutaneous, intermuscular, and perivertebral) and total NAT volumes were determined at the level of vertebra C5. Anthropometric indicators and body composition (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) were determined. The time spent in light physical activity and moderate physical activity (MPA) and the overall PA were inversely associated with the intermuscular NAT volume in men, as were the MPA and overall PA with total NAT volume (all ps ≤ .04). Sedentary time was directly related to the total NAT volume (p = .04). An opposite trend was observed in women, finding a direct relationship of MPA with the subcutaneous NAT; of light physical activity, MPA, and overall PA with the perivertebral NAT; and of light physical activity with total NAT volumes (all ps ≤ .05). The observed associations were weak, and after adjusting for multiplicity, the results became nonsignificant (p > .05). These findings suggest that the specific characteristics of PA (time and intensity) might have sex-dependent implications in the accumulation of NAT.

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Jonne A. Kapteijns, Kevin Caen, Maarten Lievens, Jan G. Bourgois, and Jan Boone

Purpose: To determine if there is a link between the demands of competitive game activity and performance profiles of elite female field hockey players. Methods: Global positioning systems (GPS) were used to quantify running performance of elite female field hockey players (N = 20) during 26 competitive games. Performance profiles were assessed at 2 time points (preseason and midseason) for 2 competitive seasons. A battery of anthropometric and performance field-based tests (30–15 intermittent fitness test, incremental run test, 10–30-m speed test, T test, and vertical jump test) were used to determine the performance profiles of the players. Results: Players covered a mean total distance of 5384 (835) m, of which 19% was spent at high intensities (zone 5: 796 [221] m; zone 6: 274 [105] m). Forwards covered the lowest mean total distance (estimated marginal means 4586 m; 95% confidence interval, 4275–4897), whereas work rate was higher in forwards compared with midfielders (P = .006, d = 0.43) and central defenders (P = .001, d = 1.41). Players showed an improvement in body composition and anaerobic performance from preseason to midseason. Aerobic performance capacity (maximal oxygen uptake and speed at the 4-mM lactate threshold) was positively correlated with high-intensity activities. Conclusions: There is a clear relationship between running performance and aerobic performance profiles in elite female hockey players. These results highlight the importance of a well-developed aerobic performance capacity in order to maintain a high performance level during hockey games.

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K. Andrew R. Richards, Karen Lux Gaudreault, and Wesley J. Wilson

The purpose of this research note is to introduce and overview both the teaching and research applications of autobiographical essay writing. Grounded in occupational socialization theory and teacher reflection, the authors propose that autobiography can be a powerful tool in helping preservice and in-service teachers more deeply reflect on their prior socialization experiences, which may help them to better understand and be willing to critique their personal belief structures. The authors provide an overview of how autobiographical essays have been used and include recommendations for teacher education practice. From a research perspective, the authors argue that autobiographical essays provide a targeted strategy for collecting reflective data on individuals’ background socialization experiences. Such data are critical for socialization scholars who are interested in understanding how teachers’ biographies influence their current teaching beliefs and practices. Applications for physical education-adjacent spaces, including doctoral education, adapted physical education, and elementary education, are also discussed.

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Alejandro Pérez-Castilla, Daniel Boullosa, and Amador García-Ramos

Objective: To evaluate the sensitivity of the iLOAD® application to detect the changes in mean barbell velocity of complete sets following power- and strength-oriented resistance training (RT) programs. Methods: Twenty men were randomly assigned to a power training group (countermovement jump and bench press throw at 40% of the 1-repetition maximum [1RM]) or strength training group (back squat and bench press at 70% to 90% of 1RM). Single sets of 10 repetitions at 25% and 70% of 1RM during the back squat and bench press exercises were assessed before and after the 4-week RT programs simultaneously with the iLOAD® application and a linear velocity transducer. Results: The power training group showed a greater increment in velocity performance at the 25% of 1RM (effect size range = 0.66–1.53) and the 70% of 1RM (effect size range = 0.11–0.30). The percent change in mean velocity after the RT programs highly correlated between the iLOAD® application and the linear velocity transducer for the back squat (r range = .85–.88) and bench press (r range = .87–.93). However, the iLOAD® application revealed a 2% greater increase in mean velocity after training compared to the linear velocity transducer. Conclusions: The iLOAD® application is a cost-effective, portable, and easy-to-use tool which can be used to detect changes in mean barbell velocity after power- and strength-oriented RT programs.

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Travis Anderson, Laurie Wideman, Flavio A. Cadegiani, and Claudio E. Kater

The cortisol awakening response (CAR) is a distinct component of the circadian cortisol profile and has promise as a biomarker for the monitoring of athlete readiness and training status. Although some studies have suggested the CAR may be affected by the development of overtraining syndrome (OTS), this has yet to be systematically investigated. Purpose: To compare the CAR and diurnal cortisol slope between athletes diagnosed with OTS, healthy athletes, and sedentary controls. Methods: This study was a secondary analysis of data from the Endocrine and Metabolic Responses on Overtraining study. Male participants were recruited to either OTS, healthy athlete, or sedentary control groups. The participants produced saliva samples immediately after waking (S1), 30 minutes after waking (S2), at 16:00 hours, and at 23:00 hours. Salivary cortisol concentration was determined by an electrochemiluminescence assay. Mixed-effects models were used to assess the conditional effect of group (sedentary controls, OTS, and healthy athletes) on the change in cortisol over time. Separate models were fit for the awakening samples (S1 and S2) and for the diurnal slope (linear change across S1, 16:00 h, and 23:00 h). Results: The models demonstrated significant time-by-group interaction for OTS for the 2 cortisol concentrations collected during the awakening period (β = −9.33, P < .001), but not for the diurnal cortisol slope (β = 0.02, P = .80). Conclusions: These results suggest the CAR may be associated with OTS and should be considered within a panel of biomarkers. Further research is necessary to determine whether alterations in the CAR may precede the diagnosis of OTS.

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Thomas Haugen, Will Hopkins, Felix Breitschädel, Gøran Paulsen, and Paul Solberg

Purpose: To determine if generic off-ice physical fitness tests can provide useful predictions of ice hockey players’ match performance. Methods: Approximately 40 to 60 defenders and 70 to 100 forwards from the Norwegian male upper ice hockey league were tested for strength (1-repetition maximum in squat and bench press), power (40-m sprint and countermovement jump), and endurance (hanging sit-ups, chins, and 3000-m run) annually at the end of every preseason period between 2008 and 2017. Measures of match performance were each player’s season mean counts per match of assists, points, goals, penalty minutes, and plus-minus score. Results: Overall, match performance measures displayed trivial to small correlations with the fitness tests. More specifically, points per game had at most small correlations with measures of strength (range, approximately −0.2 to 0.3), speed (approximately −0.2 to 0.3), and endurance (approximately −0.1 to 0.3). After adjustments for age that showed moderate to large correlations with player match performance, multiple-regression analyses of each test measure still provided some predictability among players of the same age. However, players selected for the national team had substantially better mean scores for most tests and match performance measures than those not selected, with a moderate to large difference for age, 1-repetition maximum squat, and 1-repetition maximum bench press. Conclusions: Fitness tests had only marginal utility for predicting match performance in Norwegian hockey players, but those selected into the national team had better general fitness.

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Erica H. Gavel, Heather M. Logan-Sprenger, Joshua Good, Ira Jacobs, and Scott G. Thomas

Purpose: The effects of menthol (MEN) mouth rinse (MR) on performance, physiological, and perceptual variables in female cyclists during a 30-km independent time trial (ITT) were tested. Methods: The participants (n = 9) cycled for 30 km in hot conditions (30°C [0.6°C], 70% [1%] relative humidity, 12 [1] km/h wind speed) on 2 test occasions: with a placebo MR and with MEN MR. Handgrip and a 5-second sprint were measured before, following the first MR, and after the ITT. Ratings of perceived exertion Borg 6 to 20, thermal sensation, and thermal pleasantness were recorded every 5 km. Core temperature and heart rate were recorded throughout. Results: The ITT performance significantly improved with MEN MR by 2.3% (2.7%) relative to the placebo (62.6 [5.7] vs 64.0 [4.9] min P = .034; d = 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.14 to 2.8 min). The average power output was significantly higher in the MEN trial (P = .031; d = 0.87; 95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 15.0 W). No significant interaction of time and MR for handgrip (P = .581, η 2 = .04) or sprint was observed (P = .365, η 2 = .103). Core temperature, heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, and thermal sensation did not significantly differ between trials at set distances (P > .05). Pleasantness significantly differed between the placebo and MEN only at 5 km, with no differences at other TT distances. Conclusion: These results suggest that a nonthermal cooling agent can improve 30-km ITT performance in female cyclists, although the improved performance with MEN MR is not due to altered thermal perception.

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Jordan L. Fox, Jesse Green, and Aaron T. Scanlan

Purpose: To compare peak and average intensities encountered during winning and losing game quarters in basketball players. Methods: Eight semiprofessional male basketball players (age = 23.1 [3.8] y) were monitored during all games (N = 18) over 1 competitive season. The average intensities attained in each quarter were determined using microsensors and heart-rate monitors to derive relative values (per minute) for the following variables: PlayerLoad, frequency of high-intensity and total accelerations, decelerations, changes of direction, jumps, and total inertial movement analysis events combined, as well as modified summated-heart-rate-zones workload. The peak intensities reached in each quarter were determined using microsensors and reported as PlayerLoad per minute over 15-second, 30-second, 1-minute, 2-minute, 3-minute, 4-minute, and 5-minute sample durations. Linear mixed models and effect sizes were used to compare intensity variables between winning and losing game quarters. Results: Nonsignificant (P > .05), unclear–small differences were evident between winning and losing game quarters in all variables. Conclusions: During winning and losing game quarters, peak and average intensities were similar. Consequently, factors other than the intensity of effort applied during games may underpin team success in individual game quarters and therefore warrant further investigation.