Purpose: To compare the effects of variable-resistance complex training (VRCT) versus traditional complex training (TCT) on muscle architecture in rugby league players during a 6-week mesocycle. Methods: Twenty-four rugby league players competing in the British University & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier North Division were randomized to VRCT (n = 8), TCT (n = 8), or control (n = 8). Experimental groups completed a 6-week lower-body complex training intervention (2×/wk), which involved alternating high-load resistance exercise with plyometric exercise in the same session. The VRCT group performed resistance exercises at 70% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) + 0% to 23% of 1RM from band resistance with a 90-second intracontrast rest interval, whereas the TCT group performed resistance exercise at 93% of 1RM with a 4-minute intracontrast rest interval. Muscle thickness (MT), pennation angle, and fascicle length (L f) were assessed for the vastus lateralis (VL) and gastrocnemius medialis using ultrasound imaging. Results: Both TCT and VRCT groups significantly improved VL MT and VL L f compared with control (all P < .05). Standardized within-group changes in MT and L f (Cohen d av ± 95% CI) were moderate for TCT (d av = 0.91 ± 1.0; d av = 1.1 ± 1.1) and unclear for VRCT (d av = 0.44 ± 0.99; d av = 0.47 ± 0.99), respectively. Differences in change scores between TCT and VRCT were unclear. Conclusions: VRCT and TCT can be utilized during the competitive season to induce favorable MT and L f muscle architecture adaptations for the VL. TCT may induce greater muscle architecture adaptations of the VL, whereas VRCT may be of more practical value given the shorter intracontrast rest interval between resistance and plyometric exercises.
David J. Scott, Phil Marshall, Samuel T. Orange, and Massimiliano Ditroilo
Shaun Abbott, Wei En Leong, Tom Gwinn, Giovanni Luca Postiglione, James Salter, and Stephen Cobley
Purpose: To examine the longitudinal relationships between shoulder internal and external rotation (IR and ER) strength, maturity status, and swim performance (aim 1). To determine whether maturity status mediated (partially/fully) the relationship between shoulder IR/ER strength and performance in age-group swimmers (aim 2). Methods: Using a repeated-measures design, anthropometrics, maturity status, shoulder IR/ER strength, and 200-m front-crawl velocity were assessed over 3 competition seasons in N = 82 Australian male competitive swimmers (10–15 y). For aim 1, linear mixed models examined longitudinal relationships between assessed variables. For aim 2, causal mediation analyses examined proportional (in)direct contributions of maturity status between shoulder IR strength and swim performance. Results: For aim 1, linear mixed models identified a significant relationship between shoulder IR strength and swim performance over time (F 1,341.25 = 16.66, P < .001, marginal R 2 = .13, conditional R 2 = .91). However, maturity status was influential (ΔAkaike information criterion = −75.8, χ 2 = 19.98, P < .001), suggesting removal of the shoulder IR strength–swim velocity relationship (F 1,214.1 = 0.02, P = .88). For aim 2, mediation analyses identified maturity status as fully mediating the shoulder IR strength–swim velocity relationship (92.30%, P < .001). Conclusions: Shoulder IR and ER strength did not account for variance in longitudinal age-group swim performance independent of maturity status. Interindividual differences in maturity status fully explained the relationship between shoulder IR/ER strength and swim performance. For practitioners, findings promote the need to account for maturation status and question the rationale for upper-limb strength assessment during maturational years.
Briana L. Zabierek, Walter C. Wilson, and Frank E. DiLiberto
Context: Collegiate tenpin bowling participation is increasing. Accordingly, the experience level of athletes participating, factors related to performance, as well as training workload and sport specialization are likely evolving. However, literature regarding injury rates remains extremely limited. The purpose of this study was to characterize injuries in collegiate tenpin bowlers. Design: Retrospective cohort survey study. Methods: Tenpin bowling athletes of top-ranked collegiate programs in the United States were invited to participate. Each participant completed an online survey to report on their injury history and additional factors of interest. Descriptive statistics were generated for participant characteristics, injury counts, and overall injury prevalence and recurrence. Chi-square tests were used to determine if overall injury prevalence and recurrence occurred by chance, and to evaluate the influence of gender and conditioning program participation on injury frequencies. Results: The response rate was 40.6% (101/249; N = 101). The sample was 20.02 (1.43) years old and 54.5% female. There were a total of 235 singular and recurrent injuries reported across all body parts. Upper-extremity injuries were the most common (n = 112). Injury prevalence (87%) and recurrence (75%) were more likely than chance (χ 2 > 21.3, both P < .001) and not different based on gender (χ 2 ≤ 1.1, both P ≥ .33). Injuries were more frequent in the absence of a conditioning program (χ 2 = 50.6, P < .001). Conclusions: Injuries and injury recurrence in elite tenpin bowlers were frequent, most common in the upper-extremity, not different based on gender, and more frequent in those without conditioning programs. Findings may serve as foundational knowledge for developing sport-specific rehabilitation and conditioning programs.
Inimfon A. Essiet, Elyse Warner, Natalie J. Lander, Jo Salmon, Michael J. Duncan, Emma L.J. Eyre, and Lisa M. Barnett
Purpose: Teachers are important stakeholders in supporting children’s physical literacy (PL), yet teachers’ perception of PL assessment is underexplored. Method: Utilizing a mixed-methods design, 122 primary school teachers (of children aged 5–12 years) in Australia completed an online survey, followed by nine interviews. Results: Teachers who favored assessment (58%) tended to report assessing PL in children (χ2[1, N = 110] = 7.025, p = .008). Those who reported assessing PL (also 58%) were more confident to do so (χ2[2, N = 109] = 10.540, p = .005). Teachers considered movement skills, engagement and enjoyment, relationships, and safety and risk as the most important elements for assessing PL. Qualitative data showed nonsupport for PL assessment stemmed from skepticism regarding relevance of assessment, appropriateness of assessment, and views that the curriculum and PL framework were implicitly linked. Conclusion: Professional development, resources, and suitable PL teacher assessments can upskill teachers’ knowledge, confidence, and reduce barriers in implementing PL assessments.
Marco Panascì, Vittoria Ferrando, Ambra Bisio, Luca Filipas, Piero Ruggeri, and Emanuela Faelli
Purpose: To compare the effects of 2 small-sided games (SSGs), shuttle running within the bout (SSG-S) versus possession play only (SSG-P) on acute physiological and metabolic responses, perception of effort, and performance. Methods: Ten young elite male soccer players (age 18.6 [1.9] y) performed two 5vs5 SSG formats (SSG-S and SSG-P) consisting of 4 × 4 minutes with 1 minute of passive recovery between bouts, 2 times each, once a week, and in a randomized order. Heart rate, blood lactate concentration, and rating of perceived exertion were assessed as indices of internal workload. Total and relative distances, distance at moderate and high speed, distances traveled in accelerations (≥2 m·s−2) and decelerations (≤−2 m·s−2; DDEC), and average metabolic power were chosen as indices of external workload and collected with a 10-Hz portable global positioning system device. Results: Total distance, distances traveled in acceleration, distances traveled in deceleration, average metabolic power (always P < .01 and g > 1.62—large effect), and distance at moderate speed (P = .03 and g = 0.84—large effect) were significantly higher in SSG-S than in SSG-P. Moreover, the SSG-S showed higher blood lactate concentration (P = .0001, g = 12.58—large effect) and rating of perceived exertion (P = .03, g = 1.14—large effect) values than SSG-P. No significant differences in peak heart rate, relative distance, and distance at high speed were found. Conclusions: Our study showed, in young competitive male soccer players, the effectiveness of an SSG format that includes shuttle running within each bout in the development of more relevant internal and external workloads. These experimental data should encourage coaches to use this new SSG regimen within the traditional weekly training program.
Erik Wilmes, Bram J.C. Bastiaansen, Cornelis J. de Ruiter, Riemer J.K. Vegter, Michel S. Brink, Hidde Weersma, Edwin A. Goedhart, Koen A.P.M. Lemmink, and Geert J.P. Savelsbergh
Purpose: To determine the test–retest reliability of the recently developed Hip Load metric, evaluate its construct validity, and assess the differences with Playerload during football-specific short-distance shuttle runs. Methods: Eleven amateur football players participated in 2 identical experimental sessions. Each session included 3 different shuttle runs that were performed at 2 pace-controlled running intensities. The runs consisted of only running, running combined with kicks, and running combined with jumps. Cumulative Playerload and Hip Loads of the preferred and nonpreferred kicking leg were collected for each shuttle run. Test–retest reliability was determined using intraclass correlations, coefficients of variation, and Bland–Altman analyses. To compare the load metrics with each other, they were normalized to their respective values obtained during a 54-m run at 9 km/h. Sensitivity of each load metric to running intensity, kicks, and jumps was assessed using separate linear mixed models. Results: Intraclass correlations were high for the Hip Loads of the preferred kicking leg (.91) and the nonpreferred kicking leg (.96) and moderate for the Playerload (.87). The effects (95% CIs) of intensity and kicks on the normalized Hip Load of the kicking leg (intensity: 0.95 to 1.50, kicks: 0.36 to 1.59) and nonkicking leg (intensity: 0.96 to 1.53, kicks: 0.06 to 1.34) were larger than on the normalized Playerload (intensity: 0.12 to 0.25, kicks: 0.22 to 0.53). Conclusions: The inclusion of Hip Load in training load quantification may help sport practitioners to better balance load and recovery.
Hong-Yu Cheng and Jia-Nan Wang
Purposes: Student athletes from different cultures might differ in the ways that they experience competitive anxiety, and their coaches with dissimilar cultural backgrounds might also present distinct behavioral traits in coaching. The study assessed and compared the competitive anxiety experienced by Chinese student athletes (in a collectivist culture) and American student athletes (in an individualist culture) by using a new competitive anxiety model and examined how their distinct ways of experiencing competitive anxiety might relate to the leading behaviors of Chinese and American coaches. Method: Relevant measures were administered to 258 Chinese student athletes and 214 American student athletes to assess their competitive anxiety and perceived leading behaviors of their coaches. Results: Chinese student athletes scored significantly higher on social expectation anxiety and somatic anxiety in comparison with American student athletes. Chinese student athletes perceived higher levels of training and instruction, and autocratic behaviors of coaches, and American student athletes perceived higher levels of democratic behaviors of coaches. Conclusions: This study revealed the different ways of experiencing certain aspects of competitive anxiety between Chinese and American student athletes, which could be at least partially explained by the distinct leading behaviors of Chinese and American coaches perceived by student athletes in the research.
Karissa L. Johnson, Danielle L. Cormier, Kent C. Kowalski, and Amber D. Mosewich
Helping athletes cope effectively with injury is likely of great interest to many sport stakeholders. Mental toughness is one psychological factor positively associated with resilience and sport performance, though stubborn persistence through injury might not always be conducive to adaptive athlete outcomes. Self-compassion—a balanced, nonjudgmental approach in relating to oneself when experiencing suffering—might help circumvent these pitfalls and complement injury recovery. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between mental toughness and self-compassion in a sport injury context. This study consisted of 2 phases—phase I quantitatively assessed the relationships between mental toughness, self-compassion, and other psychological constructs, while phase II used qualitative interviews to corroborate and inform these findings. In phase I, competitive athletes who were injured at the time of data collection (n = 81) completed mental toughness, self-compassion, coping resources, self-esteem, and self-criticism questionnaires. Self-compassion was positively correlated with mental toughness (r = .48, P < .01), coping resources (r = .54, P < .05), and self-esteem (r = .60, P < .01). Self-compassion and self-criticism were negatively correlated with each other (r = –.52, P < .01). Results from hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that self-compassion was a significant predictor of mental toughness (ΔR 2 = .07, P < .01), coping resources (ΔR 2 = .10, P < .01), and self-criticism (ΔR 2 = .06, P < .01), beyond the effects of self-esteem. Four injured athletes who scored above the median on mental toughness and self-compassion measures were interviewed in phase II. Thematic analysis generated 2 themes: (1) self-compassion grants access to wise mental toughness and (2) mental toughness helps activate self-compassionate actions during injury. These findings are consistent with recent research and suggest that both mental toughness and self-compassion can work together to help athletes cope with sport injury.
Anthony Battaglia and Gretchen Kerr
The practice of benching players or removing playing time is commonly used in sport. Although benching is used to adhere to game rules related to the number of athletes permitted on the field of play at any given time or to provide athletes with rest breaks, athletes have reportedly experienced benching in response to behavioral infractions such as not paying attention, not devoting sufficient effort, or failing to adhere to team rules. The purpose of this study therefore was to explore the use of benching as a behavioral management strategy from the perspectives of youth coaches. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 youth coaches (six men and four women) regarding their views of benching, reasons for use, and alternatives to the practice of benching. Data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. All coaches reported using benching to manage athlete and team behavior, address conduct detrimental to the team, and reinforce the coach’s position of power. The coaches interpreted benching as punishment or a learning tool depending on the provision of communication and feedback. Future work is needed to address the use of communication and the nature of this communication to ensure that benching practices are associated with learning and not punishment.