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John Stoszkowski, Áine MacNamara, Dave Collins and Aran Hodgkinson

Recent developments have seen a growth in coaching, with an associated boom in interest on how it may be optimised. Clearly, the authors applaud this evolution. This growth has been parallelled by an explosion in the availability of information, driven through Internet access and the phenomenon of social media. Unfortunately, however, this juxtaposition of interest and availability has not been matched by the application or exercise of effective quality control. While much of what is available is well intentioned, a tendency for poor quality and possibly less positively targeted “bullshit” has also arisen. In this insights paper, the authors have considered some of the reasons why and argued that an emphasis on the development of critical and analytical thinking, as well as a scepticism towards the sources of information, would be a positive step against coach susceptibility to bullshit. In doing so, and to encourage more critical consumption of the “knowledge” available, the authors presented a checklist to help coaches assess the veracity of claims and sift through the noise of the coaching landscape.

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Danny Lum and Abdul Rashid Aziz

Force–time characteristics obtained during isometric strength tests are significantly correlated to various sporting movements. However, data on the relationship between isometric force–time characteristics and sprint kayaking performance are lacking in the literature. Purpose: The purpose of the study was, therefore, to investigate the relationship between sprint kayaking performance with ergometer performance and measures from 3 isometric strength tests: isometric squat, isometric bench press, and isometric prone bench pull. Methods: A total of 23 sprint kayaking athletes performed all 3 tests, at 90° and 120° knee angles for isometric squat and at elbow angles for isometric bench press and isometric prone bench pull, and a 200-m sprint on-water to attain the fastest time-to-completion (OWTT) possible and on a kayak ergometer to attain the highest mean power (LABTT) possible. Results: There was a significant inverse correlation between OWTT and LABTT (r = −.90, P < .001). The peak forces achieved from all isometric strength tests were significantly correlated with time-to-completion for OWTT and mean power for LABTT (r = −.44 to −.88, P < .05 and .47 to .80, P < .05, respectively). OWTT was significantly correlated with the peak rate of force development during all isometric tests except for the isometric squat at a 120° knee angle (r = −.47 to −.62, P < .05). LABTT was significantly correlated with peak rate of force development from the isometric bench press and isometric prone bench pull (r = .64–.86, P < .01). Conclusion: Based on the observed strong correlations, the mean power attained during LABTT is a good predictor of OWTT time-to-completion. Furthermore, upper- and lower-body maximum strength and peak rate of force development are equally important for on-water and ergometer sprint kayaking performance.

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Alex S. Ribeiro, Ademar Avelar, Witalo Kassiano, João Pedro Nunes, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Andreo F. Aguiar, Michele C.C. Trindade, Analiza M. Silva, Luís B. Sardinha and Edilson S. Cyrino

The authors aimed to compare the effects of creatine (Cr) supplementation combined with resistance training on skeletal muscle mass (SMM), total body water, intracellular water (ICW), and extracellular water (ECW) in resistance-trained men as well as to determine whether the SMM/ICW ratio changes in response to the use of this ergogenic aid. Twenty-seven resistance-trained men received either Cr (n = 14) or placebo (n = 13) over 8 weeks. During the same period, subjects performed two split resistance training routines four times per week. SMM was estimated from appendicular lean soft tissue assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Total body water, ICW, and ECW were determined by spectral bioelectrical impedance. Both groups showed improvements (p < .05) in SMM, total body water, and ICW, with greater values observed for the Cr group compared with placebo. ECW increased similarly in both groups (p < .05). The SMM/ICW ratio did not change in either group (p > .05), whereas the SMM/ECW ratio decreased only in the Cr group (p < .05). A positive correlation was observed (p < .05) between SMM and ICW changes (r = .71). The authors’ results suggest that the increase in muscle mass induced by Cr combined with resistance training occurs without alteration of the ratio of ICW to SMM in resistance-trained men.

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Marcelo Danillo Matos dos Santos, Felipe J. Aidar, Raphael Fabrício de Souza, Jymmys Lopes dos Santos, Andressa da Silva de Mello, Henrique P. Neiva, Daniel A. Marinho and Mário C. Marques

Purpose: To verify the effects of using different grip widths in bench press performance in Paralympic powerlifting athletes. Methods: Twelve experienced Paralympic powerlifting male athletes (25.40 [3.30] y, 70.30 [12.15] kg) participated in the study. Maximal dynamic strength and maximal isometric strength (MIS) were determined. Then, mean propulsive velocity (MPV) using 25%, 50%, and 100% of maximal dynamic strength load and time to achieve 30%, 50%, and 100% of MIS were assessed with 4 different grip widths, specifically the biacromial distance (BAD: 42.83 [12.84] cm), 1.3 BAD (55.68 [16.70] cm), 1.5 BAD (63.20 [18.96] cm), and 81 cm. Electromyographic analysis was performed during MIS assessment in the pectoralis major sternal portion, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii long head, and pectoralis major clavicular portion. Results: Large differences were found between MPV performed with different grip widths using 25% of maximal dynamic strength load (P = .02, ηp2=.26). The 1.5 BAD grip tended to show greater force generation and MPV. Moreover, the time needed to achieve 30%, 50%, and 100% of MIS differed between grip widths (P = .03, ηp2=.24), with the lowest values obtained in the 1.5 BAD. Despite the nonstatistical differences that were found, grip widths caused moderate effects on muscle myoelectric activation, showing greater values for pectoralis major clavicular portion and pectoralis major sternal portion, for the 1.3 BAD and 1.5 BAD, respectively. The 1.5 BAD the grip width tended to show greater MPV values and faster contractile responses. Conclusions: These results highlighted the importance of choosing the specific grip width for improvement of performance in Paralympic powerlifting athletes, by increasing velocity of movement and force production in a shorter time, with greater activation of primary muscles.

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Keely Shaw, Jyotpal Singh, Luke Sirant, J. Patrick Neary and Philip D. Chilibeck

Dark chocolate (DC) is high in flavonoids and has been shown to increase nitric oxide in the blood. Increased nitric oxide has the potential to improve delivery of oxygen to muscle, especially in hypoxic conditions, such as altitude. Our aim was to assess the impact of DC supplementation on cycling performance at altitude. Twelve healthy, trained cyclists (n = 2 females, n = 10 males; age = 35 [12] years; height = 177 [7] cm; mass = 75.2 [11.0] kg; VO2max = 55 [6] ml·kg−1·min−1) were randomized to supplement with 60 g of DC or placebo twice per day for 14 days in a double-blind crossover study. After the 2 weeks of supplementation, the participants attended a laboratory session in which they consumed 120 g of DC or placebo and then cycled for 90 min at 50% peak power output, followed immediately by a 10-km time trial (TT) at simulated altitude (15% O2). The plasma concentration of blood glucose and lactate were measured before and at 15, 30, 60, and 90 min during the steady-state exercise and post TT, while muscular and prefrontal cortex oxygenation was measured continuously throughout exercise using near-infrared spectroscopy. DC resulted in a higher concentration of blood glucose (5.5 [0.5] vs. 5.3 [0.9] mmol/L) throughout the trial and lower blood lactate concentration following the TT (7.7 [1.92] vs. 10.0 [4.6] mmol/L) compared with the placebo. DC had no effect on the TT performance (19.04 [2.16] vs. 19.21 ± 1.96 min) or oxygenation status in either the prefrontal cortex or muscle. The authors conclude that, although it provided some metabolic benefit, DC is not effective as an ergogenic aid during TT cycling at simulated altitude.

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Jay A. Collison, Jason Moran, Inge Zijdewind and Florentina J. Hettinga

Purpose: To examine the differences in muscle fatigability after resistance exercise performed with fast tempo (FT) compared with slow tempo (ST). Methods: A total of 8 resistance-trained males completed FT and ST hexagonal-barbell deadlifts, consisting of 8 sets of 6 repetitions at 60% 3-repetition maximum, using a randomized crossover design. Each FT repetition was performed with maximal velocity, while each repetition during ST was performed with a 3-1-3 (eccentric/isometric/concentric) tempo (measured in seconds). Isometric maximal voluntary contraction, voluntary muscle activation, and evoked potentiated twitch torque of the knee extensors were determined using twitch interpolation before, during (set 4), and after exercise. Displacement–time data were measured during the protocols. Results: The mean bar velocity and total concentric work were higher for FT compared with ST (995 [166] W vs 233 [52] W; 0.87 [0.05] m/s vs 0.19 [0.05] m/s; 4.8 [0.8] kJ vs 3.7 [1.1] kJ). Maximal voluntary contraction torque, potentiated twitch, and voluntary muscle activation were significantly reduced after FT (−7.8% [9.2%]; −5.2% [9.2%], −8.7% [12.2%]) and ST (−11.2% [8.4%], −13.3% [8.1%], −1.8% [3.6%]). Conclusion: The decline in maximal voluntary force after both the FT and ST hexagonal-barbell deadlifts exercise was accompanied by a similar decline in contractile force and voluntary muscle activation.

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Miranda Rudnick and Brian Wallace

Ankle supports have been shown to reduce ankle injury incidence. Athletes’ use of them may be related to their sport coaches’ beliefs. The purpose of this study was to examine Wisconsin high school boys’ and girls’ basketball coaches’ beliefs regarding ankle support practices. Additional aims were to estimate the percentage of the players who either tape or brace, reveal which sources were used to form coaches’ beliefs about ankle supports, and gain insights regarding how long players are out of play after being injured if they tape, brace, or do not use ankle supports. Chi-squared tests of independence revealed that most coaches neither encouraged nor discouraged ankle supports for their players. A majority of coaches were found to use resources other than scientific-based sources to form their opinions on ankle supports. They also reported that they believed ankle injury return-to-play time was reduced in players who wore ankle supports and that supports did not hinder performance. Coaches should be provided educational opportunities regarding ankle supports so they may provide valid information to help their players make informed decisions.

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Anita Navin, Don Vinson, Alison Croad, Jennifer Turnnidge and Jean Côté

This Participatory and Appreciative Action and Reflection (PAAR) investigation illustrates a leader’s first steps in a “values-to-action” journey. Drawing on the interface between transformational leadership and organizational culture, this study focused on the birth of the Severn Stars—a professional netball club in the United Kingdom. In particular, this PAAR investigation explored how the leader’s values were operationalized through the club’s inaugural year. Fourteen operational managers, coaches, and players were individually interviewed in order to gain an appreciative gaze and subsequently reframe their lived experience. Results demonstrated how transformational leadership was manifested through the pragmatic deployment of club values and how the organizational culture was, in part, characterized by individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, idealized influence, and inspirational motivation. These behaviors and the organizational culture were shown to enhance prosocial relationships and social connections across the club, the influence of the Super Stars, and stakeholders’ perceptions of autonomy.

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Johannes Raabe, Andrew D. Bass, Lauren K. McHenry and Rebecca A. Zakrajsek

Approximately 90% of players in Minor League Baseball will be released at some point in their career. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the role of individuals’ basic psychological needs during the release from professional baseball and throughout their subsequent transition to a new career. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 former Minor League Baseball players. Thematic analysis generated four themes: (a) The release resulted in immediate but temporary basic psychological need thwarting, (b) the “liberating experience” of the release allowed individuals to perceive autonomy in the transition out of affiliated baseball, (c) perceptions of competence served as the foundation for a positive transition to a new career, and (d) meaningful connections fostered individuals’ perception of relatedness in the transition out of affiliated baseball. The findings suggest that need fulfillment might act as a buffer between potential stressors in the transition process and athletes’ cognitive, emotional, and behavioral response.

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Judit Balogh and Gabriella Trzaskoma-Bicsérdy

Sports coaching is traditionally a male-dominated profession all over the world, though there is no explicit evidence that either gender outperforms the other in this profession. The current paper aimed to uncover the differences between female and male coaches regarding their pedagogical and professional beliefs. A total of 357 basketball coaches (30.8% women and 69.2% men) working in Hungary responded to an online questionnaire. A background analysis of the sample revealed that most of the coaches manage youth teams and that women coach younger age groups than men. Female coaches proved to be more educated than their male counterparts, both in general and on a professional level. The results showed that, regardless of gender, the coaches were well aware of their pedagogical functions. Significant differences were found in terms of relationships, personal development, motivation, and discipline; the women reported higher values in all cases. Female coaches were also more concerned about factors that help gain respect and appreciation. Based on the results, education, qualifications, and pedagogical and professional views of coaches do not justify the underrepresentation of women in sports coaching. Club managers, sports federation boards, and other decision makers should promote programs that are aimed at engaging more women in sports coaching.