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Carolina Lundqvist

This case report described the use of behavioral activation when a former Olympic athlete developed depression after career termination. Four sessions were conducted, one session each week, followed by a boost session 1 month later. In Session 1, the former Olympic athlete displayed mild-to-moderate depression with anxiety and a low quality of life (Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale = 21; Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Scale = 17; Brunnsviken Brief Quality of Life Scale = 44). By Session 3, the Olympic athlete no longer met the diagnostic criteria for clinical depression or anxiety (Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale = 2; Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Scale = 7) and the quality of life was improved (Brunnsviken Brief Quality of Life Scale = 60). Follow-up assessments 1-year posttreatment confirmed that the former Olympic athlete continued to improve (Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale = 0; Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Scale = 0; Brunnsviken Brief Quality of Life Scale = 96). This case report discusses the benefits of proactive support to elite athletes and the use of established clinical psychological treatments, for example, behavioral activation, when athletes develop health-related conditions.

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Stefano Montanari, Mehmet A. Şahin, Ben J. Lee, Sam D. Blacker and Mark E.T. Willems

Supplementation with anthocyanin-rich blackcurrant increases blood flow, cardiac output, and stroke volume at rest. It is not known whether cardiovascular responses can be replicated over longer timeframes in fed trained cyclists. In a randomized, double-blind, crossover design, 13 male trained cyclists (age 39 ± 10 years, V˙O2max 55.3 ± 6.7 ml·kg−1·min−1) consumed two doses of New Zealand blackcurrant (NZBC) extract (300 and 600 mg/day for 1 week). Cardiovascular parameters were measured during rest and submaximal cycling (65% V˙O2max) on day 1 (D1), D4, and D7. Data were analyzed with an RM ANOVA using dose (placebo vs. 300 vs. 600 mg/day) by time point (D1, D4, and D7). Outcomes from placebo were averaged to determine the coefficient of variation within our experimental model, and 95% confidence interval (CI) was examined for differences between placebo and NZBC. There were no differences in cardiovascular responses at rest between conditions and between days. During submaximal exercise, no positive changes were observed on D1 and D4 after consuming NZBC extract. On D7, intake of 600 mg increased stroke volume (3.08 ml, 95% CI [−2.08, 8.26]; d = 0.16, p = .21), cardiac output (0.39 L/min, 95% CI [−1.39, .60]; d = 0.14, p = .40) (both +2.5%), and lowered total peripheral resistance by 6.5% (−0.46 mmHg·min/ml, 95% CI [−1.80, .89]; d = 0.18, p = .46). However, these changes were trivial and fell within the coefficient of variation of our study design. Therefore, we can conclude that NZBC extract was not effective in enhancing cardiovascular function during rest and submaximal exercise in endurance-trained fed cyclists.

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Michael McDougall, Noora Ronkainen, David Richardson, Martin Littlewood and Mark Nesti

In sport psychology, organizational culture is usually depicted as shared, consistent, and clear—the glue that holds people together so they can achieve success. There is, however, growing discontent in sport psychology with this idea of culture and extensive critiques in other academic domains that suggest this perspective is limited. Accordingly, the authors draw on narrative interviews with participants (n = 7) from different areas of sport and use Martin and Meyerson’s three perspective (integration, differentiation, and fragmentation) approach to culture alongside thematic analysis to reconstruct three “ideal cases” that exemplify each perspective. The findings emphasize a different pattern of meaning in each actors’ narrative and suggest the need to develop a broader, more inclusive concept of culture, so as not to minimize or dismiss cultural content that is not obviously shared, clear, or created by leadership; a course of action that can enhance both research and practice in the area.

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Ava Farley, Gary J. Slater and Karen Hind

Athletic populations require high-precision body composition assessments to identify true change. Least significant change determines technical error via same-day consecutive tests but does not integrate biological variation, which is more relevant for longitudinal monitoring. The aim of this study was to assess biological variation using least significant change measures from body composition methods used on athletes, including surface anthropometry (SA), air displacement plethysmography (BOD POD), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy (BIS). Thirty-two athletic males (age = 31 ± 7 years; stature = 183 ± 7 cm; mass = 92 ± 10 kg) underwent three testing sessions over 2 days using four methods. Least significant change values were calculated from differences in Day 1 Test 1 versus Day 1 Test 2 (same-day precision), as well as Day 1 Test 1 versus Day 2 (consecutive-day precision). There was high agreement between same-day and consecutive-day fat mass and fat-free mass measurements for all methods. Consecutive-day precision error in comparison with the same-day precision error was 50% higher for fat mass estimates from BIS (3,607 vs. 2,331 g), 25% higher from BOD POD (1,943 vs. 1,448 g) and DXA (1,615 vs. 1,204 g), but negligible from SA (442 vs. 586 g). Consecutive-day precision error for fat-free mass was 50% higher from BIS (3,966 vs. 2,276 g) and SA (1,159 vs. 568 g) and 25% higher from BOD POD (1,894 vs. 1,450 g) and DXA (1,967 vs. 1,461 g) than the same-day precision error. Precision error in consecutive-day analysis considers both technical error and biological variation, enhancing the identification of small, yet significant changes in body composition of resistance-trained male athletes. Given that change in physique is likely to be small in this population, the use of DXA, BOD POD, or SA is recommended.

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Kendra Nelson Ferguson, Craig Hall and Alison Divine

The study aimed to determine whether athletes who practice biofeedback are able to self-regulate by reaching resonance frequency and gaining physiological control quicker than if practice time integrates imagery or a rest period. Intervention effectiveness (e.g., intervention length, time spent training) was also explored. Twenty-seven university athletes were assigned to one of three groups: (a) biofeedback (i.e., continuous training), (b) biofeedback/imagery (i.e., interspersed with imagery), and (c) biofeedback/rest (i.e., interspersed with a rest period). Five biofeedback sessions training respiration rate, heart rate variability, and skin conductance were conducted. A repeated-measure analysis of variance showed a significant interaction between groups over time (p ≤ .05) for respiration rate, heart rate variability, and skin conductance, indicating that resonance frequency and physiological control was regained following imagery or a rest period. Postmanipulation check data found intervention length and training time to be sufficient. Combining imagery with biofeedback may optimize management of psychophysiological processes.

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Alisia G.T.T. Tran

With the aim of supporting anxiety screening of student-athletes, this study examined the psychometric performance of the GAD-7 and GAD-2 for assessing anxiety and other clinical mental health concerns (depression, past-year and recent suicidality) in student-athletes. Data from intercollegiate varsity athletes (N = 7,584) were drawn from the Healthy Minds Study. Reliability estimates were good in the sample. Area under the curve values were excellent for anxiety and fair to good for depression and suicidality. Across all clinical indicators, a cutoff of 6 (GAD-7) and 2 (GAD-2), respectively, yielded the most balanced sensitivity and specificity rates. Both measures positively correlated with functional impairment, academic impact, and perceived mental health and negatively correlated with positive mental health. Overall, results supported the reliability, accuracy, and construct validity of the GAD-7 and GAD-2 in a national student-athlete sample. Discussion focuses on clinical implications and practical usage of the GAD-7 and GAD-2 with student-athletes.

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Graham G. Williams and Áine MacNamara

There is compelling evidence supporting the critical role of high-quality coaching practice in supporting talented youth athletes through and beyond the talent pathway. The purpose of this study was to explore the coaching philosophies of ex-talent pathway athletes and how the meaning and purpose of their coaching in a talent pathway was influenced by their previous pathway experience. Nine participants were purposefully sampled based on their prior involvement as a youth athlete in a talent pathway and current involvement coaching in a talent pathway. The participants identified how their pathway experience influenced their coaching philosophy and applied coaching practice. Specifically, the participants described how their own youth sport experience influenced their current coaching practice through the formation of a developmental coaching philosophy, through their applied coaching practice orientated towards supporting individual development, and by using their previous pathway experience to support coaching success. These findings suggest that the philosophy underpinning talent pathway coaches’ practice was influenced by their own pathway experience, and the purpose of their practice was orientated to positively impact youth development for and beyond sport. Thus, talent pathways in sport have the capability to be recognised as positively influencing the developmental experiences of future coaching practitioners.

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Noora J. Ronkainen, Tatiana V. Ryba and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

Sport provides many youth participants with a central life project, and yet very few eventually fulfill their athletic dreams, which may lead them to disengage from sport entirely. Many studies have explored the processes of athletic retirement, but little is known about how youth athletes actually reconstruct their relationship with sport and embodiment postretirement. The authors explored these issues in the story of “Pilvi,” a Finnish alpine skier who disengaged from sport in her late adolescence. Employing an existential-phenomenological approach, they conducted six low-structured interviews with Pilvi, combined with visual methods, and identified key themes relating to the body, space, culture, and time. Their findings highlight the difficulty of building a new relationship with sport and the often restrictive cultural horizons of sport and exercise culture that limit the “possible selves.” The authors discuss the significant implications for applied practitioners helping youth athletes and effectively supporting them in leaving their sport.

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Samuel Ryan, Thomas Kempton and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose: To apply data reduction methods to athlete-monitoring measures to address the issue of data overload for practitioners of professional Australian football teams. Methods: Data were collected from 45 professional Australian footballers from 1 club during the 2018 Australian Football League season. External load was measured in training and matches by 10-Hz OptimEye S5 and ClearSky T6 GPS units. Internal load was measured via the session rate of perceived exertion method. Perceptual wellness was measured via questionnaires completed before training sessions with players providing a rating (1–5 Likert scale) of muscle soreness, sleep quality, fatigue, stress, and motivation. Percentage of maximum speed was calculated relative to individual maximum velocity recorded during preseason testing. Derivative external training load measures (total daily, weekly, and monthly) were calculated. Principal-component analyses (PCAs) were conducted for Daily and Chronic measures, and components were identified via scree plot inspection (eigenvalue > 1). Components underwent orthogonal rotation with a factor loading redundancy threshold of 0.70. Results: The Daily PCA identified components representing external load, perceived wellness, and internal load. The Chronic PCA identified components representing 28-d speed exposure, 28-d external load, 7-d external load, and 28-d internal load. Perceived soreness did not meet the redundancy threshold. Conclusions: Monitoring player exposure to maximum speed is more appropriate over chronic than short time frames to capture variations in between-matches training-cycle duration. Perceived soreness represents a distinct element of a player’s perception of wellness. Summed-variable and single-variable approaches are novel methods of data reduction following PCA of athlete monitoring data.

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Laura Martin and Martin Camiré

Coaches have been shown to play key roles in the life-skills development and transfer process. The purpose of the study was to examine coaches’ approaches to teaching life skills and their transfer in youth sport. A multiple case study design was employed. Each case was composed of one coach and at least two of their athletes involved in youth baseball, rugby, soccer, and sailing. The data collection involved pre- and postseason interviews and in-season journaling with coaches, as well as postseason interviews with athletes. The results indicated that the coaches predominantly used implicit approaches, with just over half identified as using some explicit approaches to teach life skills. The coaches discussed several factors that influenced their decisions to use or not use explicit life-skills teaching approaches. The results have implications for future research and applied efforts aimed at maximizing the developmental gains athletes can derive from their participation in sport.