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Kirsti Van Dornick and Nancy L.I. Spencer

The purpose of this study was to examine the classification experiences (perspectives and reflections) of paraswimmers. Classification provides a structure for parasport, with the goal of reducing the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition. Guided by interpretive description, nine paraswimmers ranging in swimming experience and sport class were interviewed. Reflective notes were also collected. Transcribed interviews were analyzed inductively, followed by a deductive analysis using Nordenfelt’s dignity framework. Three themes represent the findings: access, diversity, and (un)certainty. Despite several positive experiences, paraswimmers also discussed inconsistencies in the process leading them to question competition fairness and classification accuracy. These findings suggest that continued efforts to improve the classification system are required. In addition, paraswimmers and their allies (e.g., coaches) require more information about the classification process to better understand the outcomes and to effectively advocate for their needs.

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Sabrina Skorski, Jan Schimpchen, Mark Pfeiffer, Alexander Ferrauti, Michael Kellmann and Tim Meyer

Purpose: Despite indications of positive effects of sauna (SAU) interventions, effects on performance recovery are unknown. The aim of the current study was to investigate acute effects of SAU bathing after an intensive training session on recovery of swim performance. Methods: In total, 20 competitive swimmers and triathletes (3 female and 17 male) with a minimum of 2 y of competition experience (national level or higher) participated in the study. Athletes completed an intensive training session followed by either a SAU bathing intervention or a placebo (PLAC) condition in a randomized order. SAU consisted of 3 × 8 min of SAU bathing at 80–85°C, whereas during PLAC, athletes applied a deidentified, pH-balanced massage oil while passively resting in a seated position. Prior to training, swimmers conducted a 4 × 50-m all-out swim test that was repeated on the following morning. Furthermore, subjective ratings of fatigue and recovery were measured. Results: Swimmers performed significantly worse after SAU (4 × 50-m pre–post difference: +1.69 s) than after PLAC (−0.66 s; P = .02), with the most pronounced decrease in the first 50 m (P = .04; +2.7%). Overall performance of 15 athletes deteriorated (+2.6 s). The subjective feeling of stress was significantly higher after SAU than after PLAC (P = .03). Conclusion: Based on published findings, the smallest substantial change in swimming performance is an increase in time of more than 1.2 s; thus, the observed reductions appear relevant for competitive swimmers. According to the current results, coaches and athletes should be careful with postexercise SAU if high-intensity training and/or competitions are scheduled on the following day.

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Jan Schroeder, Franziska Erthel and Karsten Hollander

Purpose: Foot-strike patterns (FSP) in running are related to certain impact kinetics during ground contact. A rear-foot strike (RFS) has been associated with higher impact forces, whereas a forefoot strike (FFS) is assumed to minimize these impact forces. This study investigated the effects of running with RFS or FFS on impact-sensitive neuronal biomarkers S100 calcium-binding protein B (S100B), neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Methods: In this randomized crossover study, 18 healthy recreational runners (14 male, mean [SD] age 28.2 [4.7] y, body mass index 22.8 [1.9]) ran 2 separate 5-mile runs with RFS or FFS, respectively. Blood samples were taken before (pre), 30 min after (post 0), and 24 h after (post 24) the run. S100B, NSE, and LDH concentrations were determined and analyzed (3 × 2 data model). Results: S100B, NSE, and LDH concentrations increased from pre to post 0 and decreased within 24 h back to the baseline level, demonstrating a significant time effect (all P < .01, all ηpart2>.3). No main effect for FSP or any significant interaction effect indicating FSP-specific differences between FFS or RFS was found (all P > .05, all ηpart2<.07), except for LDH (P < .001, ηpart2=.77). Conclusions: NSE, S100B, and LDH concentration increased in the short term after running and returned to normal in 24 h. FSP with varying impact forces does not influence the increase of these biomarkers. LDH findings favor peripheral origins, but mixed effects are possible. Thus, further research is needed to estimate the risk of mild traumatic encephalopathy.

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Justin A. Haegele, Samuel R. Hodge, Xihe Zhu, Steven K. Holland and Wesley J. Wilson

The purpose of this study was to examine the perspectives of individuals with visual impairment toward inclusion and the inclusiveness of their integrated physical education experiences. A retrospective, qualitative-description research approach was used, and 10 adults (age 20–35 years) with visual impairments acted as the participants. The data sources included one-on-one telephone interviews and reflective interview notes. A theoretical thematic analysis approach was used to analyze the data. Three interrelated themes were identified: “I always felt like a misfit”: a missing sense of belonging, acceptance, and value; “I felt very excluded, very pushed to the side”: lack of access to activity participation; and “Even though it sucked, I do agree with it”: preference for integrated settings. Collectively, the participants recalled that experiencing feelings of inclusion during physical education were rare. Despite this, they expressed a perceived importance of being integrated in contexts with their peers.

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Cruz Hogan, Martyn J. Binnie, Matthew Doyle, Leanne Lester and Peter Peeling

Purpose: To compare methods of monitoring and prescribing on-water exercise intensity (heart rate [HR], stroke rate [SR], and power output [PO]) during sprint kayak training. Methods: Twelve well-trained flat-water sprint kayak athletes completed a preliminary on-water 7 × 4-min graded exercise test and a 1000-m time trial to delineate individual training zones for PO, HR, and SR into a 5-zone model (T1–T5). Subsequently, athletes completed 2 repeated trials of an on-water training session, where intensity was prescribed based on individual PO zones. Times quantified for T1–T5 during the training session were then compared between PO, HR, and SR. Results: Total time spent in T1 was higher for HR (P < .01) compared with PO. Time spent in T2 was lower for HR (P < .001) and SR (P < .001) compared with PO. Time spent in T3 was not different between PO, SR, and HR (P > .05). Time spent in T4 was higher for HR (P < .001) and SR (P < .001) compared with PO. Time spent in T5 was higher for SR (P = .03) compared with PO. Differences were found between the prescribed and actual time spent in T1–T5 when using PO (P < .001). Conclusions: The measures of HR and SR misrepresented time quantified for T1–T5 as prescribed by PO. The stochastic nature of PO during on-water training may explain the discrepancies between prescribed and actual time quantified for power across these zones. For optimized prescription and monitoring of athlete training loads, coaches should consider the discrepancies between different measures of intensity and how they may influence intensity distribution.

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Jonathon J.S. Weakley, Dale B. Read, Hugh H.K. Fullagar, Carlos Ramirez-Lopez, Ben Jones, Cloe Cummins and John A. Sampson

Purpose: To investigate whether providing global positioning system feedback to players between bouts of small-sided games (SSGs) can alter locomotor, physiological, and perceptual responses. Methods: Using a reverse counterbalanced design, 20 male university rugby players received either feedback or no feedback during “off-side” touch rugby SSGs. Eight 5v5, 6 × 4-minute SSGs were played over 4 d. Teams were assigned to a feedback or no-feedback condition (control) each day, with feedback provided during the 2-min between-bouts rest interval. Locomotor, heart rate, and differential rating of perceived exertion of breathlessness and leg-muscle exertion were measured and analyzed using a linear mixed model. Outcomes were reported using effect sizes (ES) and 90% confidence intervals (CI), and then interpreted via magnitude-based decisions. Results: Very likely trivial to unclear differences at all time points were observed in heart rate and differential rating of perceived exertion measures. Possibly to very likely trivial effects were observed between conditions, including total distance (ES = 0.15; 90 CI, −0.03 to 0.34), high-speed distance (ES = −0.07; 90 CI, −0.27 to 0.13), and maximal sprint speed (ES = 0.11; 90% CI, −0.11 to 0.34). All within-bout comparisons showed very likely to unclear differences, apart from possible increases in low-speed distance in bout 2 (ES = 0.23; 90% CI, 0.01 to 0.46) and maximal sprint speed in bout 4 (ES = 0.21; 90% CI, −0.04 to 0.45). Conclusions: In this study, verbal feedback did not alter locomotor, physiological, or perceptual responses in rugby players during SSGs. This may be due to contextual factors (eg, opposition) or the type (ie, distance) or low frequency of feedback provided.

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Juan A. Escobar Álvarez, Juan P. Fuentes García, Filipe A. Da Conceição and Pedro Jiménez-Reyes

Purpose: Ballet dancers are required to achieve performance feats such as exciting and dramatic elevations. Dancers with a greater jump height can perform a wider range of skills during their flight time and implement more specific technical skills related to the aesthetic components of a dance choreography. New findings suggest the relationship between force and velocity mechanical capabilities (F-V profile) as an important variable for jumping performance. A new field method based on several series of loaded vertical jumps provides information on the theoretical maximal force, theoretical maximal velocity, theoretical maximal power, and the imbalance between force and velocity (F-V IMB). The purpose of this study was to observe the effects of 9 wk of individualized F-V profile-based training during countermovement jumps (CMJs) in female ballet dancers. Methods: CMJ and mechanical outputs of 46 dancers (age = 18.9 [1.1] y, body mass = 54.8 [6.1] kg, height = 163.7 [8.4] cm) were estimated in a pre–post intervention. The control group (10 participants) continued with the standardized training regimen (no resistance training), whereas the experimental group (36 participants) performed 2 sessions over 9 wk of a training plan based on their F-V profile. Results: The experimental group presented significant differences with large effect sizes in CMJ height (29.3 [3.2] cm vs 33.5 [3.72] cm), theoretical maximal force (24.1 [2.2] N/kg vs 29.9 [2.8] N/kg), and theoretical maximal velocity (4 [0.6] m/s vs 3.2 [0.5] m/s). Significant differences with a very large effect size were found in F-V IMB (43.8% [15.3%] vs 24.9% [8.7%]). Conclusion: A training program addressing F-V IMB is an effective way to improve CMJ height in female ballet dancers.

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Andressa Silva, Fernanda V. Narciso, Igor Soalheiro, Fernanda Viegas, Luísa S.N. Freitas, Adriano Lima, Bruno A. Leite, Haroldo C. Aleixo, Rob Duffield and Marco T. de Mello

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between sleep quality and quantity and injuries in elite soccer players and to compare sleep–wake variables and injury characteristics. Methods: The current investigation was a prospective cohort study of 23 elite male soccer players competing for 2 teams over 6 mo in the highest-level Brazilian competition. The players’ sleep behavior was monitored for 10 d in the preseason using self-reporting sleep diaries and wrist activity monitors to determine sleep duration and quality. Furthermore, injuries were recorded by the respective club’s medical teams into a specific database. Details of injuries recorded included the type, location, and severity of each injury. The results were expressed as descriptive statistics, and the significance level was set at 5%. The Mann–Whitney U test was performed to compare the sleep variables between groups. Spearman correlation coefficient and linear-regression analysis were used. Results: The results indicated a moderate negative correlation between sleep efficiency and particular injury characteristics, including absence time, injury severity, and amount of injuries. The linear-regression analysis indicated that 44% of the total variance in the number of injuries can be explained by sleep efficiency, 24% of the total variance in the absence time after injury (days) can be explained by sleep efficiency, and 47% of the total variance in the injury severity can be explained by sleep efficiency. Conclusions: Soccer players who exhibit lower sleep quality or nonrestorative sleep show associations with increased number and severity of musculoskeletal injuries.

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Jacinta M. Saldaris, Grant J. Landers and Brendan S. Lay

Purpose: To examine the effects of precooling via crushed ice ingestion on cognitive function during exercise in the heat. Methods: Eleven active men ingested either 7 g·kg−1 of crushed ice (ICE) or thermoneutral water (CON) 30 minutes before running 90 minutes on a treadmill at a velocity equivalent to 65% VO2peak in hot and humid conditions (35.0°C [0.5°C], 53.1% [3.9%] relative humidity). Participants completed 3 cognitive tasks to investigate decision making (8-choice reaction time [CRT]), working memory (serial seven [S7]), and executive control (color multisource interference task [cMSIT]) on arrival, after precooling, and after running. Results: Precooling significantly decreased preexercise core (T core) and forehead skin temperature in ICE compared with CON, respectively (T core 0.8°C [0.4°C], –0.2°C [0.1°C]; T head –0.5°C [0.4°C], 0.2°C [0.8°C]; P ≤ .05). Postrun, ICE significantly reduced errors compared with CON for CRT (P ≤ .05; d = 0.90; 90% confidence interval, 0.13–1.60) and S7 (P ≤ .05; d = 1.05; 90% confidence interval, 0.26–1.75). Thermal sensation was lower after precooling with ICE (P ≤ .05), but no significant differences were recorded between conditions for cMSIT errors, skin temperature, heart rate, or ratings of perceived exertion or perceived thirst (P > .05). Conclusions: Precooling via ICE maintained cognitive accuracy in decision making and working memory during exercise in the heat. Thus, ICE may have the potential to improve sporting performance by resisting deleterious effects of exercise in a hot and humid environment on cognitive function.

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Olfa Turki, Wissem Dhahbi, Johnny Padulo, Riadh Khalifa, Sana Ridène, Khaled Alamri, Mirjana Milić, Sabri Gueid and Karim Chamari

Purpose: To explore the immediate (15-s post-warm-up) and the delayed (after 20 and 40 min of simulated volleyball play) effects of 2 different warm-up protocols—a stretching-free volleyball warm-up (NS) and a warm-up incorporating dynamic stretching (DS)—on subsequent change of direction (COD) performance in young elite volleyball players. Methods: Sixteen male players (age 16.88 [0.34] y, body mass 75.81 [5.41] kg, body height 1.91 [0.05] m, body mass index 20.84 [1.79] kg·m−2, and body fat percentage 9.48 [1.83]%) from the U-17 national volleyball team performed NS and DS on 2 different nonconsecutive days. During each testing session (NS and DS), half T-test performance measurements were performed after 5 minutes of a general warm-up (ie, baseline), immediately post-warm-up (after 15 s), and after 20 and 40 minutes of simulated volleyball play. Results: For DS, a significant improvement in COD performance (2.08%, P < .001) was observed after 20 minutes of play compared with the baseline values. In addition, COD performance recorded after 40 minutes of play was better than after 15-second post-warm-up (5.85%, P = .001). Inferential statistics showed better COD performance in the DS condition after 20 minutes of play (2.32%, likely negative, d = 0.61). Conclusions: Compared with NS, DS tended to affect the pattern of improvement of COD performance during play by intensifying and accelerating it. Consequently, to enhance COD performance for up to 40 minutes into the game, it is recommended that DS be incorporated to the warm-up preceding the match.