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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.

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Steve M. Smith, Stewart T. Cotterill and Hazel Brown

The psychological environment where sporting activity is undertaken has been suggested to influence performance. The coach orchestrates practice activities and their perception of the psychological environment has been regularly evaluated in competition research but not in practice. The aim of this study was to explore coach perceptions of the psychological influencing factors present in the practice environment. Participants were six U.K. academy basketball coaches (mean age = 35 years). Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Five superordinate themes were constructed from data analysis, which were player characteristics, team-first orientation, current performance perceptions, coach characteristics, and coaching structure. Results suggest that the coach has a unique insight into the psychological influencing factors of the practice environment. Combined with the practice environment framework offered by Smith, Cotterill, and Brown, a model is offered to aid practitioners in understanding the interrelatedness of psychological influencing factors in the practice environment.

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Peter M. Fowler, Wade Knez, Heidi R. Thornton, Charli Sargent, Amy E. Mendham, Stephen Crowcroft, Joanna Miller, Shona Halson and Rob Duffield

Purpose: To assess the efficacy of a combined light exposure and sleep hygiene intervention to improve team-sport performance following eastward long-haul transmeridian travel. Methods: Twenty physically trained males underwent testing at 09:00 and 17:00 hours local time on 4 consecutive days at home (baseline) and the first 4 days following 21 hours of air travel east across 8 time zones. In a randomized, matched-pairs design, participants traveled with (INT; n = 10) or without (CON; n = 10) a light exposure and sleep hygiene intervention. Performance was assessed via countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, T test, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 1 tests, together with perceptual measures of jet lag, fatigue, mood, and motivation. Sleep was measured using wrist activity monitors in conjunction with self-report diaries. Results: Magnitude-based inference and standardized effect-size analysis indicated there was a very likely improvement in the mean change in countermovement jump peak power (effect size 1.10, ±0.55), and likely improvement in 5-m (0.54, ±0.67) and 20-m (0.74, ±0.71) sprint time in INT compared with CON across the 4 days posttravel. Sleep duration was most likely greater in INT both during travel (1.61, ±0.82) and across the 4 nights following travel (1.28, ±0.58) compared with CON. Finally, perceived mood and motivation were likely worse (0.73, ±0.88 and 0.63, ±0.87) across the 4 days posttravel in CON compared with INT. Conclusions: Combined light exposure and sleep hygiene improved speed and power but not intermittent-sprint performance up to 96 hours following long-haul transmeridian travel. The reduction of sleep disruption during and following travel is a likely contributor to improved performance.