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Ebrahim Norouzi, Fatemeh Sadat Hosseini, Mohammad Vaezmosavi, Markus Gerber, Uwe Pühse and Serge Brand

In sport such as darts, athletes are particularly challenged by demands for concentration, skills underpinned by implicit learning, and fine motor skill control. Several techniques have been proposed to improve the implicit learning of such skills, including quiet eye training (QET) and quiet mind training (QMT). Here, the authors tested whether and to what extent QET or QMT, compared with a control condition, might improve skills among novice dart players. In total, 30 novice dart players were randomly assigned either to the QET, QMT, or a control condition. Dart playing skills were assessed four times: at the baseline, 7 days later, under stress conditions, and at the study’s end. Over time, errors reduced, but more so in the QET and QMT conditions than in the control condition. The pattern of the results indicates that, among novice dart players and compared with a control condition, both QET and QMT provide significant improvements in implicit learning.

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Robyn F. Madden, Kelly A. Erdman, Jane Shearer, Lawrence L. Spriet, Reed Ferber, Ash T. Kolstad, Jessica L. Bigg, Alexander S.D. Gamble and Lauren C. Benson

Purpose: To determine the effects of low-dose caffeine supplementation (3 mg/kg body mass) consumed 1 h before the experiment on rating of perceived exertion (RPE), skills performance (SP), and physicality in male college ice hockey players. Methods: Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover experimental design, 15 college ice hockey players participated in SP trials and 14 participated in scrimmage (SC) trials on a total of 4 d, with prescribed ice hockey tasks occurring after a 1-h high-intensity practice. In the SP trials, time to complete and error rate for each drill of the validated Western Hockey League Combines Testing Standard were recorded. Peak head accelerations, trunk contacts, and offensive performance were quantified during the SC trials using accelerometery and video analysis. RPE was assessed in both the SP and SC trials. Results: RPE was significantly greater in the caffeine (11.3 [2.0]) than placebo (9.9 [1.9]) condition postpractice (P = .002), with a trend toward greater RPE in caffeine (16.9 [1.8]) than placebo (15.7 [2.8]) post-SC (P = .05). There was a greater number of peak head accelerations in the caffeine (4.35 [0.24]) than placebo (4.14 [0.24]) condition (P = .028). Performance times, error rate, and RPE were not different between intervention conditions during the SP trials (P > .05). Conclusions: A low dose of caffeine has limited impact on sport-specific skill performance and RPE but may enhance physicality during ice hockey SCs.

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Richard J. Boergers, Thomas G. Bowman, Nicole Sgherza, Marguerite Montjoy, Melanie Lu and Christopher W. O’Brien

In 2015, new practice recommendations to remove equipment prior to transport when cervical spine injury is suspected were released. The purpose of this study was to determine current emergency management practices and perceptions of the new practice recommendation. We received completed mixed-method surveys from 143 athletic trainers practicing in the Mid-Atlantic region (response rate = 10.11%). The majority of respondents stated that the number of personnel required, along with the training and time to practice equipment removal, were barriers to implementation. Requiring assistance from emergency medical services (EMS) was common, but many failed to practice with local EMS. Emergency management procedures should be appropriate given the resources (personnel and training) available. Collaboration between athletic trainers and EMS is needed.

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Paul Comfort, Thomas Dos’Santos, Paul A. Jones, John J. McMahon, Timothy J. Suchomel, Caleb Bazyler and Michael H. Stone

Purpose: To determine the reliability of early force production (50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 ms) relative to peak force (PF) during an isometric mid-thigh pull and to assess the relationships between these variables. Methods: Male collegiate athletes (N = 29; age 21.1 [2.9] y, height 1.71 [0.07] m, body mass 71.3 [13.6] kg) performed isometric mid-thigh pulls during 2 separate testing sessions. Net PF and net force produced at each epoch were calculated. Within- and between-session reliabilities were determined using intraclass correlation coefficients and coefficient of variation percentages. In addition, Pearson correlation coefficients and coefficient of determination were calculated to examine the relationships between PF and time-specific force production. Results: Net PF and time-specific force demonstrated very high to almost perfect reliability both within and between sessions (intraclass correlation coefficients .82–.97; coefficient of variation percentages 0.35%–1.23%). Similarly, time-specific force expressed as a percentage of PF demonstrated very high to almost perfect reliability both within and between sessions (intraclass correlation coefficients .76–.86; coefficient of variation percentages 0.32%–2.51%). Strong to nearly perfect relationships (r = .615–.881) exist between net PF and time-specific net force, with relationships improving over longer epochs. Conclusion: Based on the smallest detectable difference, a change in force at 50 milliseconds expressed relative to PF > 10% and early force production (100, 150, 200, and 250 ms) expressed relative to PF of >2% should be considered meaningful. Expressing early force production as a percentage of PF is reliable and may provide greater insight into the adaptations to the previous training phase than PF alone.

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Erika Zemková and Michal Jeleň

Objective: This study investigates the ability of subjects to differentiate the strength of back muscle contraction with and without feedback information on force produced under fatigue and nonfatigue conditions. Design: Controlled laboratory study. Setting: Research laboratory environment. Participants: A group of 52 healthy young men participated in the study. Intervention: Subjects self-estimated 50% of the maximal voluntary isometric contraction of back muscles either on their own volition or on the basis of information about the actual force, before and after the Sørensen fatigue test. Main Outcome Measures: The force was measured by means of the FiTRO Back Dynamometer. Results: The self-estimated 50% maximal voluntary isometric contraction was significantly higher than the one calculated from maximal voluntary isometric contraction during 10 trials in 2 repeated sessions (8.3% and 10.0%, P < .05). However, when feedback on the force produced was provided, significantly higher values were observed during an initial trial in both sessions (8.5%, P = .04 and 12.1%, P = .01). Subjects were able to estimate the target force during the following trials. Fatigue induced a decrease in peak force (7.7%, P = .04), whereas the ability to regulate the prescribed force was not compromised. Constant error was lower with than without force feedback during both measurements (2.15% and 6.85%; 3.06% and 8.56%). However, constant and variable errors were greater under fatigue than nonfatigue conditions (8.43% and 5.55%; 0.41% and 0.37%). Similarly, root mean square error decreased with force feedback (from 6.88% to 3.48% and from 8.74% to 5.09%) and increased under fatigue (from 5.87% to 8.67%). Conclusions: These findings indicate that force feedback plays a role in the differentiation of the strength of back muscle contraction, regardless of fatigue. It contributes to a more precise regulation of force produced during voluntary isometric contraction of back muscles. This promising method awaits further experimentation to be applied for individuals with low back pain.

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Jason R. Boynton, Fabian Danner, Paolo Menaspà, Jeremiah J. Peiffer and Chris R. Abbiss

Purpose: To examine the effect of environmental temperature (T A) on performance and physiological responses (eg, body temperature, cardiopulmonary measures) during a high-intensity aerobic interval session. It was hypothesized that power output would be highest in the 13°C condition and lower in the 5°C, 22°C, and 35°C conditions. Methods: Eleven well-trained cyclists randomly completed 4 interval sessions at 5°C, 13°C, 22°C, and 35°C (55% [13%] relative humidity), each involving five 4-min intervals interspersed with 5 min of recovery. During the intervals, power output, core temperature (T C), skin temperature, VO2, and heart rate were recorded. Results: Mean session power output for 13°C (366 [32] W) was not higher than 5°C (363 [32] W; P = 1.00, effect size = 0.085), 22°C (364 [36] W; P = 1.00, effect size = 0.061), or 35°C (352 [31] W; P = .129, effect size = 0.441). The 5th interval of the 35°C condition had a lower power output compared with all other T A. T C was higher in 22°C compared with both 5°C and 13°C (P = .001). VO2 was not significantly different across T A (P = .187). Heart rate was higher in the 4th and 5th intervals of 35°C compared with 5°C and 13°C. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that while mean power outputs for intervals are similar across T A, hot T A (≥35°C) reduces interval power output later in a training session. Well-trained cyclists performing maximal high-intensity aerobic intervals can achieve near-optimal power output over a broader range of T A than previous literature would indicate.

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Özlem Aslan, Elif Balevi Batur and Jale Meray

Context: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint condition. Muscle dysfunction plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of knee OA. Objective: It has been suggested that the agonist–antagonist strength relationship for the knee may be better described by a functional hamstring/quadriceps (H/Q) ratio (Hconcentric/Qeccentric: the representative of knee flexion and Qeccentric/Hconcentric: the representative of knee extension). Therefore, in this study, the authors aimed to investigate this ratio and its importance for knee OA. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Research clinic. Patients or Other Participant(s): Twenty healthy women and 20 women with grade 2 or grade 3 primer knee OA between the age of 50 and 80 years were included in this study. Intervention(s): Concentric and eccentric peak torque of quadriceps and hamstring muscles were evaluated for all individuals in patient and control groups with a Cybex isokinetic device. Functional H/Q ratio is calculated manually. Main Outcome Measure(s): Functional H/Q torque ratios were analyzed between the patients with OA and healthy individuals by using the isokinetic system. Results: The values of peak torque of hamstring concentric and eccentric and quadriceps concentric for the patient group were significantly lower than the control group (P < .05). No statistically important difference was found for quadriceps eccentric peak torque between 2 groups (P > .05). H/Q ratio for extension in the patient group was significantly higher than the control group (P < .05), whereas the H/Q ratio for flexion in the patient group was significantly lower than the control group (P < .05). Conclusion: This study showed the weakness of both quadriceps and hamstring muscles in patients with knee OA. The combination of functional H/Q ratio with hamstring and quadriceps muscles concentric and eccentric strength values can help to analyze the knee functions and develop preventive-therapeutic approaches for knee OA.

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Michele Merlini, Greg Whyte, Sam Marcora, Mike Loosemore, Neil Chester and John Dickinson

Purpose: To investigate the impact of twice-daily inhalation of 100 µg of salmeterol (SAL) or 12 µg of formoterol (FOR) in addition to a strength- and power-training program over a 5-wk period on a 30-m sprint, strength, power, mood, stress, and skinfold thickness. Methods: In a randomized, single-blind study, 23 male and 15 female nonasthmatic, recreationally active individuals were recruited (mean [SD] age 26.3 [5.4] y, weight 76.2 [11.5] kg, height 176.9 [8.5] cm). Participants completed 3 standardized whole-body strength- and power-training sessions per week for 5 wk during which they were assigned to an SAL, FOR, or placebo group. Participants used their inhaler twice per day as instructed and completed assessments of sprint, strength, and power at baseline and 1 wk after cessation of the training program. The assessments included a 30-m sprint, vertical jump, 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) bench press, 1RM leg press, peak torque flexion and extension, anthropometric evaluation, and Rest-Q questionnaires. Results: After 5 wk of strength and power training, 30-m sprint time reduced in the FOR (0.29 [0.11] s, P = .049) and SAL (0.35 [0.05] s, P = .040) groups compared with placebo (+0.01 [0.11] s). No significant change was found in other assessments of strength, mood, or skinfold thickness. Conclusions: When strength and power training are combined with the inhalation of FOR or SAL over a 5-wk period, moderately trained individuals experience an improvement in 30-m sprint performance.

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Teun van Erp, Marco Hoozemans, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose: A valid measure for training load (TL) is an important tool for cyclists, trainers, and sport scientists involved in professional cycling. The aim of this study was to explore the influence of exercise intensity on the association between kilojoules (kJ) spent and different measures of TL to arrive at valid measures of TL. Methods: Four years of field data were collected from 21 cyclists of a professional cycling team, including 11,716 training and race sessions. kJ spent was obtained from power output measurements, and others TLs were calculated based on the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE), heart rate (Lucia training impulse [luTRIMP]), and power output (training stress score [TSS]). Exercise intensity was expressed by the intensity factor (IF). To study the effect of exercise intensity on the association between kJ spent and various other TLs (sRPE, luTRIMP, and TSS), data from low- and high-intensity sessions were subjected to regression analyses using generalized estimating equations. Results: This study shows that the IF is significantly different for training and race sessions (0.59 [0.03] vs 0.73 [0.03]). Significant regression coefficients show that kJ spent is a good predictor of sRPE, and luTRIMP, as well as TSS. However, IF does not influence the associations between kJ spent and sRPE and luTRIMP, while the association with TSS is different when sessions are done with low or high IF. Conclusion: It seems that the TSS reacts differently to exercise intensity than sRPE and luTRIMP. A possible explanation could be the quadratic relation between IF and TSS.