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Simon A. Feros, Damon A. Bednarski, and Peter J. Kremer

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between prescribed (preDI), perceived (perDI), and actual delivery intensity (actDI) in cricket pace bowling. Methods: Fourteen male club-standard pace bowlers (mean [SD]: age 24.2 [3.2] y) completed 1 bowling session comprising 45 deliveries. The first 15 deliveries composed the warm-up, where participants bowled 3 deliveries each at a preDI of 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, and 95%. Bowlers reported the perDI after each delivery. The fastest delivery in the session was used as a reference to calculate relative ball-release speed for the warm-up deliveries, with this measure representing the actDI. Ball-release speed was captured by a radar gun. Results: For perDI, there was a very large relationship with preDI (rs = .90, P < .001). Similarly, for actDI, there was a large relationship with preDI (rs = .52, P < .001). Higher concordance was observed between perDI and preDI from 60% to 80% preDI. A plateau was observed for actDI from 70% to 95% preDI. Conclusions: The relationship between perDI and actDI was very large and large with respect to preDI, indicating that both variables can be used to monitor delivery intensity against the planned intensity and thus ensure healthy training adaptation. The optimal preDI that allowed pace bowlers to operate at submaximal perDI but still achieve close to maximal ball-release speeds was 70%. Bowling at the optimal preDI may significantly reduce the psychophysiological load per delivery in exchange for a trivial loss in ball-release speed.

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Spencer S.H. Roberts, Emma Falkenberg, Alysha Stevens, Brad Aisbett, Michele Lastella, and Dominique Condo

Purpose: Australian football has elite men’s (Australian Football League; AFL) and women’s (Australian Football League Women’s; AFLW) competitions. This study compared AFL and AFLW players’ sleep and characterized players’ sleep in the context of current sleep recommendations. Methods: A total of 70 players (36 AFL, 34 AFLW) had their sleep monitored via actigraphy over a 10-day preseason period. Sleep outcomes and their intraindividual variation, were compared between AFL and AFLW players using linear mixed models. Proportions of players sleeping ≥7 and ≥8 hours per night, and achieving ≥85% sleep efficiency, were compared using chi-square analyses. Results: Compared with AFL players, AFLW players slept less (7.9 [0.5] vs 7.1 [0.6] h, P = .000), had lower sleep efficiency (89.5% [2.8%] vs 84.0% [4.4%], P = .000), and greater intraindividual variation in sleep efficiency (3.1% [0.9%] vs 5.1% [2.1%], P = .000). A total of 47% of AFLW versus 3% of AFL players averaged <7 hours sleep (χ 2 = 18.6, P = .000). A total of 88% of AFLW versus 50% of AFL players averaged <8 hours sleep (χ 2 = 11.9, P = .001). A total of 53% of AFLW versus 14% of AFL players averaged <85% sleep efficiency (χ 2 = 12.1, P = .001). Conclusions: AFLW players slept less and had poorer sleep quality than AFL players. Many AFLW players do not meet current sleep duration or sleep quality recommendations. Research should test strategies to improve sleep among Australian rules footballers, particularly among elite women.

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Cédric Leduc, Julien Robineau, Jason C. Tee, Jeremy Cheradame, Ben Jones, Julien Piscione, and Mathieu Lacome

Purpose: To explore the effects of travel related to international rugby sevens competition on sleep patterns. Methods: A total of 17 international male rugby sevens players participated in this study. Actigraphic and subjective sleep assessments were performed daily during 2 separate Sevens World Series competition legs (Oceania and America). The duration of each competition leg was subdivided into key periods (pretour, precompetition, tournament 1, relocation, tournament 2, and posttour) lasting 2 to 7 nights. Linear mixed models in combination with magnitude-based decisions were used to assess (1) the difference between preseason and key periods and (2) the effect of travel direction (eastward or westward). Results: Shorter total sleep time (hours:minutes) was observed during tournament 2 (mean [SD], 06:16 [01:08]), relocation (06:09 [01:09]), and the pretour week (06:34 [01:24]) compared with the preseason (06:52 [01:00]). Worse sleep quality (arbitrary units) was observed during tournament 1 (6.1 [2.0]) and 2 (5.7 [1.2]), as well as during the relocation week (6.3 [1.5]) than during the preseason (6.5 [1.8]). When traveling eastward compared with westward, earlier fall-asleep time was observed during tournament 1 (ES − 0.57; 90% CI, −1.12 to −0.01), the relocation week (−0.70 [−1.11 to −0.28]), and the posttour (−0.57 [−0.95 to −0.18]). However, possibly trivial and unclear differences were observed during the precompetition week (0.15 [−0.15 to 0.45]) and tournament 2 (0.81 [−0.29 to 1.91]). Conclusion: The sleep patterns of elite rugby sevens players are robust to the effects of long-haul travel and jet lag. However, the staff should consider promoting sleep during the tournament and relocation week.

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Leanne K. Elliott, Jonathan A. Weiss, and Meghann Lloyd

Early motor skill interventions have been shown to improve the motor skill proficiency of children with autism spectrum disorder; however, little is known about the secondary effects associated with these types of interventions (e.g., influence on behavior, social skills, family dynamics). The purpose of this qualitative study was to (a) investigate parents’ perceptions of the child-level benefits associated with a fundamental motor skill intervention for their 4-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder and (b) explore how child-level benefits influenced the family unit. Eight parents (N = 8) were interviewed (semistructured) about their experiences with the intervention for their child(ren); the study was grounded in phenomenology. Five main child-level benefits emerged, including improvements with (a) motor skills, (b) social skills, (c) listening skills, (d) turn-taking skills, and (e) transition skills. The child-level benefits then extended to family members in a number of ways (e.g., more positive sibling interactions). These findings highlight several important secondary effects that should be investigated in future research.

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Wing-Chun V. Yeung, Chris Bishop, Anthony N. Turner, and Sean J. Maloney

Purpose: Previously, it has been shown that loaded warm-up (LWU) can improve change-of-direction speed (CODS) in professional badminton players. However, the effect of asymmetry on CODS in badminton players and the influence of LWU on asymmetry has not been examined. Methods: A total of 21 amateur badminton players (age 29.5 [8.4] y, playing experience 8.4 [4.2] y) completed 2 trials. In the first, they performed a control warm-up. In the second, they performed the same warm-up but with 3 exercises loaded with a weight vest (LWU). Following both warm-ups, players completed single-leg countermovement jump and badminton-specific CODS tests. Results: No significant differences between control warm-up and LWU were observed for CODS, single-leg countermovement jump, or single-leg countermovement jump asymmetry. However, small effect sizes suggested faster CODS (mean difference: −5%; d = −0.32) and lower asymmetries (mean difference: −3%; d = −0.39) following LWU. Five players (24%) experienced CODS improvements greater than the minimum detectable change while 2 (10%) responded negatively. Asymmetry was not correlated with CODS following control warm-up (ρ = .079; P = .733) but was negatively associated with CODS after LWU (ρ = −.491; P = .035). Conclusion: LWU may prove a strategy to trial on an individual basis, but generic recommendations should not be applied.

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Thomas Mullen, Craig Twist, Matthew Daniels, Nicholas Dobbin, and Jamie Highton

Purpose: To identify the association between several contextual match factors, technical performance, and external movement demands on the subjective task load of elite rugby league players. Methods: Individual subjective task load, quantified using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), was collected from 29 professional rugby league players from one club competing in the European Super League throughout the 2017 season. The sample consisted of 26 matches (441 individual data points). Linear mixed modeling revealed that various combinations of contextual factors, technical performance, and movement demands were associated with subjective task load. Results: Greater number of tackles (effect size correlation ± 90% confidence intervals; η 2 = .18 ± .11), errors (η 2 = .15 ± .08), decelerations (η 2 = .12 ± .08), increased sprint distance (η 2 = .13 ± .08), losing matches (η 2 = .36 ± .08), and increased perception of effort (η 2 = .27 ± .08) led to most likely–very likely increases in subjective total task load. The independent variables included in the final model for subjective mental demand (match outcome, time played, and number of accelerations) were unclear, excluding a likely small correlation with technical errors (η 2 = .10 ± .08). Conclusions: These data provide a greater understanding of the subjective task load and their association with several contextual factors, technical performance, and external movement demands during rugby league competition. Practitioners could use this detailed quantification of internal loads to inform recovery sessions and current training practices.

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Ricardo Augusto Silva de Souza, André Guedes da Silva, Magda Ferreira de Souza, Liliana Kataryne Ferreira Souza, Hamilton Roschel, Sandro Fernandes da Silva, and Bryan Saunders

CrossFit® is a high-intensity functional training method consisting of daily workouts called “workouts of the day.” No nutritional recommendations exist for CrossFit® that are supported by scientific evidence regarding the energetic demands of this type of activity or dietary and supplement interventions. This systematic review performed in accordance with PRISMA guidelines aimed to identify studies that determined (a) the physiological and metabolic demands of CrossFit® and (b) the effects of nutritional strategies on CrossFit® performance to guide nutritional recommendations for optimal recovery, adaptations, and performance for CrossFit® athletes and direct future research in this emerging area. Three databases were searched for studies that investigated physiological responses to CrossFit® and dietary or supplementation interventions on CrossFit® performance. Various physiological measures revealed the intense nature of all CrossFit® workouts of the day, reflected in substantial muscle fatigue and damage. Dietary and supplementation studies provided an unclear insight into effective strategies to improve performance and enhance adaptations and recovery due to methodological shortcomings across studies. This systematic review showed that CrossFit® is a high-intensity sport with fairly homogenous anaerobic and aerobic characteristics, resulting in substantial metabolic stress, leading to metabolite accumulation (e.g., lactate and hydrogen ions) and increased markers of muscle damage and muscle fatigue. Limited interventional data exist on dietary and supplementation strategies to optimize CrossFit® performance, and most are moderate to very low quality with some critical methodological limitations, precluding solid conclusions on their efficacy. High-quality work is needed to confirm the ideal dietary and supplemental strategies for optimal performance and recovery for CrossFit® athletes and is an exciting avenue for further research.

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Carl Foster, Daniel Boullosa, Michael McGuigan, Andrea Fusco, Cristina Cortis, Blaine E. Arney, Bo Orton, Christopher Dodge, Salvador Jaime, Kim Radtke, Teun van Erp, Jos J. de Koning, Daniel Bok, Jose A. Rodriguez-Marroyo, and John P. Porcari

The session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) method was developed 25 years ago as a modification of the Borg concept of rating of perceived exertion (RPE), designed to estimate the intensity of an entire training session. It appears to be well accepted as a marker of the internal training load. Early studies demonstrated that sRPE correlated well with objective measures of internal training load, such as the percentage of heart rate reserve and blood lactate concentration. It has been shown to be useful in a wide variety of exercise activities ranging from aerobic to resistance to games. It has also been shown to be useful in populations ranging from patients to elite athletes. The sRPE is a reasonable measure of the average RPE acquired across an exercise session. Originally designed to be acquired ∼30 minutes after a training bout to prevent the terminal elements of an exercise session from unduly influencing the rating, sRPE has been shown to be temporally robust across periods ranging from 1 minute to 14 days following an exercise session. Within the training impulse concept, sRPE, or other indices derived from sRPE, has been shown to be able to account for both positive and negative training outcomes and has contributed to our understanding of how training is periodized to optimize training outcomes and to understand maladaptations such as overtraining syndrome. The sRPE as a method of monitoring training has the advantage of extreme simplicity. While it is not ideal for the precise recording of the details of the external training load, it has large advantages relative to evaluating the internal training load.

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Wolfgang Schobersberger, Michael Mairhofer, Simon Haslinger, Arnold Koller, Christian Raschner, Sibylle Puntscher, and Cornelia Blank

Purpose: To analyze the predictive value of parameters of submaximal and maximal cardiopulmonary exercise performance on International Ski Federation (Fédération Internationale de Ski) World Cup ranking (FIS ranking) in elite Austrian Alpine skiers. Methods: Over 7 World Cup seasons (2012–2018), exercise data (maximal oxygen uptake and maximum power output, lactate threshold 2, and ventilatory threshold 2, based on stepwise cycle spiroergometry) were analyzed to determine whether there was a correlation between world FIS ranking and exercise capacity of male and female elite Alpine skiers. Results: The data of 39 male skiers (age: 27.67 [4.20] y, body mass index: 26.03 [1.25] kg/m2) and 36 female skiers (age: 25.49 [3.18] y, body mass index: 22.97 [1.71] kg/m2) were included in this study. The maximum oxygen uptake and maximum power output ranged from 4.37 to 4.42 W/kg and 53.41 to 54.85 mL/kg/min in men and from 4.17 to 4.30 W/kg and 45.96 to 49.16 mL/kg/min in women, respectively, over the 7 seasons; the yearly mean FIS ranking ranged from 17 to 24 in men and 9 to 18 in women. In a fixed-effects model used for the subsequent panel regression analysis, no statistically significant effect on FIS ranking was found for the exercise parameters of interest. Conclusions: Neither maximal aerobic tests nor maximum power output significantly predicted competitive performance, as indexed by the FIS ranking. This reinforces the assumption that no single parameter determines competition performance in this complex sport. Therefore, identifying the optimum amount of endurance training remains a major challenge for athletes and coaches, as does identifying and improving the factors that determine performance.