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Iñigo Mujika, Nicolas Bourdillon, Rafa González De Txabarri, and Gregoire P. Millet

Purpose: Oxygen uptake kinetics (VO2kinetics) is a measure of an athlete’s capacity to respond to variations in energy demands. Faster VO2kinetics is associated with better performance in endurance sports, but optimal training methods to improve VO2kinetics remain unclear. This study compared the effects of 2 high-intensity interval-training (HIIT) programs on traditional rowing performance and VO2kinetics. Methods: Twelve highly trained rowers performed one of two 6-week HIIT protocols: either 3-minute repetitions at 90% (HIIT90; n = 5) of peak aerobic power (PAP) or 90-second repetitions at 100% (HIIT100; n = 7) of PAP. Before (PRE) and after (POST) the training intervention, they performed an incremental test to exhaustion to determine the individual lactate threshold, onset of blood lactate accumulation and PAP, and two 6-minute rest-to-exercise transitions to determine VO2kinetics. Results: No significant changes (P > .05) were observed for rowing ergometer power output at individual lactate threshold (HIIT90 PRE 255 [12], POST 264 [13]; HIIT100 247 [24], 266 [28] W), onset of blood lactate accumulation (279 [12], 291 [16]; 269 [23], 284 [32] W), or PAP (359 [13], 381 [15]; 351 [21], 363 [29] W) or for any parameters of VO2kinetics. No differences were observed between HIIT interventions. Conclusion: The HIIT interventions did not induce significant performance or VO2kinetics improvements, although mean power output at individual lactate threshold, onset of blood lactate accumulation, and PAP increased by 5.7%, 5.0%, and 4.5%, respectively. This suggests that the exact intensity and duration of HIIT sessions performed in the same intensity domain may be of lesser importance than other well-established influential factors (eg, training volume progression, training intensity distribution, altitude training) to develop aerobic qualities in endurance athletes.

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Harry K. Warburton and Matthew J. Slater

The present study examined the influence of an online relationship-oriented personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (ROPDMS) intervention upon diverse measures of group functioning during a national lockdown. Twelve soccer coaches and one senior member of staff from a professional female soccer academy participated by openly disclosing and sharing unknown personal stories with one another. Social identity dimensions (in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and in-group affect), friendship identity content, social support, self-esteem, and a nonequivalent dependent variable were measured across four time points, while social validation was obtained immediately and 4 weeks after ROPDMS. Quantitative data revealed significant increases for in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and friendship identity content after ROPDMS, while the nonequivalent dependent variable did not significantly change. Qualitative data revealed that the coaching staff felt the session was worthwhile and enhanced aspects of team functioning. Online ROPDMS therefore appears to be a viable team-building method for practitioners seeking to strengthen social identity dimensions and friendship identity content during a national lockdown.

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Fábio Y. Nakamura, Júlio A. Costa, Bruno Travassos, Daniel Ortuño, and José Pino-Ortega

Purpose: To investigate the internal training loads of a professional Spanish female futsal team throughout 26 weeks of training including preseason and in-season weeks and verify the impact of training period and/or training load magnitudes on heart-rate variability responses. Furthermore, we aimed to assess, intraindividually, the relationship between training load and the coefficient of variation (CV) of weekly natural log of the root mean square difference of successive normal interbeat (RR) intervals (lnRMSSDCV), obtained from ∼5 measures per week, and recorded in the seated position. Methods: A within-subject design involved 12 high-level outfield female futsal players (mean [SD] age: 23.9 [3.4] y). Results: lnRMSSD was significantly lower and lnRMSSDCV was significantly higher during the preseason (weeks 1–6) compared to in-season (weeks 7–26) (P < .001). Individually, players presented moderate to large negative correlations between lnRMSSDCV and lnRMSSD during the 26 weeks of observation. Correlations ranged between r player4 = −.41 (95% CI, −.69 to −.02) and r player12 = −.55 (−.78 to −.18). Players also presented moderate to very large positive correlations between lnRMSSDCV and session rating of perceived exertion. Correlations ranged between r player7 = .41 (.04 to .71) and r player1 = .71 (.45 to .86). Conclusion: Professional female futsal players in this study presented increased lnRMSSD and reduced lnRMSSDCV during 20 weeks into the competitive season compared to 6 weeks of preseason. Furthermore, lnRMSSDCV was negatively associated with lnRMSSD on an intraindividual basis. Finally, higher internal training loads were positively correlated with lnRMSSDCV, indicating that heart-rate variability is responsive to weekly training loads.

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Zoe Louise Moffat, Paul Joseph McCarthy, Lindsey Burns, and Bryan McCann

Life-span perspectives illustrate the critical features of development that clients experience; however, little evidence exists to illustrate how to integrate these approaches or use them in sport and exercise contexts. Attending to a clients’ developmental stage is a critical component of ethical and effective professional practice. We present an account of how we considered, selected, or dismissed components of life-span perspectives throughout the stages of service delivery with James, a youth sport athlete presenting with “choking” difficulties. The life-span approach offered a context to understand James’s presenting difficulty to determine the appropriateness and applicability of intervention, and acknowledged bias and experience of the psychologist.

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Marcia L. Jerram, Dane Baker, Tiaki B. Smith, Phil Healey, Lee Taylor, and Katherine Black

Purpose: Menthol mouth swills can improve endurance performance in the heat, which is attributed to attenuations in nonthermally derived thermal sensation (TS) and perception of effort. However, research in elite team-sport athletes is absent. Therefore, this study investigated the performance and TS responses to a 0.1% menthol mouth rinse (MR) or placebo (PLA) among elite male rugby union players. Method: Twenty-seven (15 Forwards and 12 Backs) elite male Super Rugby players completed two 3-minute 15-a-side rugby-specific conditioning blocks, with MR or PLA provided at the start of training (baseline), at the start of each 3-minute block (swill 1 [S1] and swill 2 [S2]), and at the end of training (swill 3 [S3]). TS was assessed using the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers 9-point Analog Sensation Scale after each swill and at baseline (preconditioning block). Acceptability was measured after baseline swill and S3 using a 5-question Likert scale. Physical performance was measured throughout training using global positioning system metrics. Results: MR attenuated TS from baseline to S1 (P = .003, SD = 1.01) and S2 (P = .002, SD = 1.09) in Forwards only, compared with PLA. Acceptability was higher only for Forwards in MR versus PLA at baseline (P = .003, SD = 1.3) and S3 (P = .004, SD = 0.75). MR had no effect on physical performance metrics (P > .05). Conclusion: MR attenuated the rise in TS with higher acceptability at S1 and S3 (in Forwards only) with no effect on selected physical performance metrics. Longer-duration exercise (eg, a match) in hot–humid conditions eliciting markedly increased body temperatures could theoretically allow favorable changes in TS to enhance performance—these postulations warrant experimental investigation.

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David J. Scott, Massimiliano Ditroilo, Samuel T. Orange, and Phil Marshall

Purpose: To compare the effects of variable-resistance complex training (VRCT) versus traditional complex training (TCT) on strength, power, speed, and leg stiffness (Kleg) in rugby league players during a 6-week mesocycle. Methods: Twenty-four rugby league players competing in the British University and Colleges Sport Premier North Division were randomized to VRCT (n = 8), TCT (n = 8), or control (CON; n = 8). Experimental groups completed a 6-week lower-body complex training intervention (2×/wk) that involved alternating high-load resistance exercise with plyometric exercise within the same session. The VRCT group performed resistance exercises at 70% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) + 0% to 23% of 1RM from band resistance with a 90-second intracontrast rest interval, whereas the TCT group performed resistance exercise at 93% of 1RM with a 4-minute intracontrast rest interval. Back-squat 1RM, countermovement jump peak power, reactive strength index, sprint times, and Kleg were assessed pretraining and posttraining. Results: VRCT and TCT significantly improved 1RM back squat, countermovement jump peak power, and 5-m sprint time (all P < .05). VRCT also improved Kleg, whereas TCT improved 10- and 20-m sprint times (all P < .05). Between groups, both VRCT and TCT improved 1RM back squat compared with CON (both P < .001). Additionally, VRCT improved Kleg compared with CON (right leg: P = .016) and TCT improved 20-m sprint time compared with CON (P = .042). Conclusions: VRCT and TCT can be implemented during the competitive season to improve strength, power, and 5-m sprint time. VRCT may lead to greater improvements in reactive strength index and Kleg, whereas TCT may enhance 10- and 20-m sprint times.

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Alex M. Wolfe, Maria A. Pessman, Kelly R. Laurson, Dale D. Brown, and Ryan A. Brown

Purpose: This study examined differences in measures of health-related physical fitness in adolescents before and after extended school closures due to COVID-19. Method: The sample consisted of 298 students (135 males and 163 females) from a laboratory high school. Data were collected through FITNESSGRAM assessments. A repeated-measures multivariate analysis of covariance was calculated to analyze differences in fitness before and after COVID-19 closures, including McNemar–Bowker and McNemar tests. Results: Statistically significant differences were identified for Progressive Aerobic Capacity Endurance Run (−4.2%; 1.8 ml·kg−1·min−1) and curl-up (−12.5%; 7.9 repetitions). In addition, 18.8% fewer students were classified within the Healthy Fitness Zone for Progressive Aerobic Capacity Endurance Run, 4% for curl-up, 10.8% for push-up, and 6.4% for sit and reach. Conclusion: Results of this study demonstrate that there was a significant decline in physical fitness for secondary students during extended school closures and social isolation as a result of COVID-19.

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Timothy Jones, Justine Allen, and Stephen Macdonald

The purpose of this paper was to systematically review the peer-reviewed literature on the role of the coach developer (CD). Three questions guided this review: (a) who is the CD, (b) what do they do, and (c) how do they do it? Using five electronic databases—SPORTDiscus, ERIC, PsycInfo, Web of Science, and Scopus—a total of 595 articles were initially found with 42 identified as appropriate for inclusion following PRISMA guidelines. A further 11 were added, via the screening of reference lists and during the process of writing, to total 53 articles. Data analysis comprised of content analysis to describe and identify gaps in the research, and reflexive thematic analysis to facilitate the analysis of the findings from the included studies. Content analysis findings show an increase in researching this role and a breadth of methodology and theoretical frameworks being employed. Utilising reflexive thematic analysis, seven themes were generated to understand the who, what, and how of the CD. Findings suggest a diverse and contextualised appreciation of the various roles the CD undertakes as encompassed by the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) umbrella term definition. The discussion reveals the complexity of the role as CDs navigate who they are, what they do, and how they do it. Recommendations are made for future research to mediate knowledge gaps and move towards alignment and understanding of this key figure.

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Sophie Grimson, Gary Brickley, Nicholas J. Smeeton, Adam Brett, and Will Abbott

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between training load and subjective wellness in English Premier League goalkeepers (GKs) and examine potential positional differences in subjective wellness. Methods: A total of 34 players (GK = 7, outfield = 27) completed a daily subjective wellness questionnaire assessing sleep quality, sleep hours, fatigue, mood, soreness, and total wellness over two and a half seasons. Ten-Hertz GPS devices were worn during training to calculate previous-day and 7-day total distance, player load, total dives, total dive load, average time to feet, and high, medium, and low jumps. Results: All previous 7-day training loads were associated with all wellness markers (r = .073 to .278, P < .05). However, associations between previous 7-day dive load and mood, average time to feet, and both sleep quality and quantity, and between low jumps and sleep quality, were not significant. For previous-day metrics, total distance was associated with all wellness markers (r = .097 to .165, P < .05). In addition, player load and high jump were associated with fatigue, soreness, and wellness (r = .096 to .189, P < .05). Total dives and soreness were also related (r = .098, P < .05), and relationships were evident between average time to feet, medium jumps, and all wellness markers excluding sleep quality (r = .114 to .185, P < .05). No positional differences in subjective wellness occurred (P > .05). Conclusion: Some GK GPS variables are associated with subjective wellness, which could inform training-load prescription to maximize recovery and performance. In addition, GKs are no more vulnerable to poorer subjective wellness when compared with outfield players.

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Meredith Wekesser, Guilherme H. Costa, Piotr J. Pasik, and Karl Erickson

Adapted sport participation can have many positive benefits for adults with disabilities. However, one barrier to implementing successful adapted sport programs is lack of knowledgeable volunteers who understand accessibility and disability. In fact, little is known about volunteers’ experiences in adapted sport programs. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively examine experiences of able-bodied volunteers in an adapted sport program. A sample of 105 able-bodied volunteers (M age = 24.28 ± 1.93) completed an online qualitative survey to share their experiences. Data were analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis, and seven main themes were identified. Results showed that despite differences in initial motives for volunteering, involvement in an adapted sport program was transformative and, for some, life changing. Able-bodied volunteers experienced a wide range of benefits including deeper understanding and awareness of disability and inclusion in sport. Practical recommendations are provided for volunteer-based adapted sport program leaders.