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Talent Development in Adolescent Team Sports: A Review

Darren J. Burgess and Geraldine A. Naughton

Traditional talent development pathways for adolescents in team sports follow talent identification procedures based on subjective games ratings and isolated athletic assessment. Most talent development models are exclusive rather than inclusive in nature. Subsequently, talent identification may result in discontentment, premature stratification, or dropout from team sports. Understanding the multidimensional differences among the requirements of adolescent and elite adult athletes could provide more realistic goals for potential talented players. Coach education should include adolescent development, and rewards for team success at the adolescent level should reflect the needs of long-term player development. Effective talent development needs to incorporate physical and psychological maturity, the relative age effect, objective measures of game sense, and athletic prowess. The influences of media and culture on the individual, and the competing time demands between various competitions for player training time should be monitored and mediated where appropriate. Despite the complexity, talent development is a worthy investment in professional team sport.

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An Examination of the Anaerobic Capacity of Children Using Maximal Accumulated Oxygen Deficit

John S. Carlson and Geraldine A. Naughton

The purpose of this study was to determine the anaerobic capacity of children using the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit technique (AOD). Eighteen healthy children (9 boys, 9 girls) with a mean age of 10.6 years volunteered as subjects. Peak oxygen uptake and submaximal steady-state oxygen uptake tests were conducted against progressive constant work rates on a Cybex cycle ergometer. Supramaximal work rates were predicted from the linear regression of submaximal steady-state work rates and oxygen uptakes to equal 110, 130, and 150% of peak oxygen uptake. Results indicated a significant interaction in the responses of both sexes when the accumulated oxygen deficit data were expressed in both absolute and relative terms. The profile of accumulated oxygen deficits across the three intensities indicated a downward shift in the girls responses between the 110 and 150% supramaximal tests. This trend was not evident in the boys’ responses. Intraclass correlations conducted on test-retest data indicated that compared to the boys, the reliability of the girls in the accumulated oxygen deficits in liters and ml·kg−1 was poorer.

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The Accumulated Oxygen Deficit Measure and Its Application in Pediatric Exercise Science

Geraldine A. Naughton and John S. Carlson

A definitive measure for assessing the energy contribution of anaerobic pathways during exhaustive exercise remains inconclusive. The accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD) has been used in several studies to estimate energy contribution. The underlying assumptions of the AOD measure have been criticized for underestimating the true contribution of anaerobic metabolism in high intensity exercise. Indeed, the AOD measure has been the subject of much controversy. Several of the physiological exercise responses of children may lead to an even greater underestimation of the anaerobic energy contribution to high intensity exercise in children than adults when AOD measures are calculated.

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Bone Health of Young Male Gymnasts: A Systematic Review

Lauren A. Burt, David A. Greene, and Geraldine A. Naughton

Purpose: To synthesize existing literatures on the impact of gymnastics participation on the skeletal health of young male gymnasts. Methods: Following a systematic search, 12 studies were included in this review. Quality of included studies was assessed using the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE modified) criteria. Results: Assessment of skeletal health varied between and within imaging modality protocols. Gymnasts had higher total bone content, greater total and trabecular bone density, larger bone size, a thicker cortex, and higher estimates of bone strength than controls. Recreational studies reported no difference in height or weight between gymnasts and controls; however, elite gymnasts were shorter and lighter than nongymnasts. STROBE scores ranged from 65% to 95%. Conclusion: Gymnastics participation may be beneficial to the bone health of young males as gymnasts had higher bone density and bone mineral content, larger bones, and greater estimates of bone strength than controls.

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Anaerobic Characteristics and Performance of Prepubertal Asthmatic and Nonasthmatic Males

David C. Buttifant, John S. Carlson, and Geraldine A. Naughton

Anaerobic characteristics of preadolescent asthmatic and nonasthmatic males were measured using the accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD) on 10 asthmatics (mean age = 10.9 years) and 10 nonasthmatics (mean age = 11.1 years). Subjects ran to exhaustion at speeds that were 110% and 130% of their V̇O2 peak. Mean AOD values for 110% and 130% were 53.23 ± 4.02 and 50.60 ± 2. 81 ml · kg−1, respectively, for the asthmatic children’s and 51.59 ± 2.66 and 47.04 ± 3.44 ml · kg−1, respectively, for the nonasthmatic children. There were no statistically significant differences in anaerobic characteristics measured by AOD values (p > .05) between intensities and groups. FEV1 data revealed that there was no bronchoconstriction occurring in either group under either of the test intensity conditions for up to 15 min postexercise.

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Comparison of Fluid Balance between Competitive Swimmers and Less Active Adolescents

Dean G. Higham, Geraldine A. Naughton, Lauren A. Burt, and Xiaocai Shi

The aim of this study was to compare daily hydration profiles of competitive adolescent swimmers and less active maturation- and sex-matched controls. Hydration profiles of 35 competitive adolescent swimmers (male n = 18, female n = 17) and 41 controls (male n = 29, female n = 12) were monitored on 4 consecutive days. First morning hydration status was determined independently by urine specific gravity (USG) and urine color. Changes in fluid balance were estimated during the school day and in training sessions after adjusting for self-reported urine losses and fluid intake. Urinalyses revealed consistent fluid deficits (USG >1.020, urine color ≥5) independent of activity group, sex, and day of testing (hypohydration in 73–85% of samples, p > .05). Fluid balance and intake were observed over typical school days in males and females from the 2 groups. During training, male swimmers lost more fluid relative to initial body mass but drank no more than females. Although both activity groups began each testing day with a similar hydration status, training induced significant variations in fluid balance in the swimmers compared with controls. Despite minimal fluid losses during individual training sessions (<2% body mass), these deficits significantly increased fluid needs for young swimmers over the school day.

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Bone and Muscle Geometry in Female Adolescent Middle-Distance Runners

David A. Greene, Geraldine A. Naughton, Julie N. Briody, Allan Kemp, Helen Woodhead, and Nathalie Farpour-Lambert

This study compared tibial bone and muscle geometry and total body and regional bone mineral content (BMC) in elite female adolescent middle-distance runners (n = 20, age: 16 ± 1.7 years) and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 20, 16 ± 1.8 years) using magnetic resonance imaging and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Significant advantages were found in athletes compared with controls in bone and muscle geometric values for distal tibial cortical, medullary cavity, distal tibial total muscle and dorsi flexor muscle compartment cross-sectional area, and regional BMC. Results imply mechanical loads associated with middle-distance running might be beneficial to musculoskeletal health in adolescent females.