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Wayne Brown and Matt Greig

The epidemiology and etiology of ankle sprain injuries in soccer have been well described. Retrospective analysis of epidemiological data identified an English Premier League player sustaining a high lateral ankle sprain. GPS data collated during the training session in which the injury was sustained, and subsequent rehabilitation sessions, were analyzed to quantify uniaxial PlayerLoad metrics. The injured player revealed a 3:1 asymmetrical loading pattern in the mediolateral plane and multiaxial high loading events which might present the inciting event to injury. The high magnitude, asymmetrical and multiplanar loading is consistent with lateral ankle sprain etiology.

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Michel S. Brink, Anna W. Kersten, and Wouter G.P. Frencken

A mismatch between the training exertion intended by a coach and the exertion perceived by players is well established in sports. However, it is unknown whether coaches can accurately observe exertion of individual players during training. Furthermore, the discrepancy in coaches’ and players’ perceptions has not been explained.

Purpose:

To determine the relation between intended and observed training exertion by the coach and perceived training exertion by the players and establish whether on-field training characteristics, intermittent endurance capacity, and maturity status explain the mismatch.

Methods:

During 2 mesocycles of 4 wk (in November and March), rating of intended exertion (RIE), rating of observed exertion (ROE), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were monitored in 31 elite young soccer players. External and internal training loads were objectively quantified with accelerometers (PlayerLoad) and heart-rate monitors (TRIMPmod). Results of an interval shuttle-run test (ISRT) and age at peak height velocity (APHV) were determined for all players.

Results:

RIE, ROE, and RPE were monitored in 977 training sessions. The correlations between RIE and RPE (r = .58; P < .01) and between ROE and RPE (r = .64; P < .01) were moderate. The mean difference between RIE and RPE was –0.31 ± 1.99 and between ROE and RPE was –0.37 ± 1.87. Multilevel analyses showed that PlayerLoad and ISRT predicted RIE and ROE.

Conclusion:

Coaches base their intended and observed exertion on what they expect players will do and what they actually did on the field. When doing this, they consider the intermittent endurance capacity of individual players.

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Dean Ritchie, Will G. Hopkins, Martin Buchheit, Justin Cordy, and Jonathan D. Bartlett

Purpose:

Load monitoring in Australian football (AF) has been widely adopted, yet team-sport periodization strategies are relatively unknown. The authors aimed to quantify training and competition load across a season in an elite AF team, using rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and GPS tracking.

Methods:

Weekly totals for RPE and GPS loads (including accelerometer data; PlayerLoad) were obtained for 44 players across a full season for each training modality and for competition. General linear mixed models compared mean weekly load between 3 preseason and 4 in-season blocks. Effects were assessed with inferences about magnitudes standardized with between-players SD.

Results:

Total RPE load was most likely greater during preseason, where the majority of load was obtained via skills and conditioning. There was a large reduction in RPE load in the last preseason block. During in-season, half the total load came from games and the remaining half from training, predominantly skills and upper-body weights. Total distance, high-intensity running, and PlayerLoad showed large to very large reductions from preseason to in-season, whereas changes in mean speed were trivial across all blocks. All these effects were clear at the 99% level.

Conclusions:

These data provide useful information about targeted periods of loading and unloading across different stages of a season. The study also provides a framework for further investigation of training periodization in AF teams.

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Jamie Highton, Thomas Mullen, Jonathan Norris, Chelsea Oxendale, and Craig Twist

This aim of this study was to examine the validity of energy expenditure derived from microtechnology when measured during a repeated-effort rugby protocol. Sixteen male rugby players completed a repeated-effort protocol comprising 3 sets of 6 collisions during which movement activity and energy expenditure (EEGPS) were measured using microtechnology. In addition, energy expenditure was estimated from open-circuit spirometry (EEVO2). While related (r = .63, 90%CI .08–.89), there was a systematic underestimation of energy expenditure during the protocol (–5.94 ± 0.67 kcal/min) for EEGPS (7.2 ± 1.0 kcal/min) compared with EEVO2 (13.2 ± 2.3 kcal/min). High-speed-running distance (r = .50, 95%CI –.66 to .84) was related to EEVO2, while PlayerLoad was not (r = .37, 95%CI –.81 to .68). While metabolic power might provide a different measure of external load than other typically used microtechnology metrics (eg, high-speed running, PlayerLoad), it underestimates energy expenditure during intermittent team sports that involve collisions.

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Sam Coad, Bon Gray, and Christopher McLellan

Purpose:

To assess match-to-match variations in salivary immunoglobulin A concentration ([s-IgA]) measured at 36 h postmatch throughout an Australian Football League (AFL) premiership season and to assess the trends between 36-h-postmatch [s-IgA] and match-play exercise workloads throughout the same season.

Methods:

Eighteen elite male AFL athletes (24 ± 4.2 y, 187.0 ± 7.1 cm, 87.0 ± 7.6 kg) were monitored on a weekly basis to determine total match-play exercise workloads and 36-h-postmatch [s-IgA] throughout 16 consecutive matches in an AFL premiership season. Global positioning systems (GPS) with integrated triaxial accelerometers were used to measure exercise workloads (PlayerLoad) during each AFL match. A linear mixed-model analyses was conducted for time-dependent changes in [s-IgA] and player load.

Results:

A significant main effect was found for longitudinal postmatch [s-IgA] data (F 16,240 = 3.78, P < .01) and PlayerLoad data (F 16,66 = 1.98, P = .03). For all matches after and including match 7, a substantial suppression trend in [s-IgA] 36-h-postmatch values was found compared with preseason baseline [s-IgA].

Conclusion:

The current study provides novel data regarding longitudinal trends in 36-h-postmatch [s-IgA] for AFL athletes. Results demonstrate that weekly in-season AFL match-play exercise workloads may result in delayed mucosal immunological recovery beyond 36 h postmatch. The inclusion of individual athlete-monitoring strategies of [s-IgA] may be advantageous in the detection of compromised postmatch mucosal immunological function for AFL athletes.

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Live S. Luteberget and Matt Spencer

Purpose:

International women’s team handball is a physically demanding sport and is intermittent in nature. The aim of the study was to profile high-intensity events (HIEs) in international women’s team handball matches with regard to playing positions.

Methods:

Twenty female national-team handball players were equipped with inertial movement units (OptimEye S5, Catapult Sports, Australia) in 9 official international matches. Players were categorized in 4 different playing positions: backs, wings, pivots, and goalkeepers (GKs). PlayerLoad™, accelerations (Acc), changes of direction (CoD), decelerations (Dec), and the sum of the latter 3, HIEs, were extracted from raw-data files using the manufacturer’s software. All Acc, Dec, CoD, and HIEs >2.5 m/s were included. Data were log-transformed and differences were standardized for interpretation of magnitudes and reported with effect-size statistics.

Results:

Mean numbers of events were 0.7 ± 0.4 Acc/min, 2.3 ± 0.9 Dec/min, and 1.0 ± 0.4 CoD/min. Substantial differences between playing positions, ranging from small to very large, were found in the 3 parameters. Backs showed a most likely greater frequency for HIE/min (5.0 ± 1.1 HIE/min) than all other playing positions. Differences between playing positions were also apparent in PlayerLoad/min.

Conclusion:

HIEs in international women’s team handball are position specific, and the overall intensity depends on the positional role within a team. Specific HIE and intensity profiles from match play provide useful information for a better understanding of the overall game demands and for each playing position.

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Kieran Cooke, Tom Outram, Raph Brandon, Mark Waldron, Will Vickery, James Keenan, and Jamie Tallent

Purpose: First, to assess changes in neuromuscular function via alterations in countermovement-jump strategy after training and 2 forms of competition and second, to compare the relationship between workloads and fatigue in seam bowlers and nonseam bowlers. Methods: Twenty-two professional cricketers’ neuromuscular function was assessed at baseline, immediately post and +24 h posttraining, and after multiday and 1-day cricket events. In addition, perceptual (rating of perceived exertion [RPE] and soreness) measures and external loads (PlayerLoad™, number of sprints, total distance, and overs) were monitored across all formats. Results: Seam bowlers covered more distance, completed more sprints, and had a higher RPE in training (P < .05), without any difference in soreness compared with nonseam bowlers. Compared with seam bowlers, the nonseam bowlers’ peak force decreased post-24 h compared with baseline only in 1-d cricket (95% CI, 2.1–110.0 N; P < .04). There were no pre–post training or match differences in jump height or alterations in jump strategy (P > .05). Seam bowlers increased their peak jumping force from baseline to immediately posttraining or game (95% CI, 28.8–132.4 N; P < .01) but decreased between postcricket to +24 h (95% CI, 48.89–148.0 N; P < .001). Conclusion: Seam bowlers were more accustomed to high workloads than nonseamers and thus more fatigue resistant. Changes in jump height or strategy do not appear to be effective methods of assessing fatigue in professional crickets. More common metrics such as peak force are more sensitive.

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Matthias W. Hoppe, Christian Baumgart, and Jürgen Freiwald

Purpose:

To investigate differences in running activities between adolescent and adult tennis players during match play. Differences between winning and losing players within each age group were also examined.

Methods:

Forty well-trained male players (20 adolescents, 13 ± 1 y; 20 adults, 25 ± 4 y) played a simulated singles match against an opponent of similar age and ability. Running activities were assessed using portable devices that sampled global positioning system (10 Hz) and inertial-sensor (accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer; 100 Hz) data. Recorded data were examined in terms of velocity, acceleration, deceleration, metabolic power, PlayerLoad, and number of accelerations toward the net and the forehand and backhand corners.

Results:

Adult players spent more time at high velocity (≥4 m/s2), acceleration (≥4 m/s2), deceleration (≤–4 m/s2), and metabolic power (≥20 W/kg) (P ≤ .009, ES = 0.9–1.5) and performed more accelerations (≥2 m/s2) toward the backhand corner (P < .001, ES = 2.6–2.7). No differences between adolescent winning and losing players were evident overall (P ≥ .198, ES = 0.0–0.6). Adult winning players performed more accelerations (2 to <4 m/s2) toward the forehand corner (P = .026, ES = 1.2), whereas adult losing players completed more accelerations (≥2 m/s2) toward the backhand corner (P ≤ .042, ES = 0.9).

Conclusions:

This study shows that differences in running activities between adolescent and adult tennis players exist in high-intensity measures during simulated match play. Furthermore, differences between adolescent and adult players, and also between adult winning and losing players, are present in terms of movement directions. Our findings may be helpful for coaches to design different training drills for both age groups of players.

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Jonathan M. Taylor, Tom W. Macpherson, Shaun J. McLaren, Iain Spears, and Matthew Weston

Purpose:

To compare the effects of 2 repeated-sprint training programs on fitness in soccer.

Methods:

Fifteen semiprofessional soccer players (age: 24 ± 4 y; body mass: 77 ± 8 kg) completed 6 repeated-sprint training sessions over a 2-week period. Players were assigned to a straight-line (STR) (n = 8; 3–4 sets of 7 × 30 m) or change of direction (CoD) (n = 7; 3–4 sets of 7 × 20-m) repeated-sprint training group. Performance measures included 5-, 10-, and 20-m sprints, countermovement jump, Illinois agility, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (YYIRTL1) performance. Internal (heart rate) and external (global positioning system-derived measures) training loads were monitored throughout. Data were analyzed using magnitude-based inferences.

Results:

Internal and external loads were higher in the STR group than in the CoD group with large differences in maximum velocity (28.7%; ±90% confidence limits, 3.3%), moderate differences in mean heart rates (7.0%; ±1.4%) and PlayerLoad (17.6%; ±8.6%), and small differences in peak heart rates (3.0%; ±1.6%). Large improvements in 5-m (STR: 9.6%; ±7.0% and CoD: 9.4%; ±3.3%), 10-m (STR: 6.6%; ±4.6% and CoD: 6.7%; ±2.2%), and 20-m (STR: 3.6; ±4.0% and CoD: 4.0; ±1.7%) sprints were observed. Large and moderate improvements in YYIRTL1 performance were observed in the STR (24.0%; ±9.3%) and CoD (31.0%; ±7.5%), respectively. Between-groups differences in outcome measures were unclear.

Conclusions:

Two weeks of repeated-sprint training stimulates improvements in acceleration, speed, and high-intensity running performance in soccer players. Despite STR inducing higher internal and external training loads, training adaptations were unclear between training modes, indicating a need for further research.

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Amber E. Rowell, Robert J. Aughey, Will G. Hopkins, Andrew M. Stewart, and Stuart J. Cormack

Objective measures of recovery from football match play could be useful for assessing athletes’ readiness to train, if sensitive to preceding match load.

Purpose:

To identify the sensitivity of countermovement-jump (CMJ) performance and concentration of salivary testosterone and cortisol relative to elite football match load.

Methods:

CMJ performance and salivary hormones were measured in 18 elite football players before (27, 1 h) and after (0.5, 18, 42, 66, 90 h) 3 consecutive matches. Match load was determined via accelerometer-derived PlayerLoad and divided into tertiles. Sensitivity of CMJ performance and hormone concentrations to match load was quantified with t statistics and magnitude-based inferences (change in mean as % ± 90% confidence interval) derived with a linear mixed model.

Results:

Jump height was reduced in medium and high load at 0.5 h (10% ± 7% and 16% ± 8%) and 18 h (7% ± 4% and 9% ± 5%) postmatch. There was a 12% ± 7% reduction in ratio of flight time to contraction time (FT:CT) in high load at 0.5 h post, with reductions in medium and high load at 18 h. Reductions in FT:CT persisted at later postmatch time points than changes in jump height. Increased cortisol (range 55–165%) and testosterone (range 17–20%) were observed in all match loads at 0.5 h post, with individual variability thereafter.

Conclusions:

Measures of CMJ performance and hormonal concentrations were sensitive to levels of A League football match load. Although jump height was reduced immediately postmatch, FT:CT provided a more sensitive measure of recovery. Football match play induces an acute hormonal response with substantial individual variability thereafter.