The purpose of this study was to determine visual behavior and motor responses between experienced and novice wheelchair tennis players relative to the return in tennis. Novice (n = 7) and Experienced (n = 5) wheelchair tennis players took part in the study. Two series of serves performed to the forehand and the backhand sides were examined in both groups. One series was performed in a video-based setting (two dimensional) and the other one on court (three dimensional). Experienced participants focused initially on the head/shoulders and the free-arm, while novice players focused on the expected ball toss area or followed the ball from the toss to the apex. Results suggest that the experienced players obtain useful information from racket-arm cues during the stroke phase. They also performed faster motor responses as well.
Raúl Reina, Francisco J. Moreno, and David Sanz
Javier Yanci, Daniel Castillo, Aitor Iturricastillo, Tomás Urbán, and Raúl Reina
Purpose: To determine and compare the external match load, according to sport class (FT), of footballers with cerebral palsy (CP) during the International Federation of CP Football World Championships Qualification Tournament. Methods: Forty-two international male footballers with CP participated in the data collection. The footballers with CP were classified according to their FT into 3 groups (ie, FT5/6, FT7, and FT8). External match load (ie, total distance covered, distance covered at different speeds, accelerations, decelerations, player load, peak metabolic power, and changes of directions) was collected for both halves during official matches with global positioning system devices. Results: Players with lower impairment (FT8) covered more distance (effect size = 0.30–0.60) at high-intensity running (13.0–18.0 km·h−1) and sprinting (>18.0 km·h−1) and performed more (effect size = 0.29–1.08) accelerations, decelerations, and changes of direction at high intensity in matches than did other players (ie, FT5/6 and FT7 groups). Conclusion: Because high-intensity actions are relevant to football performance and there are differences caused by players’ impairments, the International Federation of CP Football classification protocols should include high-intensity actions during the technical assessment as part of the procedures for determining the sport class of football players with CP.
Aitor Iturricastillo, Cristina Granados, Raúl Reina, José Manuel Sarabia, Ander Romarate, and Javier Yanci
Purpose: To analyze the relationship between mean propulsive velocity (MPV) of the bar and relative load (percentage of the 1-repetition maximum [%1RM]) in the bench-press (BP) exercise and to determine the relationship of power variables (ie, mean concentric power [MP], mean propulsive power [MPP], and peak power [PP]) in change-of-direction ability, linear sprint, and repeated-sprint ability. Methods: A total of 9 Spanish First Division wheelchair basketball players participated in the study. All participants performed an isoinertial BP test in free execution mode, a 505 change-of-direction ability test, linear sprint test (20 m), and repeated-sprint ability test. Results: A nearly perfect and inverse relationship was observed for the BP exercise between the %1RM and MPV (r = −.97, R 2 = .945, P < .001). The maximum loads for MP, MPP, and PP were obtained between 48.1% and 59.4% of the 1RM. However, no significant correlations were observed between strength and wheelchair performance. Conclusions: Wheelchair basketball players with different functional impairments showed a nearly perfect and inverse relationship for the BP exercise between the %1RM and MPV; thus the MPV could be used to estimate the %1RM. This finding has important practical applications for velocity-based resistance training in that coaches would be able to prescribe and monitor training load. Conversely, the absence of association between BP performance and field tests might be due to other factors such as the wheelchair–user interface, trunk-muscle activity, or propulsion technique, apart from strength variables.
Raúl Reina, Aitor Iturricastillo, Rafael Sabido, Maria Campayo-Piernas, and Javier Yanci
Purpose: To evaluate the reliability and validity of vertical and horizontal jump tests in football players with cerebral palsy (FPCP) and to analyze the jump performance differences between current International Federation for Cerebral Palsy Football functional classes (ie, FT5–FT8). Methods: A total of 132 international parafootballers (25.8 [6.7] y; 70.0 [9.1] kg; 175.7 [7.3] cm; 22.8 [2.8] kg·m−2; and 10.7 [7.5] y training experience) participated in the study. The participants were classified according to the International Federation for Cerebral Palsy Football classification rules, and a group of 39 players without cerebral palsy was included in the study as a control group. Football players’ vertical and horizontal jump performance was assessed. Results: All the tests showed good to excellent relative intrasession reliability scores, both in FPCP and in the control group (intraclass correlation = .78–.97, SEM < 10.5%). Significant between-groups differences (P < .001) were obtained in the countermovement jump, standing broad jump, 4 bounds for distance, and triple hop for distance dominant leg and nondominant leg. The control group performed higher/farther jumps with regard to all the FPCP classes, obtaining significant differences and moderate to large effect sizes (ESs) (.85 < ES < 5.54, P < .01). Players in FT8 class (less severe impairments) had significantly higher scores in all the jump tests than players in the lower classes (ES = moderate to large, P < .01). Conclusions: The vertical and horizontal jump tests performed in this study could be applied to the classification procedures and protocols for FPCP.
Iván Peña-González, Alba Roldan, Carlos Toledo, Tomás Urbán, and Raúl Reina
Purpose: This study aimed (1) to explore the validity and reliability of a new and specific change-of-direction (COD) test that requires dribbling skills to classify international footballers with cerebral palsy (CP) and compare it with another valid and reliable COD test without ball dribbling and (2) to probe whether both tests can discriminate between the new CP football classes (ie, FT1, FT2, and FT3) established worldwide in 2018. Methods: This study involved 180 international para-footballers with CP from 23 national teams at the 3 regional competitions held in 2018. They performed 2 COD tests, the modified agility test (no dribbling skills) and the dribbling speed test (DST). Results: Reliability was excellent for both the modified agility test (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC]2,1 = .91, SEM = 5.75%) and the DST (ICC2,1 = .92, SEM = 4.66%). The modified agility test and DST results were highly to very highly correlated to one another for the whole group and considering the sport classes (r = .60–.80; P < .001). A 1-way analysis of variance showed significant differences between sport classes in both tests (P < .001). However, among classes, there were significant differences between FT1 and FT2 and FT3 (P < .01, effect size = large) and low to moderate effect sizes between FT2 and FT3 for either test. Conclusion: The DST appears to be valid and reliable to classify CP football players within the new classification system. Regression analysis revealed that 18.2% of the variance in the new sport classes could be explained by the 2 examined tests.
Matías Henríquez, Aitor Iturricastillo, Arturo González-Olguín, Felipe Herrera, Sonny Riquelme, and Raul Reina
This study compared physical performance in a group of international cerebral palsy football players during two formats of small-sided games (SSGs) and performance in a simulated game (SG) according to players’ sport classes (FT1, FT2, and FT3). Internal load (heart rate and rating of perceived exertion) and external load (total distance, distance covered at different velocities, maximum speed reached, acceleration, and deceleration) were obtained with global positioning system devices during two formats of SSGs (2-a-side/SSG2 and 4-a-side/SSG4) and an SG (7-a-side). SSG2 demands faster actions compared with SSG4/SG, and significant differences and large effect sizes were found in the distance covered in Speed Zones 5 (16.0−17.9 km/hr) and 6 (>18.0 km/hr; p < .05;
Javier Yanci, Daniel Castillo, Aitor Iturricastillo, Astrid Aracama, Alba Roldan, and Raúl Reina
Purpose: The objectives of this study were to analyze whether there were differences among para-footballers with different types and degrees of brain impairment (ie, bilateral spasticity, athetosis/ataxia, unilateral spasticity, minimum impairment criteria, or no impairment) in performing 3 football-specific tests requiring ball dribbling, to analyze whether there was an association among the results obtained in the 3 tests, and to determine whether the performance in the tests was associated with competitive level, level of training, or years’ experience in para-footballers with cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: A total of 123 footballers took part in the study, 87 of whom were footballers with CP and 36 who were without impairment. Both groups were assessed in 3 football-specific tests (Stop and Go, Turning and Dribbling, and the Illinois Agility Test). Results: The results showed that the footballers without impairment recorded a better performance in all tests (P < .01) in comparison with the CP players. No significant differences in test performance were observed among the CP players from different competitive levels. However, significant differences (P < .01) were observed between players with diplegia or athetosis/ataxia compared with players with hemiplegia or minimum impairment level. Performance in the tests did not correlate with years of football experience, weekly strength training sessions, or specific football training in the footballers with CP (P = .12–.95). Conclusions: These findings suggest the possible inclusion of these tests in the classification process for footballers with CP because they discriminate among functional classes and are resistant to training and competitive level.
Javier Yanci, Daniel Castillo, Aitor Iturricastillo, Matías Henríquez, Alba Roldan, and Raúl Reina
This study aimed to analyze whether there are differences and associations in the physical responses in international-level cerebral palsy footballers between official matches and 2v2 small-sided games (2v2-SSG). One hundred seventy international cerebral palsy footballers participated in this study during three international championships. The physical responses of mean and maximum velocities, total distance, distance covered at different intensities, short-term actions, and player load were collected during 2v2-SSG and the real competition. The mean velocity, total distance, jogging, medium- and high-intensity distances, the number of moderate/high accelerations, decelerations, and player load were relatively higher in the 2v2-SSG than in the official matches. Even though the 2v2-SSG could become an appropriate drill to include during the classification process, due to the differences between a 2v2-SSG and the official competition, it is necessary to deepen the scientific knowledge for developing observation methods during real competition to strengthen the relationships between eligible impairments and activity limitation.
Raul Reina, Yeshayahu Hutzler, María C. Iniguez-Santiago, and Juan A. Moreno-Murcia
This study addresses the associations between students’ ability beliefs and attitudes toward inclusion in physical education, as well as the impact of gender and previous contact/participation with children with disability on these variables. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 976 students (491 girls and 485 boys; age 11–16 years), who responded to ability beliefs and attitudes questionnaires. Ability beliefs (entity and incremental) and the 3 sociodemographic variables predicted 20.4% and 9% of the behavioral and cognitive subscales of attitudes, respectively. Students with higher scores for entity beliefs of ability had a less favorable attitude toward inclusion. Girls reported more favorable attitudes toward inclusion than boys. Students who indicated previous participation in physical activities with children with disabilities showed attitudes that were more favorable in both the behavioral and cognitive subscales, while those who reported previous contact had more favorable attitudes in the behavioral subscale and lower entity beliefs. However, the 3 sociodemographic variables had a lower contribution to the explained variance of attitudes.