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Marco Cardinale, Rodney Whiteley, Ahmed Abdelrahman Hosny and Nebojsa Popovic

Context:

Handball is an Olympic sport played indoors by 6 court players and 1 goalkeeper with rolling substitutions. Limited data exist on elite players competing in a world championship, and virtually no information exists on the evolution of time–motion performance over the course of a long tournament.

Purpose:

To analyze time–motion characteristics of elite male handball players of the last world championships, played in Qatar in 2015.

Participants:

384 handball players from 24 national teams.

Methods:

The athletes were analyzed during 88 matches using a tracking camera system and bespoke software (Prozone Handball v. 1.2, Prozone, Leeds, UK).

Results:

The average time on court (N = 2505) during the world championships for all players was 36:48 ± 20:27 min. Goalkeepers and left and right wings were on court most of the playing time (GK 43.00 ± 25:59 min; LW 42:02 ± 21:07 min; RW 43:44 ± 21:37 min). The total distance covered during each game (2607.5 ± 1438.4 m) consisted mostly of walking and jogging. The cumulative distance covered during the tournament was 16,313 ± 9423.3 m. Players performed 857.2 ± 445.7 activity changes with a recovery time of 124.3 ± 143 s. The average running pace was 78.2 ± 10.8 m/min. There was no significant difference between high-ranked and lower-ranked teams in terms of distance covered in different locomotion categories.

Conclusions:

Specific physical conditioning is necessary to maximize performance of handball players and minimize the occurrence of fatigue when performing in long tournaments.

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Sebastien Racinais, Nadia Gaoua, Khouloud Mtibaa, Rodney Whiteley, Christophe Hautier and Marine Alhammoud

Purpose:

To determine the effect of cold ambient conditions on proprioception and cognitive function in elite alpine skiers.

Methods:

22 high-level alpine skiers and 14 control participants performed a proprioceptive-acuity (active movement-extent discrimination) and a cognitive (planning task) test in cold (8°C) and temperate (24°C) ambient conditions.

Results:

All participants displayed an increase in thermal discomfort and the amount of negative affects in the cold environment (all P < .05). Average proprioceptive acuity was significantly better in the elite skiers (0.46° ± 0.12°) than in the control group (0.55° ± 0.12°) (P < .05) and was not affected by cold ambient conditions, except for a shift in the pattern of error (over- vs underestimation, P < .05). Cognitive performance was similar between elite skiers and control participants in temperate environments but decreased in the cold in the control group only (P < .05) becoming lower than in elite skiers (P < .05).

Conclusion:

Elite alpine skiers showed a significantly better proprioceptive acuity than a control population and were able to maintain their performance during a cognitive task in a cold environment.