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Aaron J. Coutts

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Thomas Kempton and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose:

To describe the physical and technical demands of rugby league 9s (RL9s) match play for positional groups.

Methods:

Global positioning system data were collected during 4 games from 16 players from a team competing in the Auckland RL9s tournament. Players were classified into positional groups (pivots, outside backs, and forwards). Absolute and relative physical-performance data were classified as total high-speed running (HSR; >14.4 km/h), very-high-speed running (VHSR; >19.0 km/h), and sprint (>23.0 km/h) distances. Technical-performance data were obtained from a commercial statistics provider. Activity cycles were coded by an experienced video analyst.

Results:

Forwards (1088 m, 264 m) most likely completed less overall and high-speed distances than pivots (1529 m, 371 m) and outside backs (1328 m, 312 m). The number of sprint efforts likely varied between positions, although differences in accelerations were unclear. There were no clear differences in relative total (115.6−121.3 m/min) and HSR (27.8−29.8 m/min) intensities, but forwards likely performed less VHSR (7.7 m/min) and sprint distance (1.3 m/min) per minute than other positions (10.2−11.8 m/min, 3.7−4.8 m/min). The average activity and recovery cycle lengths were ~50 and ~27 s, respectively. The average longest activity cycle was ~133 s, while the average minimum recovery time was ~5 s. Technical involvements including tackles missed, runs, tackles received, total collisions, errors, off-loads, line breaks, and involvements differed between positions.

Conclusions:

Positional differences exist for both physical and technical measures, and preparation for RL9s play should incorporate these differences.

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Helen Alexiou and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to compare the session-RPE method for quantifying internal training load (TL) with various HR-based TL quantification methods in a variety of training modes with women soccer players.

Methods:

Fifteen elite women soccer players took part in the study (age: 19.3 ± 2.0 y and VO2max: 50.8 ± 2.7 mL·kg−1·min−1). Session-RPE, heart rate, and duration were recorded for 735 individual training sessions and matches over a period of 16 wk. Correlation analysis was used to compare session-RPE TLs with three commonly used HR-based methods for assessing TL.

Results:

The mean correlation for session-RPE TL with Banister’s TRIMP, LTzone TL and Edwards’s TL were (r = 0.84, 0.83, and 0.85, all P < .01, respectively). Correlations for session-RPE TL and three HR-based methods separated by session type were all significant (all P < .05). The strongest correlations were reported for technical (r = 0.68 to 0.82), conditioning (r = 0.60 to 0.79), and speed sessions (r = 0.61 to 0.79).

Conclusion:

The session-RPE TL showed a significant correlation with all training types common to soccer. Higher correlations were found with less intermittent, aerobic-based training sessions and suggest that HR-based TLs relate better to session-RPE TLs in less intermittent training activities. These results support previous findings showing that the session-RPE TL compares favorably with HR-based methods for quantifying internal TL in a variety of soccer training activities.

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Alan McCall, Maurizio Fanchini and Aaron J. Coutts

In high-performance sport, science and medicine practitioners employ a variety of physical and psychological tests, training and match monitoring, and injury-screening tools for a variety of reasons, mainly to predict performance, identify talented individuals, and flag when an injury will occur. The ability to “predict” outcomes such as performance, talent, or injury is arguably sport science and medicine’s modern-day equivalent of the “Quest for the Holy Grail.” The purpose of this invited commentary is to highlight the common misinterpretation of studies investigating association to those actually analyzing prediction and to provide practitioners with simple recommendations to quickly distinguish between methods pertaining to association and those of prediction.

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Stephen Hill-Haas, Greg Rowsell, Aaron Coutts and Brian Dawson

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Aaron Coutts, Peter Reaburn, Kerry Mummery and Mark Holmes

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of prior glycerol loading on competitive Olympic distance triathlon performance (ODT) in high ambient temperatures. Ten (3 female and 7 male) well-trained triathletes (VO2max = 58.4 ±2.4 ml-kg−1 min−1; best ODT time = 131.5 ± 2.6 min) completed 2 ODTs (1.5-km swim, 40-km bicycle, 10-km run) in a randomly assigned (placebo/ glycerol) double-blind study conducted 2 weeks apart. The wet-bulb globe temperature (outdoors) was 30.5 + 0.5 °C (relative humidity: 46.3 ± 1.1%; hot) and 25.4 + 0.2 °C (relative humidity: 51.7 ± 2.4%; warm) for day 1 and day 2, respectively. The glycerol solution consisted of 1.2 g of glycerol per kilogram of body mass (BM) and 25 ml of a 0.75 g · kg−1 BM carbohydrate solution (Gatorade®) and was consumed over a 60-min period, 2 hours prior to each ODT. Measures of performance (ODT time), fluid retention, urine output, blood plasma volume changes, and sweat loss were obtained prior to and during the ODT in both the glycerol and placebo conditions. Following glycerol loading, the increase in ODT completion time between the hot and warm conditions was significantly less than the placebo group (placebo 11:40 min vs. glycerol 1:47 min; p < .05). The majority of the performance improvement occurred during the final 10-km run leg of ODT on the hot day. Hyperhydration occurred as a consequence of a reduced diuresis (p < .05) and a subsequent increase in fluid retention (p < .05). No significant differences were observed in sweat loss between the glycerol and placebo conditions. Plasma volume expansion during the loading period was significantly greater (p < .05) on the hot day when glycerol appeared to attenuate the performance decrement in the heat. The present results suggest that glycerol hyperhydration prior to ODT in high ambient temperatures may provide some protection against the negative performance effects of competing in the heat.