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David R. Novak and Andrew C. Billings

No longer is there a question of whether the football World Cup is an immense media spectacle; instead, the question now is how immense the World Cup is in the overall human experience. Despite all the global excitement related to the World Cup, the bulk of the general U.S. public is seemingly exempt from the charms of the World Cup. This article examines American media coverage of the 2010 FIFA Men’s World Cup. A qualitative content analysis identified 6 major themes in U.S. popular-press coverage of the event in South Africa, highlighting the communicative undercurrents of media discussions in order to comprehend the disconnect between American attitudes toward the World Cup and those held by the rest of the world. Themes of media discourse range from the increase in participation of Americans in soccer to resistance to mainstreaming soccer in popular culture to how soccer affects cultural literacy. Overall, the results indicate some enthusiasm for World Cup soccer while outlining stronger resistance for the sport in general. Potential future research projects related to this line of inquiry are also suggested.

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Robert K. Barney, Liam O’Callaghan, S.P. Morris, Andrew Novak and Ken Kirkwood

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Franco M. Impellizzeri, Matthew S. Tenan, Tom Kempton, Andrew Novak and Aaron J. Coutts

The number of studies examining associations between training load and injury has increased exponentially. As a result, many new measures of exposure and training-load-based prognostic factors have been created. The acute:chronic workload ratio (ACWR) is the most popular. However, when recommending the manipulation of a prognostic factor in order to alter the likelihood of an event, one assumes a causal effect. This introduces a series of additional conceptual and methodological considerations that are problematic and should be considered. Because no studies have even tried to estimate causal effects properly, manipulating ACWR in practical settings in order to change injury rates remains a conjecture and an overinterpretation of the available data. Furthermore, there are known issues with the use of ratio data and unrecognized assumptions that negatively affect the ACWR metric for use as a causal prognostic factor. ACWR use in practical settings can lead to inappropriate recommendations, because its causal relation to injury has not been established, it is an inaccurate metric (failing to normalize the numerator by the denominator even when uncoupled), it has a lack of background rationale to support its causal role, it is an ambiguous metric, and it is not consistently and unidirectionally related to injury risk. Conclusion: There is no evidence supporting the use of ACWR in training-load-management systems or for training recommendations aimed at reducing injury risk. The statistical properties of the ratio make the ACWR an inaccurate metric and complicate its interpretation for practical applications. In addition, it adds noise and creates statistical artifacts.

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Job Fransen, Stephen Bush, Stephen Woodcock, Andrew Novak, Dieter Deprez, Adam D.G. Baxter-Jones, Roel Vaeyens and Matthieu Lenoir

Purpose: This study aimed to improve the prediction accuracy of age at peak height velocity (APHV) from anthropometric assessment using nonlinear models and a maturity ratio rather than a maturity offset. Methods: The dataset used to develop the original prediction equations was used to test a new prediction model, utilizing the maturity ratio and a polynomial prediction equation. This model was then applied to a sample of male youth academy soccer players (n = 1330) to validate the new model in youth athletes. Results: A new equation was developed to estimate APHV more accurately than the original model (new model: Akaike information criterion: −6062.1, R 2 = 90.82%; original model: Akaike information criterion = 3048.7, R 2 = 88.88%) within a general population of boys, particularly with relatively high/low APHVs. This study has also highlighted the successful application of the new model to estimate APHV using anthropometric variables in youth athletes, thereby supporting the use of this model in sports talent identification and development. Conclusion: This study argues that this newly developed equation should become standard practice for the estimation of maturity from anthropometric variables in boys from both a general and an athletic population.

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Andrew R. Novak, Kyle J.M. Bennett, Adam Beavan, Johan Pion, Tania Spiteri, Job Fransen and Matthieu Lenoir

This study aimed to determine if the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder (KTK) remained a valid assessment of motor competence following the removal of the hopping for height subtest (KTK3). Children (n = 2479) aged 6–11 years completed all KTK subtests (KTK4) and motor quotient sum scores (MQS) were determined for the KTK3 and KTK4. Classifications were established as MQS below percentile 5 (P5), MQS between percentile 5–15 (P15), MQS between percentile 15–50 (P15–50), MQS between percentile 50–85 (P50–85), MQS between percentile 85–95 (P85), and MQS higher than percentile 95 (P95). Pearson’s correlation (r = .97) and cross-tabs (Chi2 = 6822.53, p < .001; Kappa = 0.72) identified substantial agreement overall between the KTK3 and KTK4. However, when classified into separate age and gender categories, poor agreement (< 60%) was found in girls: P15 at 8–11 years and P85 at 6–7 years; and in boys: P5 and P15 at 6 years, P85 at 8 years, and P15 at 10 years. Researchers should consider these findings when selecting which KTK protocol to use.