The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationship between straight-sprint and change-of-direction performance. Total sprinting time and split time at 5 m were collected from 44 college football players during a 15-m straight sprint (SS15m) and a 15-m zigzag sprint with two 60° changes of direction (COD15m). Differences in sprinting time between COD15m and SS15m and between COD5m and SS5m were expressed as percentage of decrement at 5 m and 15 m (Δ%5m and Δ%15m). Significant and high correlations emerged between SS15m and COD15m (r = .86, P < .0001), SS5m and SS15m (r = .92, P < .0001), SS5m and COD5m (r = .92, P < .0001), and COD5m and COD15m (r = .71, P < .0001). Δ%5m and Δ%15m showed a range of 1.2–30.0% and 34.9–59.4%, respectively. These results suggested how straight-sprint and change-of-direction performance are similar abilities in college football players, in particular when a smaller angle of the change of direction is considered. Moreover, it seems necessary to have athletes undergo tests that mimic the demands of football game, which is characterized by sprint on short distances and with changes of direction.
Giancarlo Condello, Kevin Schultz, and Antonio Tessitore
Corrado Lupo, Laura Capranica, and Antonio Tessitore
The assessment of internal training load (ITL) using the session rating of perceived exertion (session RPE) has been demonstrated to provide valuable information, also in team sports. Nevertheless, no studies have investigated the use of this method during youth water polo training.
To evaluate youth water polo training, showing the corresponding level of reliability of the session-RPE method.
Thirteen male youth water polo players (age 15.6 ± 0.5 y, height 1.80 ± 0.06 m, body mass 72.7 ± 7.8 kg) were monitored during 8 training sessions (80 individual training sessions) over 10 d. The Edwards summated heart-rate-zone method was used as a reference measure of ITL; the session-RPE rating was obtained using CR-10 scale modified by Foster. The Pearson product–moment was applied to regress the Edwards heart-rate-zone method against CR-10 session RPE for each training session and individual data.
Analyses reported overall high (r = .88, R 2 = .78) and significant (P < .001) correlations between the Edwards heart-rate and session-RPE methods. Significant correlations were also shown for each training session (r range .69–.92, R 2 range .48–.85, P < .05) and individual data (r range .76–.98, R 2 range .58–.97, P < .05).
The results confirmed that the session-RPE method as an easy and reliable tool to evaluate ITL in youth water polo, allowing coaches to efficiently monitor their training plans.
Pierpaolo Sansone, Alessandro Ceravolo, and Antonio Tessitore
Purpose: To quantify external, internal, and perceived training loads and their relationships in youth basketball players across different playing positions. Methods: Fourteen regional-level youth male players (age: 15.2 [0.3] y) were monitored during team-based training sessions across 10 in-season weeks. The players were monitored with BioHarness-3 devices, to measure external (Impulse Load, in Newtons per second) and internal (summated-heart-rate zones [SHRZ], in arbitrary units [AU]) loads, and with the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE, in AU) method to quantify perceived training load. Multiple linear mixed models were performed to compare training loads between playing positions (backcourt and frontcourt). Repeated-measures correlations were performed to assess the relationships between the load models, for all players and within playing positions. Results: External load (backcourt: 13,599  N·s; frontcourt: 14,934  N·s) and sRPE (backcourt: 345  AU; frontcourt: 505  AU) were higher in the frontcourt (P < .05, effect size: moderate), while SHRZ was similar between positions (backcourt: 239  AU; frontcourt: 247  AU) (P > .05; effect size: trivial). The correlations were as follows: large between the external load and SHRZ (r = .57, P < .001), moderate between SHRZ and sRPE (r = .45, P < .001), and small between the external load and sRPE (r = .26, P = .02). The correlation magnitudes were equivalent for external load–SHRZ (large) and SHRZ–sRPE (moderate) across positions, but different for the external load–sRPE correlation (small in backcourt; moderate in frontcourt). Conclusions: In youth basketball, small–large commonalities were found between the training dose (external load) and players’ responses (internal and perceived loads). Practitioners should carefully manage frontcourt players’ training loads because they accumulate greater external and perceived loads than backcourt players do.
António J. Figueiredo, Carlos E. Gonçalves, and Antonio Tessitore
Being one of the most prominent globalized sports, soccer played at club, national, and continental levels has a relevant societal role. At present, the specific competencies, interests, and languages of the different actors involved in the selection, development, and support of long-lasting careers of players might limit opportunities for potential talented players. Unless the cultural environment of soccer resolves the gaps between empirical results and actual soccer strategies, scientific discussion relating to the effectiveness of talent selection and development remains limited. This commentary is intended to highlight the need for developmental programs to prepare soccer personnel for a transdisciplinary dialogue, which could foster a future development of this sport. Finally, in considering the wide soccer-related employment opportunities at local, national, and international levels, the need for a clear qualification framework is crucial.
Giancarlo Condello, Thomas W. Kernozek, Antonio Tessitore, and Carl Foster
This study aimed to investigate biomechanical parameters during a change-of-direction task in college soccer players. Fourteen male and 12 female players performed a 10-m sprint with a 60° change of direction at 5 m. Vertical and mediolateral groundreaction force (GRF) and contact time were measured by having the subjects run in both directions while contacting a force plate with either their preferred (kicking) or nonpreferred leg. Using the midpoint between 2 pelvic markers, further parameters were evaluated: performance cutting angle and horizontal distance. Relationships between parameters, sex, and leg preference were analyzed. Significant correlations emerged between vertical and mediolateral GRF (r = .660–.909) and between contact time and performance cutting angle (r = –.598 to –.793). Sex differences were found for mediolateral GRF (P = .005), performance cutting angle (P = .043), and horizontal distance (P = .020). Leg differences were observed for vertical GRF (P = .029), performance cutting angle (P = .011), and horizontal distance (P = .012). This study showed that a sharper change of direction corresponded to a longer contact time, while no relationships were found with GRF. Moreover, measuring the angle revealed that the real path traveled was different from the theoretical one, highlighting the performance of sharper or more rounded execution. In conclusion, this study showed that specific biomechanical measurements can provide details about the execution of a change of direction, highlighting the ability of the nonpreferred leg to perform better directional changes.
Ricardo Rebelo-Gonçalves, Manuel João Coelho-e-Silva, Vítor Severino, Antonio Tessitore, and António José Barata Figueiredo
Studies focused on position-related characteristics of young soccer players often ignore the goalkeepers. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of playing position on anthropometry, physiological attributes, soccer skills, and goal orientation across adolescence. One hundred forty-five soccer players age 11–19 y were assessed in training experience, body size, maturation, physiological parameters, soccer skills, and goal orientation. Factorial ANOVA was used to test the effect of age group, playing position, and respective interaction terms, while analysis of variance was used to compare goalkeepers vs outfielders in middle (under 13 [U-13] and U-15) and late (U-17 and U-19) adolescence. Discriminant analysis was used to identify the variables that contributed to explaining playing positions. Age group was a consistent source of variation for all variables except task and ego orientations. Fat mass, agility, endurance, dribbling speed, shooting accuracy, and passing were affected by the gradient derived from the classification between goalkeepers and outfielders. It was possible to correctly classify the playing position based on fat-free mass and 3 manipulative skills in younger players and on 4 skills in U-17 and U-19 soccer players. Future research should include longitudinal information to improve our understanding of the factors that contribute to distinguish goalkeepers from outfielders.
Giancarlo Condello, Carlo Minganti, Corrado Lupo, Cinzia Benvenuti, Daniele Pacini, and Antonio Tessitore
The evaluation of change-of-direction (COD) performance is strongly focused on the time spent to perform the test trials, while much less is known about the technical execution adopted during the COD movements. Thus, the purposes of this study were to evaluate (1) the relationship between straight- and COD-sprint tests and (2) the technical execution of COD movements in relation to different age categories of young rugby players. Young rugby players (N = 157, age range 8–19 y) completed a test battery composed of a 15-m straight-sprint test (15SS) and a 15-m sprint test performed with 2 changes of direction (15COD). Significant differences were detected between age categories for both tests. Significant correlations were found between 15SS and 15COD. The analysis of the technical execution of the 15COD test showed differences between age categories, with a prevalence of rounded turns up to the U15 category. These findings confirmed the relationship between straight and COD abilities in young male rugby players. Moreover, the new approach introduced by this study, based on the analysis of COD technical execution, revealed that this performance could be conditioned by the age and mastery level of the players.