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Esther Morencos, Blanca Romero-Moraleda, Carlo Castagna and David Casamichana

Purpose: To examine the influence of the match period on the movement patterns of hockey players according to their playing positions under the introduction of quarters (QTRs). Methods: Sixteen subelite-level Spanish National League male hockey players participated in the study (age: 25.5 [2.9] y; body mass: 74.6 [5.5] kg). Global positioning system devices were used to monitor players’ running performance during 17 competitive matches (113 match-play profiles). Only players who played for at least 85% of the game were analyzed. Players were placed into 3 position categories: backs, midfielders, and forwards. Results: Moderate to large differences in relative total distance were found between midfielders and both backs and forwards in all QTRs (effect size [ES]: 0.4–1.2). ES for total distance was moderate for midfielders when compared with backs during the first QTR (moderate ES: 0.7). Midfielders and forwards covered more distance (m and m·min−1) in high-velocity zones than backs (ES: 0.6). Acceleration activities (n·min−1) at moderate and high intensities decreased in all groups across QTRs with moderate to very large ES (ES: 0.4–1.4). Relative sprinting distance decreased in backs (ES: 0.8). Backs had fewer repeated-sprint bouts (n and n·min−1) as the game progressed (ES: 1.0). Conclusions: During competitive match play, a degree of positional variation can be observed across QTRs. The relative distance and the number of accelerations and decelerations at moderate and high intensity decreased across QTRs. No between-QTRs differences in high-speed activity were reported.

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Carlo Castagna, Ferdinando Iellamo, Franco Maria Impellizzeri and Vincenzo Manzi

The aim of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of a popular field test for aerobic fitness used in soccer (45-15) in Italy. Alternating progressive 45-s runs with 15 s passive recovery until exhaustion, the test considers peak speed (PS) as a reflection of maximal aerobic speed (MAS). The validity and reliability of the 45-15 was assessed in 18 young male soccer players (age 16.7 ± 1.8 y, body mass 70 ± 7.45 kg, height 177 ± 0.5 cm, 55.62 ± 5.56 mL · kg−1 · min−1) submitted to laboratory testing for aerobic fitness and repeatedly to the 45-15. Results showed that 45-15 PS was significantly related to VO2max (r = .80, P < .001, 95%CI .47–.93) and MAS (r = .78, P = .001, 95%CI .43–.93). No significant bias between MAS 45-15 PS (P = .11) was found during the measurement-consistency study. Receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) analysis showed that 45-15 PS was sensitive in detecting VO2max changes in subjects as revealed by area under the curve (.97; 95%CI .73–1). Players with peak 45-15 speed equal to or above 16.5 km/h (ie, ROC cutoff) may be considered to have good aerobic fitness. In light of this study’s findings, the 45-15 test may be considered a reliable and valid test to evaluate meaningful information to direct generic aerobic training in soccer.

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Carlo Castagna, Stefano D’Ottavio, Paolo Roberto Gabrielli and Susana Póvoas

Purpose: To profile sprint endurance performance of elite-level female soccer players. Methods: Twenty-five female national-team soccer players (age 25.1 [2.7] y, body mass 59.6 [3.6] kg, height 168.5 [4.1] cm) were tested for sprint endurance, performing 5 maximal sprints, interspersed with 30 seconds of active recovery (5 × 30 m) and a 30-second all-out shuttle run in a soccer pitch. The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (YYIR1) evaluated intermittent high-intensity endurance under the same field-testing conditions. Maximal anaerobic capacity was assessed while participants performed three 10-second all-out bouts separated by 20 seconds of passive recovery (3 × 10 s) on a nonmotorized treadmill. Results: Huge interplayer variability was observed for sprint decrements in 3 × 10 seconds (coefficient of variation = 37%) and 5 × 30 m (coefficient of variation = 62%). The 3 × 10 performance was largely associated with 5 × 30-m mean and best time and very largely with 30 seconds. A very large and nearly perfect correlation was observed between 30 seconds and 5 × 30 mMean (r = −.86) and 5 × 30 mBest (r = −.92), respectively. The YYIR1 was moderately to largely associated with 5 × 30-m variables and 30 seconds, respectively. A nearly perfect association was observed between 5 × 30 mBest and 5 × 30 mMean (r = .97). Conclusions: Elite female soccer players’ sprint endurance variables are characterized by remarkable variability. Associations between sprint endurance variables suggest physiological interdependence and a likelihood of a general ability in sustaining sprinting in this population.

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Carlo Castagna, Mario Bizzini, Susana Cristina Araújo Póvoas and Stefano D’Ottavio

Purpose:

To examine the effect of recall timing on training-session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) in a population of athletes well familiarized with the method and procedures during a 5-d training microcycle.

Methods:

Fifty-one top-class field referees (FRs) (age 38.4 ± 3.3 y, height 181 ± 5.6 cm, body mass 76.8 ± 6.8 kg, body-mass index 23.4 ± 1.7 kg/m2, body fat 20.4% ± 3.6%, international refereeing experience 5 ± 3.5 y) from 43 national football associations worldwide, preselected by the FIFA refereeing department for officiating during the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil, volunteered for this study. The FRs were randomly allocated into 3 assessment groups (n = 17 each), defined according to the timing of the sRPE, ie, immediately at the end of or 30 min or 7 h after the training sessions’ end. The CR10 Borg scale was used to rate the training sessions (n = 5). All FRs again rated each training session of the 5-d training microcycle on the next morning (~20 h after) for confirmation (absolute and relative reliability).

Results:

No significant timing effect was found between or within groups. Relative reliability ranged from large to very large with trivial within- and between-groups differences.

Conclusions:

This study showed no effect of recall timing on postexercise RPE when well-familiarized athletes are submitted to training during a weekly microcycle. Posttraining RPE was reported to be a reliable subjective measure; however, specific timing is advisable to reduce difference in RPE values.

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Carlo Castagna, Lorenzo Francini, Susana C.A. Póvoas and Stefano D’Ottavio

Purpose:

To examine the acute effects of generic drills (running drills [RDs]) and specific (small-sided-games [SSGs]) long-sprint-ability (LSA) drills on internal and external load of male soccer players.

Methods:

Fourteen academy-level soccer players (mean ± SD age 17.6 ± 0.61 y, height 1.81 ± 0.63 m, body mass 69.53 ± 4.65 kg) performed four 30-s LSA bouts for maintenance (work:rest 1:2) and production (1:5) with RDs and SSGs. Players’ external load was tracked with GPS technology (20-Hz), and heart rate (HR), blood lactate concentration (BLc), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were used to characterize players’ internal load. Individual peak BLc was assessed with a 30-s all-out test on a nonmotorized treadmill (NMT).

Results:

Compared with SSGs, the RDs had a greater effect on external load and BLc (large and small, respectively). During SSGs players covered more distance with high-intensity decelerations (moderate to small). Muscular RPE was higher (small to large) in RDs than in SSGs. The production mode exerted a moderate effect on BLc while the maintenance condition elicited higher cardiovascular effects (small to large).

Conclusion:

The results of this study showed the superiority of generic over specific drills in inducing LSA-related physiological responses. In this regard production RDs showed the higher postexercise BLc. Individual peak blood lactate responses were found after the NMT 30-s all-out test, suggesting this drill as a valid option to RDs. The practical physiological diversity among the generic and specific LSA drills here considered enable fitness trainers to modulate prescription of RD and SSG drills for LSA according to training schedule.

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Vincenzo Manzi, Antonio Bovenzi, Carlo Castagna, Paola Sinibaldi Salimei, Maurizio Volterrani and Ferdinando Iellamo

Purpose:

To assess the distribution of exercise intensity in long-distance recreational athletes (LDRs) preparing for a marathon and to test the hypothesis that individual perception of effort could provide training responses similar to those provided by standardized training methodologies.

Methods:

Seven LDRs (age 36.5 ± 3.8 y) were followed during a 5-mo training period culminating with a city marathon. Heart rate at 2.0 and 4.0 mmol/L and maximal heart rate were used to establish 3 intensity training zones. Internal training load (TL) was assessed by training zones and TRIMPi methods. These were compared with the session-rating-of-perceived-exertion (RPE) method.

Results:

Total time spent in zone 1 was higher than in zones 2 and 3 (76.3% ± 6.4%, 17.3% ± 5.8%, and 6.3% ± 0.9%, respectively; P = .000 for both, ES = 0.98, ES = 0.99). TL quantified by session-RPE provided the same result. The comparison between session-RPE and training-zones-based methods showed no significant difference at the lowest intensity (P = .07, ES = 0.25). A significant correlation was observed between TL RPE and TL TRIMPi at both individual and group levels (r = .79, P < .001). There was a significant correlation between total time spent in zone 1 and the improvement at the running speed of 2 mmol/L (r = .88, P < .001). A negative correlation was found between running speed at 2 mmol/L and the time needed to complete the marathon (r = –.83, P < .001).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that in recreational LDRs most of the training time is spent at low intensity and that this is associated with improved performances. Session-RPE is an easy-to-use training method that provides responses similar to those obtained with standardized training methodologies.

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Anis Chaouachi, Monoem Haddad, Carlo Castagna, Del P. Wong, Fathi Kaouech, Karim Chamari and David G. Behm

The objective of this study was to examine the response and recovery to a single set of maximal, low and high angular velocity isokinetic leg extension-flexion contractions with boys. Sixteen boys (11–14 yrs) performed 10 isokinetic contractions at 60°.s−1 (Isok60) and 300°.s−1 (Isok300). Three contractions at both velocities, blood lactate and ratings of perceived exertion were monitored pretest and at 2, 3, 4, and 5 min of recovery (RI). Participants were tested in a random counterbalanced order for each velocity and recovery period. Only a single contraction velocity (300°.s−1 or 60°.s−1) was tested during recovery at each session to remove confounding influences between the recovery intervals. Recovery results showed no change in quadriceps’ power at 300°.s−1, quadriceps’ power, work and torque at 60°.s−1 and hamstrings’ power and work with 60°.s−1. There was an increase during the 2 min RI in hamstrings’ power, work and torque and quadriceps’

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Carlo Castagna, Stefano D’Ottavio, Stefano Cappelli and Susana Cristina Araújo Póvoas

Purpose: To examine the internal and external load imposed by long sprint ability–oriented small-sided games (SSG) using different ratios of players to pitch area (densities) in soccer players. Methods: A total of 19 professional soccer players from the same soccer club (age = 17.1 [0.3] y, height = 1.76 [0.69] m, and body mass = 69.7 [9.4] kg) participated in this study. Players performed 4 × 30-s (150 s recovery) all-out 1-vs-1 SSG considering 300, 200, and 100 m2 per player (48 h apart). Players’ external loads were tracked with global positioning technology (20 Hz). Heart rate, blood lactate concentration (BLc), and rating of perceived exertion characterized players’ internal load. Peak BLc was assessed with a 30-s all-out test on a nonmotorized treadmill (NMT). Results: SSG300 produced higher BLc than SSG200 (moderate) and SSG100 (large). The SSG300, SSG200, and SSG100 BLc were 97.8% (34.8%), trivial; 74.7% (24.9%), moderate; and 43.4% (15.7%), large, of the NMT30s peak BLc, respectively. Players covered more distance at high intensity during the SSG300 than in other SSG conditions (huge to very large differences). High-intensity deceleration distance was largely lower in SSG200 than in SSG300. SSG100 elicited very large to huge and large to very large lower external load values than SSG300 and SSG200, respectively. Conclusions: The main finding of this study showed an inverse association between ball-drill density and internal/external loads in long sprint ability–oriented SSG. The SSG300 provided BLc closer to individual maximal, thus satisfying the all-out construct assumed for the development of long sprint ability. Further studies using the SSG300 as a training intervention and/or investigating other different SSG formats using the same density are warranted.

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Mohamed Ali Nabli, Nidhal Ben Abdelkrim, Imed Jabri, Tahar Batikh, Carlo Castagna and Karim Chamari

Purpose:

To examine the relation between game performance, physiological responses, and field-test results in Tunisian basketball referees.

Methods:

Computerized time–motion analysis, heart rate (HR), and blood lactate concentration [La] were measured in 15 referees during 8 competitive games (under-19-y-old Tunisian league). Referees also performed a repeated-sprint test (RSA), Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (YYIRTL1), agility T-test, and 30-m sprint with 10-m lap time. Computerized video analysis determined the time spent in 5 locomotor activities (standing, walking, jogging, running, and sprint), then grouped in high-, moderate-, and low-intensity activities (HIAs, MIAs, and LIAs, respectively).

Results:

YYIRTL1 performance correlated with (1) total distance covered during the 4th quarter (r = .52, P = .04) and (2) distance covered in LIA during all game periods (P < .05). Both distance covered and time spent in MIA during the 1st quarter were negatively correlated with the YYIRTL1 performance (r = –.53, P = .035; r = –.67, P = .004, respectively). A negative correlation was found between distance covered at HIA during the 2nd half (3rd quarter + 4th quarter) and fatigue index of the RSA test (r = –.54, P = .029). Mean HR (expressed as %HRpeak) during all game periods was correlated with YYIRTL1 performance (.61 ≤ r < .67, P < .01).

Conclusions:

This study showed that (1) the YYIRTL1 performance is a moderate predictor of game physical performance in U-19 basketball referees and (2) referees’ RSA correlates with the amount of HIA performed during the 2nd half, which represents the ability to keep up with play.

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Monoem Haddad, Anis Chaouachi, Carlo Castagna, Del P. Wong, David G. Behm and Karim Chamari

Purpose:

The session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is a practical and non-invasive method that allows a quantification of the internal training load (TL) in individual and team sports, but no study has investigated its construct validity in martial arts. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the convergent validity between the session-RPE method and two objective HR-based methods for quantifying the similar TL during a high-TL camp in young Taekwondo (TKD) athletes.

Methods:

Ten young TKD athletes (mean ± SD: age, 13.1 ± 2.4 y; body mass, 46.1 ± 12.7 kg; height, 1.53 ± 0.15 m; maximum heart rate (HRmax), 201.0 ± 8.2 bpm) participated in this study. During the training period, subjects performed 35 TKD training sessions, including two formal competitions during which RPE and HR were recorded and analyzed (308 individual training sessions). Correlation analysis was used to evaluate the convergent validity between session-RPE method and the two commonly used HR-based methods for assessing TL in a variety of training modes.

Results:

Significant relationships were found between individual session-RPE and all the HR-based TLs (r values from 0.55 to 0.90; P < .001). Significant correlations were observed in all mode of exercises practiced in TKD.

Conclusions:

This study shows that session-RPE can be considered as a valid method to assess TL in TKD.