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Phillip M. Bellinger, Cameron Ferguson, Tim Newans, and Clare L. Minahan

Purpose: To determine whether there is an association between external match load and contextual factors on subjective wellness in the days before and after Australian Rules football match play. Methods: A total of 34 elite male Australian football players completed a subjective wellness questionnaire in the days leading into the match (–3, –2, and –1 d), the day of (match day), and the days after each match (+3, +2, and +1 d). Players subjectively rated each item (mood, energy, stress, leg heaviness, muscle soreness, sleep quality, hours slept, and total wellness [a sum of the total response score]) on a visual analog scale ranging from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the negative end of the continuum. External load during competitive matches was quantified using accelerometer-derived PlayerLoad, and running activity was quantified using global positioning system technology across 2 competitive seasons. The relationships between perceptions of wellness (within-individual z score), external match load, and contextual factors (match result, match location, and between-matches recovery duration) were analyzed using linear mixed models. Results: Mixed-effect linear models revealed trivial effects of match-day wellness z score on subsequent external match load metrics. Match result (win) and PlayerLoad in the anteroposterior vector (au·min−1) were associated with an increased (estimate ± SE: 0.30 ± 0.13 z score) and reduced subjective wellness (−0.15 ± 0.06 z score), respectively. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that prematch perceived wellness does not relate to external match load in elite Australian football players. The between-matches microcycle length appears to be sufficient to restore perceived wellness to values that do not affect the subsequent external match loads.

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Paul G. Montgomery, David B. Pyne, and Clare L. Minahan

Purpose:

To characterize the physical and physiological responses during different basketball practice drills and games.

Methods:

Male basketball players (n = 11; 19.1 ± 2.1 y, 1.91 ± 0.09 m, 87.9 ± 15.1 kg; mean ± SD) completed offensive and defensive practice drills, half court 5on5 scrimmage play, and competitive games. Heart rate, VO2 and triaxial accelerometer data (physical demand) were normalized for individual participation time. Data were log-transformed and differences between drills and games standardized for interpretation of magnitudes and reported with the effect size (ES) statistic.

Results:

There was no substantial difference in the physical or physiological variables between offensive and defensive drills; physical load (9.5%; 90% confidence limits ±45); mean heart rate (-2.4%; ±4.2); peak heart rate (-0.9%; ±3.4); and VO2 (–5.7%; ±9.1). Physical load was moderately greater in game play compared with a 5on5 scrimmage (85.2%; ±40.5); with a higher mean heart rate (12.4%; ±5.4). The oxygen demand for live play was substantially larger than 5on5 (30.6%; ±15.6).

Conclusions:

Defensive and offensive drills during basketball practice have similar physiological responses and physical demand. Live play is substantially more demanding than a 5on5 scrimmage in both physical and physiological attributes. Accelerometers and predicted oxygen cost from heart rate monitoring systems are useful for differentiating the practice and competition demands of basketball.

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Clare L. Minahan, Danielle J. Pirera, Beth Sheehan, Luke MacDonald, and Phillip M. Bellinger

This study compared determinants of a 30-s all-out paddling effort (30-s sprint-paddling test) between junior surfboard riders (surfers) of varying ability. Eight competitive (COMP) and 8 recreational (REC) junior male surfers performed a 30-s sprint-paddling test for the determination of peak sprint power and accumulated O2 deficit. Surfers also performed an incremental-paddling test for the determination of the O2 uptake–power output relationship that was subsequently used to calculate the accumulated O2 deficit for the 30-s sprint-paddling test. During the 30-s sprint-paddling test, peak sprint power (404 ± 98 vs 292 ± 56 W, respectively, P = .01) and the accumulated O2 deficit (1.60 ± 0.31 vs 1.14 ± 0.38 L, respectively, P = .02) were greater in COMP than in REC surfers, whereas peak O2 uptake measured during the incremental-paddling test was not different (2.7 ± 0.1 vs 2.5 ± 0.2 L/min, respectively, P = .11). The higher peak sprint power and larger accumulated O2 deficit observed in COMP than in REC surfers during a 30-s sprint paddling test suggest that surfing promotes development of the anaerobic energy systems. Furthermore, peak sprint power determined during 30 s of sprint paddling may be considered a sensitive measure of surfing ability or experience in junior male surfers.

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George P. Elias, Matthew C. Varley, Victoria L. Wyckelsma, Michael J. McKenna, Clare L. Minahan, and Robert J. Aughey

Purpose:

The authors investigated the efficacy of a single exposure to 14 min of cold-water immersion (COLD) and contrast water therapy (CWT) on posttraining recovery in Australian football (AF).

Method:

Fourteen AF players participated in 3 wk of standardized training. After week 1 training, all players completed a passive recovery (PAS). During week 2, COLD or CWT was randomly assigned. Players undertook the opposing intervention in week 3. Repeat-sprint ability (6 × 20 m), countermovement and squat jumps, perceived muscle soreness, and fatigue were measured pretraining and over 48 h posttraining.

Results:

Immediately posttraining, groups exhibited similar performance and psychometric declines. At 24 h, repeat-sprint time had deteriorated by 4.1% for PAS and 1.0% for CWT but was fully restored by COLD (0.0%). At 24 and 48 h, both COLD and CWT attenuated changes in mean muscle soreness, with COLD (0.6 ± 0.6 and 0.0 ± 0.4) more effective than CWT (1.9 ± 0.7 and 1.0 ± 0.7) and PAS having minimal effect (5.5 ± 0.6 and 4.0 ± 0.5). Similarly, after 24 and 48 h, COLD and CWT both effectively reduced changes in perceived fatigue, with COLD (0.6 ± 0.6 and 0.0 ± 0.6) being more successful than CWT (0.8 ± 0.6 and 0.7 ± 0.6) and PAS having the smallest effect (2.2 ± 0.8 and 2.4 ± 0.6).

Conclusions:

AF training can result in prolonged physical and psychometric deficits persisting for up to 48 h. For restoring physical-performance and psychometric measures, COLD was more effective than CWT, with PAS being the least effective. Based on these results the authors recommend that 14 min of COLD be used after AF training.