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Montse C. Ruiz, Yuri Hanin and Claudio Robazza

In this investigation we describe an individualized approach in the assessment of athletes’ experiences associated with successful and poor performances. Two studies were conducted to develop a profiling procedure to assess eight modalities of performance-related states. In Study 1, six high-level athletes assessed their states before most successful and unsuccessful performances using a preliminary 71-item stimulus list developed by a panel of four emotion researchers. They also rated the intensity of their states on a modified Borg’s CR-10 scale. In Study 2, five top-level divers assessed their states before multiple dives (three successful and three unsuccessful) using a revised 74-item list. The perceived impact on performance was also examined using an open-ended question. Individual profiles reflected two typical curves discriminating successful and unsuccessful performances. High individual variability in item content and intensity was found. Athletes reported a wide range of interrelated experiences associated with their performances. Our findings support the practical utility of individualized profiling to assess athletes’ performance-related states.

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Valentina D’Urso, Andreina Petrosso and Claudio Robazza

This study was mainly designed to contrast the Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) emotion model and the performance profiling approach in predicting performance of rugby players based on normative, individualized, situational, and relatively stable characteristics. Pregame assessments were accomplished in 33 male Italian rugby players of a top-level team over a whole championship, and individual interviews were conducted at the end of the season. Performance differentiation and discrimination between athletes were reached on relatively stable qualities (i.e., constructs), according to predictions within the performance profile framework. Study findings also revealed that emotions modify widely during the game because of external events (e.g., behaviors of teammates or opponents) or individual behaviors (e.g., individual faults). In conclusion, findings add support to the contention that extending the IZOF model to other physical or performance related components would require situational rather than relatively stable qualities. On the other hand, the concept of zones extended to constructs seems beneficial for practical purposes.

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Thierry R.F. Middleton, Montse C. Ruiz and Claudio Robazza

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of music on swimmers’ preperformance psychobiosocial states. A purposeful sample of competitive swimmers (N = 17) participated in a 5-week intervention grounded in the individual zones of optimal functioning (IZOF) model. Findings showed that (a) preperformance psychobiosocial states differentiated between best and worst performances, (b) swimmers improved their ability to regulate preperformance states through the use of music, and (c) the use of music had a positive impact on swimmers’ perceived effectiveness of preperformance routines. Furthermore, swimmers’ qualitative reports indicated that music use was made more purposeful due to the introduction of a music intervention. The current study provides preliminary evidence in support of the use of music during preperformance routines as an effective tool to regulate athletes’ preperformance states. Athletes are encouraged to engage in the process of carefully selecting music in accordance with individualized profiles related to optimal performance states.

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Jahan Heidari, Jürgen Beckmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Michel Brink, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Claudio Robazza and Michael Kellmann

Monitoring recovery in the context of athletic performance has gained significant importance during recent years. As a systematic process of data collection and evaluation, the monitoring of recovery can be implemented for various purposes. It may help prevent negative outcomes of training or competition, such as underrecovery, overtraining, or injuries. Furthermore, it aims to establish routines and strategies necessary to guarantee athletes’ readiness for performance by restoring their depleted resources. Comprehensive monitoring of recovery ideally encompasses a multidimensional approach, thereby considering biological, psychological, and social monitoring methods. From a biological perspective, physiological (eg, cardiac parameters), biochemical (eg, creatine kinase), hormonal (eg, salivary cortisol), and immunological (eg, immunoglobulin A) markers can be taken into account to operationalize training loads and recovery needs. Psychological approaches suggest the application of validated and reliable psychometric questionnaires (eg, Recovery–Stress Questionnaire for Athletes) to measure a subjective perception of recovery, as well as the subjective degree of training- or competition-induced fatigue. Social aspects also play a role in performance monitoring and may hence provide essential performance-related information. The implementation of a monitoring routine in athletic environments represents a continuous process that functions as an effective addition to training and depends on a range of conditions (eg, organizational regulations, commitment of athletes). Current research in the field of monitoring aims to establish individualized monitoring regimens that refer to intraindividual reference values with the help of innovative technological devices.

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Selenia di Fronso, Fabio Y. Nakamura, Laura Bortoli, Claudio Robazza and Maurizio Bertollo

The aim of the study was to examine differences in stress and recovery across gender and time (preseason and play-offs) in a sample of amateur basketball players of the Italian league (C division). Fifty amateur basketball players (33 men and 17 women) age 17–30 y (23.5 ± 9.19 y) participated in the study. Twenty-eight athletes (16 men and 12 women) completed the Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Sport (RESTQ-Sport) in the preseason phase, after a training period of 21 days, and in the competition phase during the play-off period. Repeated-measures MANOVA showed significant differences by gender and preparation phase. Univariate follow-up ANOVA highlighted differences by gender on physical recovery, sleep quality, and self-efficacy, with higher scores in men. Moreover, differences between preseason and competition phases were shown on emotional stress and fatigue, with higher scores on emotional stress and lower scores on fatigue in the competition phase. These findings suggest that RESTQ-Sport could be a useful tool for coaches to monitor stress/recovery balance in male and female team-sport athletes during different periods of the season.

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Maurizio Bertollo, Selenia di Fronso, Edson Filho, Vito Lamberti, Patrizio Ripari, Victor Machado Reis, Silvia Comani, Laura Bortoli and Claudio Robazza

We conducted a counterbalanced repeated measure trial to investigate the effect of different internal and external associative strategies on endurance performance. Seventeen college-aged students were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions to test the notion that different attention-performance types (optimal Type 1, functional Type 2, and dysfunctional Type 3) would influence endurance time on a cycling task. Specifically, Type 1 represented an effortless and automatic, “flow-feeling” attentional mode. Type 2 referred to an associative focus directed at core components of the task. Type 3 represented an attentional focus directed at irrelevant components of the task. Participants completed three time-to-exhaustion-tests while reporting their perceived exertion and affective states (arousal and hedonic tone). Results revealed that Type 1 and Type 2 attentional strategies, compared with Type 3 strategy, exerted functional effects on performance, whereas a Type 3 strategy was linked to lower performance, and lower levels of arousal and pleasantness. Applied implications are discussed.

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Michael Kellmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Laurent Bosquet, Michel Brink, Aaron J. Coutts, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Shona L. Halson, Anne Hecksteden, Jahan Heidari, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Romain Meeusen, Iñigo Mujika, Claudio Robazza, Sabrina Skorski, Ranel Venter and Jürgen Beckmann

The relationship between recovery and fatigue and its impact on performance has attracted the interest of sport science for many years. An adequate balance between stress (training and competition load, other life demands) and recovery is essential for athletes to achieve continuous high-level performance. Research has focused on the examination of physiological and psychological recovery strategies to compensate external and internal training and competition loads. A systematic monitoring of recovery and the subsequent implementation of recovery routines aims at maximizing performance and preventing negative developments such as underrecovery, nonfunctional overreaching, the overtraining syndrome, injuries, or illnesses. Due to the inter- and intraindividual variability of responses to training, competition, and recovery strategies, a diverse set of expertise is required to address the multifaceted phenomena of recovery, performance, and their interactions to transfer knowledge from sport science to sport practice. For this purpose, a symposium on Recovery and Performance was organized at the Technical University Munich Science and Study Center Raitenhaslach (Germany) in September 2016. Various international experts from many disciplines and research areas gathered to discuss and share their knowledge of recovery for performance enhancement in a variety of settings. The results of this meeting are outlined in this consensus statement that provides central definitions, theoretical frameworks, and practical implications as a synopsis of the current knowledge of recovery and performance. While our understanding of the complex relationship between recovery and performance has significantly increased through research, some important issues for future investigations are also elaborated.