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Corrado Lupo, Laura Capranica and Antonio Tessitore

Context:

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.

Purpose:

To evaluate youth water polo training, showing the corresponding level of reliability of the session-RPE method.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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).

Discussion:

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.

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Erika Casolino, Cristina Cortis, Corrado Lupo, Salvatore Chiodo, Carlo Minganti and Laura Capranica

Purpose:

To anticipate outstanding athletic outcomes, the selection process of elite athletes simultaneously considers psychophysiological and technical parameters. This study aimed to investigate whether selected and nonselected athletes for the Italian national taekwondo team could be discriminated by means of sportspecific performances and psychophysiological responses to training.

Participants:

5 established Italian national athletes and 20 elite Italian taekwondo black belt athletes (9 women, 16 men; age 23.0 ± 3.1 y; body mass 67.0 ± 12.1 kg).

Methods:

To update the Italian national-team roster, the 20 elite athletes participated in a 1-wk selection camp (7 training sessions). Selected athletes (n = 10) joined established national athletes during the following 3-wk national training period (7 training sessions/wk). During the 1-wk selection camp, differences (P < .05) between selected and nonselected athletes in performances, heart-rate responses, blood lactate accumulation [La], subjective ratings of perceived exertion (session RPE), and mood were examined. During the 3-wk national training period, differences (P < .05) in mood between selected and established national athletes were investigated.

Results:

With respect to nonselected athletes, selected athletes responded better to training in terms of session RPE (P = .047) and [La] (P = .046). No difference in performance and mood between subgroups emerged. After the 3-wk national training period, differences (P = .035) emerged for confusion, with decreases in the established national athletes and increases for recently selected athletes.

Conclusions:

Session RPE and [La] seem to be more effective than psychological measures in discriminating between elite taekwondo athletes. Evaluation of mood could be effective in monitoring athletes’ response to national training.

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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.

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Corrado Lupo, Alexandru Nicolae Ungureanu, Riccardo Frati, Matteo Panichi, Simone Grillo and Paolo Riccardo Brustio

Purpose: To monitor elite youth female basketball training to verify whether players’ and coaches’ (3 technical coaches and 1 physical trainer) session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) has a relationship with Edwards’ method. Methods: Heart rate of 15 elite youth female basketball players (age 16.7 [0.5] y, height 178 [9] cm, body mass 72 [9] kg, body mass index 22.9 [2.2] kg·m−2) was monitored during 19 team (268 individual) training sessions (102 [15] min). Mixed effect models were applied to evaluate whether s-RPE values were significantly (P ≤ .05) related to Edwards’ data, total session duration, maximal intensity (session duration at 90–100% HRmax), type of training (ie, strength, conditioning, and technique), and whether differences emerged between players’ and coaches’ s-RPE values. Results: The results showed that there is a relationship between s-RPE and Edwards’ methods for the players’ RPE scores (P = .019) but not for those of the trainers. In addition, as expected, both players’ (P = .014) and coaches’ (P = .002) s-RPE scores were influenced by total session duration but not by maximal intensity and type of training. In addition, players’ and coaches’ s-RPE values differed (P < .001)—post hoc differences emerged for conditioning (P = .01) and technique (P < .001) sessions. Conclusions: Elite youth female basketball players are better able to quantify the internal training load of their sessions than their coaches, strengthening the validity of s-RPE as a tool to monitor training in team sports.