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  • Author: Daniele Conte x
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Alberto Franceschi, Daniele Conte, Marco Airale and Jaime Sampaio

Purpose: To describe and identify individual trends and changes in training load, neuromuscular readiness, and perceptual fatigue measures in 2 youth elite long jumpers, finalists at the European Athletics U18 (Under 18) Championships (athlete A, female, age 16.5 y, long-jump record 6.25 m; athlete B, male, age 16.0 y, long-jump record 7.28 m). Methods: Data were collected from both training sessions and athletics competitions during a 16-week period, divided into a preparation (weeks 1–8) and a competitive phase (weeks 9–16). Training load was computed through training diaries (training time, sprint, jumping, and weights volume). The countermovement jump and the 10-to-5 repeated-jump test were executed on a weekly basis to assess neuromuscular readiness, and perceptual fatigue measures were collected through a wellness questionnaire. Statistical analysis was conducted using a magnitude-based decisions approach. Results: The results highlighted a decrease in training load during the competitive period with moderate to large differences for training time, sprint, and jump volume. Moreover, data showed an upward trend and very likely higher scores in vertical-jump performance across the competitive phase together with a very likely lower perceptual fatigue. Conclusions: This scenario seemed to be favorable to achieve competition performance very close to the personal record during the competitive season. This study provided an example of application of a comprehensive monitoring system with young athletes involved in track-and-field jumping events.

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Daniele Conte, Nicholas Kolb, Aaron T. Scanlan and Fabrizio Santolamazza

Purpose: To characterize the weekly training load (TL) and well-being of college basketball players during the in-season phase. Methods: Ten (6 guards and 4 forwards) male basketball players (age 20.9 [0.9] y, stature 195.0 [8.2] cm, and body mass 91.3 [11.3] kg) from the same Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association team were recruited to participate in this study. Individualized training and game loads were assessed using the session rating of perceived exertion at the end of each training and game session, and well-being status was collected before each session. Weekly changes (%) in TL, acute-to-chronic workload ratio, and well-being were determined. Differences in TL and well-being between starting and bench players and between 1-game and 2-game weeks were calculated using magnitude-based statistics. Results: Total weekly TL and acute-to-chronic workload ratio demonstrated high week-to-week variation, with spikes up to 226% and 220%, respectively. Starting players experienced a higher (most likely negative) total weekly TL and similar (unclear) well-being status compared with bench players. Game scheduling influenced TL, with 1-game weeks demonstrating a higher (likely negative) total weekly TL and similar (most likely trivial) well-being status compared with 2-game weeks. Conclusions: These findings provide college basketball coaches information to optimize training strategies during the in-season phase. Basketball coaches should concurrently consider the number of weekly games and player status (starting vs bench player) when creating individualized periodization plans, with increases in TL potentially needed in bench players, especially in 2-game weeks.

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Montassar Tabben, Daniele Conte, Monoem Haddad and Karim Chamari

Purpose: To assess the technical and tactical demands of elite karate athletes in relation to 3 match sequences (ie, advantage, disadvantage, and drawing) and match outcome (ie, win/defeat).Methods: One hundred twenty elite seniors’ (60 men and 60 women) World Karate Federation combats were analyzed during 2 World Championships (2012 and 2014). Specific karate attributes (strategy, technique, tactic, target, and effectiveness) were evaluated and classified into 3 sequences: advantage, disadvantage, and drawing. Results: Karatekas performed more combination techniques in disadvantage sequences than in drawing sequences (P = .011). A higher number of timed-attack actions were reported during advantage sequences than during drawing sequences (P = .048). Winners of the whole combat had higher lower-limb technique rate (1.0 [0.9] vs 0.1 [0.3]; P = .044) and less rate of timed attack (0.3 [0.5] vs 0.6 [1.0]; P = .030) than defeated karatekas during advantage and drawing sequences, respectively. Conclusions: Winners used higher lower-limb technique and less timed-attack rates than defeated karatekas in advantage and drawing sequences, respectively. Indeed, using lower-limb technique during advantageous situations could be a powerful strategy to increase the lead. Therefore, it seems fundamental for coaches of top elite karatekas to put their athletes in simulated situations and push them to increase their use of lower-limb techniques.

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Davide Ferioli, Diego Rucco, Ermanno Rampinini, Antonio La Torre, Marco M. Manfredi and Daniele Conte

Purpose: To examine the physiological, physical, and technical demands of game-based drills (GBDs) with regular dribble (RD) or no dribble (ND) involving a different number of players (3 vs 3, 4 vs 4, and 5 vs 5). Methods: Ten regional-level male basketball players performed 6 full-court GBD formats (each consisting of 3 bouts of 4 min and 2 min rest) on multiple occasions. The physiological and perceptual responses were measured through heart rate and rating of perceived exertion. Video-based time–motion analysis was performed to assess the GBD physical demands. The frequencies of occurrence and the duration were calculated for high-intensity, moderate-intensity, low-intensity, and recovery activities. Technical demands were assessed with a notional-analysis technique. A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess statistical differences between GBD formats. Results: A greater perceptual response (rating of perceived exertion) was recorded during 3 versus 3 than 5 versus 5 formats (P = .005). Significant interactions were observed for the number of recovery (P = .021), low-intensity activity (P = .007), and all movements (P = .001) completed. Greater time was spent performing low-intensity and high-intensity activities during RD than ND format. Greater technical demands were observed for several variables during 3 versus 3 than 4 versus 4 or 5 versus 5. A greater number of turnovers (P = .027), total (P ≤ .001), and correct passes (P ≤ .001) were recorded during ND than RD format. Conclusions: The number of players predominantly affected the perceptual response to GBD, while both the number of players and rule modification (RD vs ND) affected activities performed during GBD. Reducing the number of players increases the GBD technical elements, while ND format promotes a greater number of turnovers and passes.

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Henrikas Paulauskas, Rasa Kreivyte, Aaron T. Scanlan, Alexandre Moreira, Laimonas Siupsinskas and Daniele Conte

Purpose: To assess the weekly fluctuations in workload and differences in workload according to playing time in elite female basketball players. Methods: A total of 29 female basketball players (mean [SD] age 21 [5] y, stature 181 [7] cm, body mass 71 [7] kg, playing experience 12 [5] y) belonging to the 7 women’s basketball teams competing in the first-division Lithuanian Women’s Basketball League were recruited. Individualized training loads (TLs) and game loads (GLs) were assessed using the session rating of perceived exertion after each training session and game during the entire in-season phase (24 wk). Percentage changes in total weekly TL (weekly TL + GL), weekly TL, weekly GL, chronic workload, acute:chronic workload ratio, training monotony, and training strain were calculated. Mixed linear models were used to assess differences for each dependent variable, with playing time (low vs high) used as fixed factor and subject, week, and team as random factors. Results: The highest changes in total weekly TL, weekly TL, and acute:chronic workload ratio were evident in week 13 (47%, 120%, and 49%, respectively). Chronic workload showed weekly changes ≤10%, whereas monotony and training strain registered highest fluctuations in weeks 17 (34%) and 15 (59%), respectively. A statistically significant difference in GL was evident between players completing low and high playing times (P = .026, moderate), whereas no significant differences (P > .05) were found for all other dependent variables. Conclusions: Coaches of elite women’s basketball teams should monitor weekly changes in workload during the in-season phase to identify weeks that may predispose players to unwanted spikes and adjust player workload according to playing time.

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Oliver O. Badin, Mitchell R. Smith, Daniele Conte and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose:

To assess the effects of mental fatigue on physical and technical performance in small-sided soccer games.

Methods:

Twenty soccer players (age 17.8 ± 1.0 y, height 179 ± 5 cm, body mass 72.4 ± 6.8 kg, playing experience 8.3 ± 1.4 y) from an Australian National Premier League soccer club volunteered to participate in this randomized crossover investigation. Participants played 15-min 5-vs-5 small-sided games (SSGs) without goalkeepers on 2 occasions separated by 1 wk. Before the SSG, 1 team watched a 30-min emotionally neutral documentary (control), while the other performed 30 min of a computer-based Stroop task (mental fatigue). Subjective ratings of mental and physical fatigue were recorded before and after treatment and after the SSG. Motivation was assessed before treatment and SSG; mental effort was assessed after treatment and SSG. Player activity profiles and heart rate (HR) were measured throughout the SSG, whereas ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were recorded before the SSG and immediately after each half. Video recordings of the SSG allowed for notational analysis of technical variables.

Results:

Subjective ratings of mental fatigue and effort were higher after the Stroop task, whereas motivation for the upcoming SSG was similar between conditions. HR during the SSG was possibly higher in the control condition, whereas RPE was likely higher in the mental-fatigue condition. Mental fatigue had an unclear effect on most physical-performance variables but impaired most technical-performance variables.

Conclusions:

Mental fatigue impairs technical but not physical performance in small-sided soccer games.

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Filipe M. Clemente, Ana F. Silva, Cain C.T. Clark, Daniele Conte, João Ribeiro, Bruno Mendes and Ricardo Lima

Purpose: The purposes of this study were to (1) analyze the variations of acute and chronic training load and well-being measures during 3 periods of the season (early, mid, and end) and (2) test the associations between weekly training load and well-being measures during different periods of the season. Methods: Thirteen professional volleyball players from a team competing in the Portuguese Volleyball First Division (age 31.0 [5.0] y) were monitored during an entire season. Weekly acute (wAL) and chronic load (wCL), acute to chronic workload ratio (wACWL), and training monotony (wTM) were calculated during all weeks of the season. The weekly values of muscle soreness (wDOMS), stress (wStress), fatigue (wFatigue), sleep (wSleep), and Hooper index (wHI) were also obtained across the season. Results: The midseason had meaningfully low values of wAL (−26.9%; effect size [ES]: −1.12) and wCL (−28.0%; ES: −2.81), and greater values of wACWL (+38.9%; ES: 2.81) compared with early season. The wCL (+10.6%; ES: 0.99), wStress (44.6%; ES: 0.87), and wHI (29.0%; ES: 0.62) were meaningfully greater during the end of season than in midseason. Overall, wAL presented very large correlations with wDOMS (r = .80), wSleep (r = .72), and wFatigue (r = .82). Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the load was meaningfully higher during early season; however, stress was higher during the final stages of the season. Overall, it was also found that the acute load is more highly correlated with well-being status and its variations than chronic load or training monotony.

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Aaron T. Scanlan, Neal Wen, Joshua H. Guy, Nathan Elsworthy, Michele Lastella, David B. Pyne, Daniele Conte and Vincent J. Dalbo

Purpose: To examine correlations between peak force and impulse measures attained during the isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) and basketball-specific sprint and jump tests. Methods: Male, adolescent basketball players (N = 24) completed a battery of basketball-specific performance tests. Testing consisted of the IMTP (absolute and normalized peak force and impulse at 100 and 250 ms); 20-m sprint (time across 5, 10, and 20 m); countermovement jump (CMJ; absolute and normalized peak force and jump height); standing long jump (distance); and repeated lateral bound (distance). Correlation and regression analyses were conducted between IMTP measures and other attributes. Results: An almost perfect correlation was evident between absolute peak force attained during the IMTP and CMJ (r = .94, R 2 = 56%, P < .05). Moderate to very large correlations (P < .05) were observed between IMTP normalized peak force and 5-m sprint time (r = −.44, R 2 = 19%), 10-m sprint time (r = −.45, R 2 = 20%), absolute (r = .57, R 2 = 33%), normalized (r = .86, R 2 = 73%) CMJ peak force, and standing long-jump distance (r = .51, R 2 = 26%). Moderate to very large correlations were evident between impulse measures during the IMTP and 5-m sprint time (100 ms, r = −.40, R 2 = 16%, P > .05) and CMJ absolute peak force (100 ms, r = .73, R 2 = 54%; 250 ms, r = .68, R 2 = 47%; P < .05). Conclusions: The IMTP may be used to assess maximal and rapid force expression important across a range of basketball-specific movements.

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Cody J. O’Grady, Jordan L. Fox, Daniele Conte, Davide Ferioli, Aaron T. Scanlan and Vincent J. Dalbo

Purpose: Games-based drills are the predominant form of training adopted during basketball practice. As such, researchers have begun to quantify the physical, physiological, and perceptual demands of different games-based drill formats. However, study methodology has not been systematically reported across studies, limiting the ability to form conclusions from existing research. The authors developed this call to action to draw attention to the current standard of methodological reporting in basketball games-based drill research and establish a systematic reporting standard the authors hope will be utilized in future research. The Basketball Games-Based Drill Methodical Reporting Checklist (BGBDMRC) was developed to encourage the systematic reporting of games-based drill methodology. The authors used the BGBDMRC to evaluate the current methodological reporting standard of studies included in their review published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, “A Systematic Review of the External and Internal Workloads Experienced During Games-Based Drills in Basketball Players” (2020), which highlighted this issue. Of the 17 studies included in their review, only 38% (±18%) of applicable checklist items were addressed across included studies, which is problematic as checklist items are essential for study replication. Conclusions: The current standard of methodological reporting in basketball games-based drill research is insufficient to allow for replication of examined drills in future research or the application of research outcomes to practice. The authors implore researchers to adopt the BGBDMRC to improve the quality and reproducibility of games-based drill research and increase the translation of research findings to practice.

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Aaron T. Scanlan, Vincent J. Dalbo, Daniele Conte, Emilija Stojanović, Nenad Stojiljković, Ratko Stanković, Vladimir Antić and Zoran Milanović

Purpose: To examine the effect of caffeine supplementation on dribbling speed in elite female and male basketball players. Methods: A double-blind, counterbalanced, randomized, crossover design was used. Elite basketball players (N = 21; 10 female, 11 male; age 18.3 [3.3] y) completed placebo (3 mg·kg−1 of body mass of dextrose) and caffeine (3 mg·kg−1 of body mass) trials 1 wk apart during the in-season phase. During each trial, players completed 20-m linear sprints with and without dribbling a basketball. Performance times were recorded at 5-, 10-, and 20-m splits. Dribbling speed was measured using traditional (total performance time) and novel (dribble deficit) methods. Dribble deficit isolates the added time taken to complete a task when dribbling compared with a nondribbling version of the same task. Comparisons between placebo and caffeine conditions were conducted at group and individual levels. Results: Nonsignificant (P > .05), trivial to small (effect size = 0.04–0.42) differences in dribbling speed were observed between conditions. The majority (20 out of 21) of players were classified as nonresponders to caffeine, with 1 player identified as a negative responder using dribble-deficit measures. Conclusions: Results indicate that caffeine offers no ergogenic benefit to dribbling speed in elite basketball players. The negative response to caffeine in 1 player indicates that caffeine supplementation may be detrimental to dribbling speed in specific cases and emphasizes the need for individualized analyses in nutrition-based sport-science research.