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Amy Waters, Elissa Phillips, Derek Panchuk and Andrew Dawson

In high performance sport it is common for sport biomechanists to play a role in modifying an athlete’s technique. Sport biomechanists and coaches view sprinting performance through distinct lenses based on their unique experience, they bring a diverse range of knowledge together to improve performance. The purpose of this paper is to establish and compare the experiential knowledge of elite sprint running technique of the two groups. Fifty-six sprint coaches and 12 applied sport biomechanists were surveyed to determine ideas on what ideal sprinting technique looked like and eight coaches and sport biomechanists participated in semi-structured interviews to further explore these ideas. Several themes were supported in the biomechanist and coach responses as well as empirical literature, however there were some differences, including opposing priorities of the arm action and stance phase positioning that were not supported in the literature. These differences revealed areas where the biomechanist can best assist coaches and where coaches can suggest avenues for future research. Working together through the coach-biomechanist relationship that exists in high performance sport can benefit all involved and gaps in knowledge can be overcome to ensure that athletes receive the very best support to improve their performance.

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Tom R. Eaton, Aaron Potter, François Billaut, Derek Panchuk, David B. Pyne, Christopher J. Gore, Ting-Ting Chen, Leon McQuade and Nigel K. Stepto

Heat and hypoxia exacerbate central nervous system (CNS) fatigue. We therefore investigated whether essential amino acid (EAA) and caffeine ingestion attenuates CNS fatigue in a simulated team sport–specific running protocol in a hot, hypoxic environment. Subelite male team sport athletes (n = 8) performed a repeat sprint running protocol on a nonmotorized treadmill in an extreme environment on 4 separate occasions. Participants ingested one of four supplements: a double placebo, 3 mg.kg-1 body mass of caffeine + placebo, 2 × 7 g EAA (Musashi Create)+placebo, or caffeine + EAA before each exercise session using a randomized, double-blind crossover design. Electromyography (EMG) activity and quadriceps evoked responses to magnetic stimulation were assessed from the dominant leg at preexercise, halftime, and postexercise. Central activation ratio (CAR) was used to quantify completeness of quadriceps activation. Oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex was measured via near-infrared spectroscopy. Mean sprint work was higher (M = 174 J, 95% CI [23, 324], p < .05, d = 0.30; effect size, likely beneficial) in the caffeine + EAA condition versus EAAs alone. The decline in EMG activity was less (M = 13%, 95% CI [0, 26]; p < .01, d = 0.58, likely beneficial) in caffeine + EAA versus EAA alone. Similarly, the pre- to postexercise decrement in CAR was significantly less (M = −2.7%, 95% CI [0.4, 5.4]; p < .05, d = 0.50, likely beneficial) when caffeine + EAA were ingested compared with placebo. Cerebral oxygenation was lower (M = −5.6%, 95% CI [1.0, 10.1]; p < .01, d = 0.60, very likely beneficial) in the caffeine + EAA condition compared with LNAA alone. Coingestion of caffeine and EAA appears to maintain muscle activation and central drive, with a small improvement in running performance.