Matthew C. Varley, George P. Elias and Robert J. Aughey
To compare the peak 5-min period of high-velocity running (HiVR) during a soccer match using a predefined vs a rolling time interval.
Player movement data were collected from 19 elite Australian soccer players over 11 competitive matches (77 individual match files) using a 5-Hz global-positioning system. Raw velocity data were analyzed to determine the period containing the greatest HiVR distance per match half and the distance covered in the subsequent epoch. Intervals were identified using either a predefined (distance covered in 5 min at every 5-min time point) or rolling (distance covered in 5 min from every time point) method. The percentage difference ± 90% confidence limits were used to determine differences between methods.
Predefined periods underestimated peak distance covered by up to 25% and overestimated the subsequent epoch by up to 31% compared with rolling periods. When the distance decrement between the peak and following period was determined, there was up to a 52% greater reduction in running performance using rolling periods than predefined ones.
It is recommended that researchers use rolling as opposed to predefined periods when determining specific match intervals because they provide a more accurate representation of the HiVR distance covered. This will avoid underestimation of both match running distance and the decrement in running performance after an intense period of play. This may have practical implications for not only researchers but also staff involved in a club setting who use this reduction as evidence of transient fatigue during a match.
Alireza Esmaeili, Andrew M. Stewart, William G. Hopkins, George P. Elias and Robert J. Aughey
Detrimental changes in tendon structure increase the risk of tendinopathies. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of individual internal and external training loads and leg dominance on changes in the Achilles and patellar tendon structure.
The internal structure of the Achilles and patellar tendons of both limbs of 26 elite Australian footballers was assessed using ultrasound tissue characterization at the beginning and the end of an 18-wk preseason. Linear-regression analysis was used to estimate the effects of training load on changes in the proportion of aligned and intact tendon bundles for each side. Standardization and magnitude-based inferences were used to interpret the findings.
Possibly to very likely small increases in the proportion of aligned and intact tendon bundles occurred in the dominant Achilles (initial value 81.1%; change, ±90% confidence limits 1.6%, ±1.0%), nondominant Achilles (80.8%; 0.9%, ±1.0%), dominant patellar (75.8%; 1.5%, ±1.5%), and nondominant patellar (76.8%; 2.7%, ±1.4%) tendons. Measures of training load had inconsistent effects on changes in tendon structure; eg, there were possibly to likely small positive effects on the structure of the nondominant Achilles tendon, likely small negative effects on the dominant Achilles tendon, and predominantly no clear effects on the patellar tendons.
The small and inconsistent effects of training load are indicative of the role of recovery between tendon-overloading (training) sessions and the multivariate nature of the tendon response to load, with leg dominance a possible influencing factor.
George P. Elias, Victoria L. Wyckelsma, Matthew C. Varley, Michael J. McKenna and Robert J. Aughey
The efficacy of a single exposure to 14 min of contrast water therapy (CWT) or cold-water immersion (COLD) on recovery postmatch in elite professional footballers was investigated.
Twenty-four elite footballers participated in a match followed by 1 of 3 recovery interventions. Recovery was monitored for 48 h postmatch. Repeat-sprint ability (6 × 20-m), static and countermovement jump performance, perceived soreness, and fatigue were measured prematch and immediately, 24 h, and 48 h after the match. Soreness and fatigue were also measured 1 h postmatch. Postmatch, players were randomly assigned to complete passive recovery (PAS; n = 8), COLD (n = 8), or CWT (n = 8).
Immediately postmatch, all groups exhibited similar psychometric and performance decrements, which persisted for 48 h only in the PAS group. Repeatsprinting performance remained slower at 24 and 48 h for PAS (3.9% and 2.0%) and CWT (1.6% and 0.9%) but was restored by COLD (0.2% and 0.0%). Soreness after 48 h was most effectively attenuated by COLD (ES 0.59 ± 0.10) but remained elevated for CWT (ES 2.39 ± 0.29) and PAS (ES 4.01 ± 0.97). Similarly, COLD more successfully reduced fatigue after 48 h (ES 1.02 ± 0.72) than did CWT (ES 1.22 ± 0.38) and PAS (ES 1.91 ± 0.67). Declines in static and countermovement jump were ameliorated best by COLD.
An elite professional football match results in prolonged physical and psychometric deficits for 48 h. COLD was more successful at restoring physical performance and psychometric measures than CWT, with PAS being the poorest.
George P. Elias, Matthew C. Varley, Victoria L. Wyckelsma, Michael J. McKenna, Clare L. Minahan and Robert J. Aughey
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).
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.
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).
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.