The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationship between straight-sprint and change-of-direction performance. Total sprinting time and split time at 5 m were collected from 44 college football players during a 15-m straight sprint (SS15m) and a 15-m zigzag sprint with two 60° changes of direction (COD15m). Differences in sprinting time between COD15m and SS15m and between COD5m and SS5m were expressed as percentage of decrement at 5 m and 15 m (Δ%5m and Δ%15m). Significant and high correlations emerged between SS15m and COD15m (r = .86, P < .0001), SS5m and SS15m (r = .92, P < .0001), SS5m and COD5m (r = .92, P < .0001), and COD5m and COD15m (r = .71, P < .0001). Δ%5m and Δ%15m showed a range of 1.2–30.0% and 34.9–59.4%, respectively. These results suggested how straight-sprint and change-of-direction performance are similar abilities in college football players, in particular when a smaller angle of the change of direction is considered. Moreover, it seems necessary to have athletes undergo tests that mimic the demands of football game, which is characterized by sprint on short distances and with changes of direction.
Giancarlo Condello, Kevin Schultz and Antonio Tessitore
Giancarlo Condello, Thomas W. Kernozek, Antonio Tessitore and Carl Foster
This study aimed to investigate biomechanical parameters during a change-of-direction task in college soccer players. Fourteen male and 12 female players performed a 10-m sprint with a 60° change of direction at 5 m. Vertical and mediolateral groundreaction force (GRF) and contact time were measured by having the subjects run in both directions while contacting a force plate with either their preferred (kicking) or nonpreferred leg. Using the midpoint between 2 pelvic markers, further parameters were evaluated: performance cutting angle and horizontal distance. Relationships between parameters, sex, and leg preference were analyzed. Significant correlations emerged between vertical and mediolateral GRF (r = .660–.909) and between contact time and performance cutting angle (r = –.598 to –.793). Sex differences were found for mediolateral GRF (P = .005), performance cutting angle (P = .043), and horizontal distance (P = .020). Leg differences were observed for vertical GRF (P = .029), performance cutting angle (P = .011), and horizontal distance (P = .012). This study showed that a sharper change of direction corresponded to a longer contact time, while no relationships were found with GRF. Moreover, measuring the angle revealed that the real path traveled was different from the theoretical one, highlighting the performance of sharper or more rounded execution. In conclusion, this study showed that specific biomechanical measurements can provide details about the execution of a change of direction, highlighting the ability of the nonpreferred leg to perform better directional changes.
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.
Simone Ciaccioni, Laura Capranica, Roberta Forte, Helmi Chaabene, Caterina Pesce and Giancarlo Condello
This study aimed to investigate the effects of a 4-month judo training (1 hr session, biweekly) on physical and mental health of older adults (69.7 ± 4.2 years). Participants (N = 30) were assigned to a judo novice practitioners group (n = 16) or a control group (n = 14), which did not receive any training. Before and after the program, they underwent anthropometric (body mass index and waist and hip circumferences); functional fitness (upper and lower body flexibility and strength, coordination); and psychological assessments (perceived physical and mental health, body image, and fear of falling). The judo group showed reductions of waist circumference (Δ = −1%, d = 0.2) and improvements for lower and upper body flexibility (Δ = +69%, d = 0.4 and Δ = +126%, d = 0.5, respectively) and strength (Δ = +12%, d = 0.6 and Δ = +31%, d = 1.6, respectively). The control group showed a decline in lower body strength (Δ = −12%, d = 0.8). Psychological variables did not reveal statistically significant effects. Judo seems beneficial for improving anthropometric and functional fitness variables, relevant aspects of successful aging.