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  • Author: Julien S. Baker x
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Robin C. Jackson and Julien S. Baker

This paper presents a case study of the most prolific rugby goal kicker of all time. In the first part of the study, the consistency of his preperformance routine was analyzed over kicks of varying difficulty. Results indicate that while certain physical aspects of his routine remain consistent, both his concentration time and physical preparation time increase with kick difficulty. In the second part of the study, the participant was interviewed about his physical and mental preparation for rugby goal kicking in competitive situations. The interview revealed that the participant incorporates a number of psychological skills into his routine, including thought stopping, cueing, and imagery but does not do so consistently. However, he perceives the timing of his routine to be highly consistent. Implications of these findings for the recommendation that performers strive for temporal consistency in their routines (Boutcher, 1990) are discussed.

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Graeme G. Sorbie, Fergal M. Grace, Yaodong Gu, Julien S. Baker and Ukadike C. Ugbolue

Lower back pain is commonly associated with golfers. The study aimed: to determine whether thoracic- and lumbar-erector-spinae muscle display signs of muscular fatigue after completing a golf practice session, and to examine the effect of the completed practice session on club head speed, ball speed and absolute carry distance performance variables. Fourteen right-handed male golfers participated in the laboratory-based-study. Surface electromyography (EMG) data was collected from the lead and trail sides of the thoracic- and lumbar-erector-spinae muscle. Normalized root mean squared (RMS) EMG activation levels and performance variables for the golf swings were compared before and after the session. Fatigue was assessed using median frequency (MDF) and RMS during the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) performed before and after the session. No significant differences were observed in RMS thoracic- and lumbar-erector-spinae muscle activation levels during the five phases of the golf swing and performance variables before and after the session (p > .05). Significant changes were displayed in MDF and RMS when comparing the MVC performed before and after the session (p < .05). Fatigue was evident in the trail side of the erector-spinae muscle after the session.

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Liam P. Kilduff, Charlotte V. Finn, Julien S. Baker, Christian J. Cook and Daniel J. West

Sports scientists and strength and conditioning professionals spend the majority of the competition season trying to ensure that their athletes’ training and recovery strategies are appropriate to ensure optimal performance on competition day. However, there is an additional window on the day of competition where performance can be acutely enhanced with a number of preconditioning strategies. These strategies include appropriately designed warm-up, passive heat maintenance, postactivation potentiation, remote ischemic preconditioning, and, more recently, prior exercise and hormonal priming. The aim of this review was to explore the potential practical use of these strategies and propose a theoretical timeline outlining how they may be incorporated into athlete’s precompetition routine to enhance performance. For the purpose of this review the discussion is confined to strategies that may enhance performance of short-duration, high-intensity sports (eg, sprinting, jumping, throwing).

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Non-Eleri Thomas, Stephen-Mark Cooper, Simon P. Williams, Julien S. Baker and Bruce Davies

The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between aerobic fitness (AF), fatness, and coronary-heart-disease (CHD) risk factors in 12- to 13-year-olds. The data were obtained from 208 schoolchildren (100 boys; 108 girls) ages 12.9 ± 0.3 years. Measurements included AF, indices of obesity, blood pressure, blood lipids and lipoproteins, fibrinogen, homocysteine, and C-reactive protein. An inverse relationship was found between AF and fatness (p < .05). Fatness was related to a greater number of CHD risk factors than fitness was (p < .05). Further analysis revealed fatness to be an independent predictor of triglyceride and blood-pressure levels (p < .05). Our findings indicate that, for young people, fatness rather than fitness is independently related to CHD risk factors.

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Brian Cunniffe, Kevin A. Morgan, Julien S. Baker, Marco Cardinale and Bruce Davies

This study evaluated the effect of game venue and starting status on precompetitive psychophysiological measures in elite rugby union. Saliva samples were taken from players (starting XV, n = 15, and nonstarters, n = 9) on a control day and 90 min before 4 games played consecutively at home and away venues against local rivals and league leaders. Precompetition psychological states were assessed using the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory−2. The squad recorded 2 wins (home) and 2 losses (away) over the study period. Calculated effect sizes (ESs) showed higher pregame cortisol- (C) and testosterone- (T) difference values before all games than on a baseline control day (ES 0.7−1.5). Similar findings were observed for cognitive and somatic anxiety. Small between-venues C differences were observed in starting XV players (ES 0.2−0.25). Conversely, lower home T- (ES 0.95) and higher away C- (ES 0.6) difference values were observed in nonstarters. Lower T-difference values were apparent in nonstarters (vs starting XV) before home games, providing evidence of a between-groups effect (ES 0.92). Findings show an anticipatory rise in psychophysiological variables before competition. Knowledge of starting status appears a moderating factor in the magnitude of player endocrine response between home and away games.

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Farid Farhani, Hamid Rajabi, Raoof Negaresh, Ajmol Ali, Sadegh Amani Shalamzari and Julien S. Baker

Purpose: To examine the validity and reliability of a novel futsal special performance test (FSPT) as a measure of futsal performance and skills. Methods: Thirty-six futsal players with different levels of experience were recruited and divided into 2 groups (elite and nonelite). Players participated in 4 sessions (at least 7 d apart): (1) familiarization session, (2) anaerobic power (Wingate test), (3) FSPT trial 1, and (4) FSPT trial 2. The FSPT was carried out on a futsal court (wooden sprung floor) and skills such as dribbling, rotation, long and short passing, and shooting were examined. Content validity was assessed by 6 experienced futsal coaches and instructors. Results: There was a significant correlation between FSPT and various aspects of anaerobic power (r = .5–.91; P ≤ .001). Moreover, significant large correlations were observed between test and retest of FSPT (r = .77; 95% confidence interval [CI], .56–.98; P ≤ .001). All instructors and coaches confirmed the content validity. There was high interrater reliability of the FSPT (r = .89; 95% CI, .85–.93; P < .001). FSPT total time (P = .001), penalty time (P = .022), and performance time (P = .001) were superior in elite relative to nonelite players. Anaerobic power was greater in elite players (P < .001). Conclusion: The results support the use of the FSPT to assess futsal players’ performance in conjunction with skill and anaerobic fitness.

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Rhona Martin-Smith, Duncan S. Buchan, Julien S. Baker, Mhairi J. Macdonald, Nicholas F. Sculthorpe, Chris Easton, Allan Knox and Fergal M. Grace

Background: This study examined the impact of a 4-week school-based sprint interval training program on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), daily physical activity (PA) behavior, and cardiometabolic risk (CMR) outcomes in adolescents. Methods: A total of 56 adolescents (22 females) were allocated to either an intervention (n = 22; 17.0 [0.3] y) or control group (n = 30; 16.8 [0.5] y). Intervention group performed 5 to 6, 30 second “all out” running sprints, interspersed with 30-second rest intervals, 3 times per week, for 4 consecutive weeks, whereas control group performed their normal physical education lessons. CRF was estimated from the 20-m multistage fitness test and PA behavior was determined using accelerometry. Fasting blood samples were obtained to measure biochemical markers of CMR. Results: Significant group × time interactions were observed for CRF (5.03 [1.66 to 8.40]; P < .001; d = 0.95), sedentary time (136.15 [91.91 to 180.39]; P = .004; d = 1.8), moderate PA (57.20 [32.17 to 82.23]; P < .001; d = 1.5), vigorous PA (5.40 [4.22 to 6.57]; P < .001; d = 1.2), fasting insulin (0.37 [−0.48 to 1.21]; P = .01; d = 1.0), homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance (0.26 [0.15 to 0.42]; P < .001; d = 0.9), and clustered CMR score (0.22 [−0.05 to 0.68]; P < .001; d = 10.63). Conclusion: Findings of this study indicate that 4 weeks of school-based sprint interval training improves CRF, improves PA profiles, and maintains CMR in adolescents during the school term.