Recent work has espoused the idea that in applied sporting environments, “fast”-working practitioners should work together with “slow”-working researchers. However, due to economical and logistical constraints, such a coupling may not always be practical. Therefore, alternative means of combining research and applied practice are needed. A particular methodology that has been used in recent years is qualitative research. Examples of qualitative methods include online surveys, 1-on-1 interviews, and focus groups. This article discusses the merits of using qualitative methods to combine applied practice and research in sport science. This includes a discussion of recent examples of the use of such methods in published journal articles, a critique of the approaches employed, and future directions and recommendations. The authors encourage both practitioners and researchers to use and engage with qualitative research with the ultimate goal of benefiting athlete health and sporting performance.
Liam D. Harper and Robert McCunn
Liam D. Harper, Adam Field, Liam D. Corr, and Robert J. Naughton
The aim of this investigation was to profile the physiological, physical, and biomechanical responses during walking football. A total of 17 male participants (aged 66 ± 6 years) participated. Heart rate; blood lactate; accelerometer variables (biomechanical load [PlayerLoad™], changes of direction); and rating of perceived exertion were measured. Participants mean percentage of maximum heart rate was 76 ± 6% during the sessions, with rating of perceived exertion across all sessions at 13 ± 2. Blood lactate increased by ∼157% from presession (1.24 ± 0.4 mmol/L) to postsession (3.19 ± 1.7 mmol/L; p ≤ .0005). PlayerLoad™ values of 353 ± 67 arbitrary units were observed, as well as ∼100 changes of direction per session. In conclusion, walking football is a moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity. The longitudinal health benefits of walking football remain to be elucidated, particularly on bone health, cardiovascular fitness, and social and mental well-being.
Liam D. Corr, Adam Field, Deborah Pufal, Jenny Killey, Tom Clifford, Liam D. Harper, and Robert J. Naughton
Polyphenol consumption has become a popular method of trying to temper muscle damage. Cocoa flavanols (CF) have attracted attention due to their high polyphenol content and palatability. As such, this study will investigate whether an acute dose of CF can aid recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage. The study was a laboratory-based, randomized, single-blind, nutrient-controlled trial involving 23 participants (13 females and 10 males). Participants were randomized into either control ∼0 mg CF (n = 8, four females); high dose of 830 mg CF (CF830, n = 8, five females); or supra dose of 1,245 mg CF (CF1245, n = 7, four females). The exercise-induced muscle damage protocol consisted of five sets of 10 maximal concentric/eccentric hamstring curls and immediately consumed their assigned drink following completion. To measure muscle recovery, maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of the knee flexors at 60° and 30°, a visual analog scale (VAS), and lower-extremity function scale were taken at baseline, immediately, 24-, 48-, and 72-hr postexercise-induced muscle damage. There was a main effect for time for all variables (p < .05). However, no significant differences were observed between groups for all measures (p ≥ .17). At 48 hr, there were large effect sizes between control and CF1245 for MVIC60 (p = .17, d = 0.8); MVIC30 (p = .26, d = 0.8); MVIC30 percentage change (p = .24 d = 0.9); and visual analog scale (p = .25, d = 0.9). As no significant differences were observed following the consumption of CF, there is reason to believe that CF offer no benefit for muscle recovery when ingested acutely.