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Jürgen Beckmann and Michael Kellmann

In this paper we discuss some of the factors sport psychologists should consider before administering questionnaires or other formal assessment instruments to athletes. To be used effectively, assessment instruments need to be (a) reliable and valid for the individual athlete or sport group in question, (b) seen as useful by the athlete(s) completing the instrument, and be (c) completed honestly by the athlete(s). Additional objectives sport psychologists should strive to achieve include a clear identification of the purpose of the assessment instrument, the commitment of athlete and coach to the assessment process, and the maintenance of a clear channel of communication with coaches and athletes throughout the period of psychological assessment, training, feedback, evaluation, and adjustment.

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Sebastian Altfeld, Clifford J. Mallett and Michael Kellmann

The development of burnout in the vocation of sports coaching is a process that can take months or even years. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of longitudinal examination of coaches’ burnout, stress, and recovery. The present study investigated burnout, stress, and recovery of full and part-time coaches to examine possible changes during the course of the season. Twenty-five full-time and 45 part-time active German coaches of different sports and competition levels completed the German coaches’ version of the MBI and the RESTQ for Coaches at three time points. Inferential statistical analysis revealed significant changes of full-time coaches’ stress and recovery scores over the course of the season. Moreover, the work hours per week were significantly higher at the end of the season. Post hoc analysis revealed that full-time coaches whose values of perceived success decreased over the season showed increased emotional stress and decreased recovery values. Part-time coaches reported consistent stress experiences. Consequently, findings suggest that full-time coaches experienced increased emotional stress, invested more time, and had insufficient recovery during the season. Thus, the results highlighted the significant role of recovery for full-time coaches and were particularly important to enhance the understanding of coaches’ work.

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Maximilian Pelka, Alexander Ferrauti, Tim Meyer, Mark Pfeiffer and Michael Kellmann

A recovery process with optimal prerequisites that is interrupted is termed disrupted recovery. Whether this process has an influence on performance-related factors needs to be investigated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine how a short disturbance of a recovery phase is assessed and whether subsequent repeated-sprint performance is affected by it. A quasi-experimental 2 × 2-factor crossover design with 34 sport-science undergraduate students (age 20.3 ± 2.1 y) was applied. Factors were the type of intervention (power nap vs systematic breathing; between-subjects) and the experimental condition (disturbed vs nondisturbed break; within-subject). Repeated-sprint performance was measured through 6 × 4-s sprint protocols (with 20-s breaks) before and after a 25-min recovery break on 2 test days. Subjective evaluation of the interventions was measured through the Short Recovery and Stress Scale and a manipulation check assessing whether participants experienced the recovery phase as efficacious and pleasant. Regarding the objective data, no significant difference between sprint performances in terms of average peak velocity (m/s) on the treadmill was found. The manipulation check revealed that disturbed conditions were rated significantly lower than regular conditions in terms of appreciation, t 31 = 3.09, P = .01. Short disturbances of recovery do not seem to affect subsequent performance; nevertheless, participants assessed disturbed conditions more negatively than regular conditions. In essence, the findings indicate a negligible role of short interruptions on an objective level. Subjectively, they affected the performance-related assessment of the participants and should be treated with caution.

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Scott B. Martin, Michael Kellmann, David Lavallee and Stephen J. Page

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to develop a revised form of the Attitudes Toward Seeking Sport Psychology Consultation Questionnaire (ATSSPCQ; Martin, Wrisberg, Beitel, & Lounsbury, 1997). The 50-item ATSSPCQ was administered to 533 athletes (M = 18.03 ± 2.71). Exploratory alpha factor analysis with varimax rotation produced four factors: (a) stigma tolerance, (b) confidence in sport psychology consultation, (c) personal openness, and (d) cultural preference. The new questionnaire, the Sport Psychology Attitudes - Revised form (SPA-R), was then administered to 379 United States, 234 United Kingdom, and 443 German athletes (M = 20.37 ± 5.13). Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated the factorial validity of the four-factor model for the SPA-R for male and female athletes, late adolescent

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Michael Kellmann, Dieter Altenburg, Werner Lormes and Jürgen M. Steinacker

Training stress and adequate recovery have been identified as important factors to enhance performance in sports and to avoid overtraining. Research dealing with training monitoring and overtraining is mostly based on the Profile of Mood Stales (POMS). Recently, Kellmann and Kallus (2000, 2001) published the Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Athletes (RESTQ-Sport), which assesses training effects from the perspective of stress and recovery. During a six-week training camp before and at the World Championships, 24 female and 30 male rowers of the German Junior National Rowing Team completed the RESTQ-Sport and the POMS six times. Results of selected MANOVA’s revealed significant increases of stress and decreases of recovery when training load expands, and vice versa. Changes in mood, creatine kinase, and ergometer performance reflect the alteration and success of training. These results suggest that the RESTQ-Sport is a potential alternative to the POMS in evaluating the impact of various training schedules.

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Katharina Geukes, Christopher Mesagno, Stephanie J. Hanrahan and Michael Kellmann

Trait activation theorists suggest that situational demands activate traits in (pressure) situations. In a comparison of situational demands of private (monetary incentive, cover story), mixed (monetary incentive, small audience), and public (large audience, video taping) high-pressure situations, we hypothesized that situational demands of private and mixed high-pressure conditions would activate self-focus traits and those of a public high-pressure condition would activate self-presentation traits. Female handball players (N = 120) completed personality questionnaires and then performed a throwing task in a low-pressure condition and one of three high-pressure conditions (n = 40). Increased anxiety levels from low to high pressure indicated successful pressure manipulations. A self-focus trait negatively predicted performance in private and mixed high-pressure conditions, and self-presentation traits positively predicted performance in the public high-pressure condition. Thus, pressure situations differed in their trait-activating situational demands. Experimental research investigating the trait–performance relationship should therefore use simulations of real competitions over laboratory-based scenarios.

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Sebastian Altfeld, Paul Schaffran, Jens Kleinert and Michael Kellmann

Paid coaches have to regularly deal with a range of potential stressors in the workplace. These stressors may include emotional and physical demands caused by the complex nature of coaching work. Many coaches have developed useful strategies to cope with these demands. Nevertheless, unexpected changes within the dynamic environment in which they typically operate (e.g., injury, public scrutiny, social media), problems with members of the board or management, continuous negative performance results, or personal factors may challenge the adequacy of coaches’ coping mechanisms. This inability to cope with these stresses can lead to a state of chronic stress. If that state manifests permanently, it can result in a state of emotional exhaustion, ultimately leading to coach burnout. The aim of this article is to define the burnout phenomenon and to provide a clear description of the triggering factors. Furthermore, ideas are presented to guide how coaches can protect themselves and how officials (club or association management) can reduce coaches’ burnout.

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Oliver Faude, Anke Steffen, Michael Kellmann and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

To analyze performance and fatigue effects of small-sided games (SSG) vs high-intensity interval training (HIIT) performed during a 4-wk in-season period in high-level youth football.

Methods:

Nineteen players from 4 youth teams (16.5 [SD 0.8] y, 1.79 [0.06] m, 70.7 [5.6] kg) of the 2 highest German divisions completed the study. Teams were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 training sequences (2 endurance sessions per wk): One training group started with SSG, whereas the other group conducted HIIT during the first half of the competitive season. After the winter break, training programs were changed between groups. Before and after the training periods the following tests were completed: the Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes, creatine kinase and urea concentrations, vertical-jump height (countermovement jump [CMJ], drop jump), straight sprint, agility, and an incremental field test to determine individual anaerobic threshold (IAT).

Results:

Significant time effects were observed for IAT (+1.3%, ηp2 = .31), peak heart rate (–1.8%, ηp2 = .45), and CMJ (–2.3%, ηp2 = .27), with no significant interaction between groups (P > .30). Players with low baseline IAT values (+4.3%) showed greater improvements than those with high initial values (±0.0%). A significant decrease was found for total recovery (–5.0%, ηp2 = .29), and an increase was found for urea concentration (+9.2%, ηp2 = .44).

Conclusion:

Four weeks of in-season endurance training can lead to relevant improvements in endurance capacity. The decreases in CMJ height and total-recovery score together with the increase in urea concentration might be interpreted as early signs of fatigue. Thus, the danger of overtaxing players should be considered.

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Anne Hecksteden, Werner Pitsch, Ross Julian, Mark Pfeiffer, Michael Kellmann, Alexander Ferrauti and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

Assessment of muscle recovery is essential for the daily fine-tuning of training load in competitive sports, but individual differences may limit the diagnostic accuracy of group-based reference ranges. This article reports an attempt to develop individualized reference ranges using a Bayesian approach comparable to that developed for the Athlete Biological Passport.

Methods:

Urea and creatine kinase (CK) were selected as indicators of muscle recovery. For each parameter, prior distributions and repeated-measures SDs were characterized based on data of 883 squad athletes (1758 data points, 1–8 per athlete, years 2013–2015). Equations for the individualization procedure were adapted from previous material to allow for discrimination of 2 physiological states (recovered vs nonrecovered). Evaluation of classificatory performance was carried out using data from 5 consecutive weekly microcycles in 14 elite junior swimmers and triathletes. Blood samples were collected every Monday (recovered) and Friday according to the repetitive weekly training schedule over 5 wk. On the group level, changes in muscle recovery could be confirmed by significant differences in urea and CK and validated questionnaires. Group-based reference ranges were derived from that same data set to avoid overestimating the potential benefit of individualization.

Results:

For CK, error rates were significantly lower with individualized classification (P vs group-based: test-pass error rate P = .008; test-fail error rate P < .001). For urea, numerical improvements in error rates failed to reach significance.

Conclusions:

Individualized reference ranges seem to be a promising tool to improve accuracy of monitoring muscle recovery. Investigating application to a larger panel of indicators is warranted.

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Daniel Hammes, Sabrina Skorski, Sascha Schwindling, Alexander Ferrauti, Mark Pfeiffer, Michael Kellmann and Tim Meyer

The Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycle Test (LSCT) is a novel test designed to monitor performance and fatigue/recovery in cyclists. Studies have shown the ability to predict performance; however, there is a lack of studies concerning monitoring of fatigue/recovery. In this study, 23 trained male cyclists (age 29 ± 8 y, VO2max 59.4 ± 7.4 mL · min−1 · kg−1) completed a training camp. The LSCT was conducted on days 1, 8, and 11. After day 1, an intensive 6-day training period was performed. Between days 8 and 11, a recovery period was realized. The LSCT consists of 3 stages with fixed heart rates of 6 min at 60% and 80% and 3 min at 90% of maximum heart rate. During the stages, power output and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were determined. Heart-rate recovery was measured after stage 3. Power output almost certainly (standardized mean difference: 1.0) and RPE very likely (1.7) increased from day 1 to day 8 at stage 2. Power output likely (0.4) and RPE almost certainly (2.6) increased at stage 3. From day 8 to day 11, power output possibly (–0.4) and RPE likely (–1.5) decreased at stage 2 and possibly (–0.1) and almost certainly (–1.9) at stage 3. Heart-rate recovery was likely (0.7) accelerated from day 1 to day 8. Changes from day 8 to day 11 were unclear (–0.1). The LSCT can be used for monitoring fatigue and recovery, since parameters were responsive to a fatiguing training and a following recovery period. However, consideration of multiple LSCT variables is required to interpret the results correctly.