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  • Author: Norikazu Hirose x
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Norikazu Hirose and Chikako Nakahori


To describe cross-sectional age differences in change-of-direction performance (CODp) in female football players and investigate the relationship between CODp and linear-sprint speed, muscle power, and body size.


A sample of 135 well-trained female football players was divided into 8 age groups. Anthropometry (height, body mass, and lean body mass) and athletic performance (10-m sprint speed, 10-m × 5-CODp, and 5-step bounding distance) were compared to determine interage differences using ANOVA. Then, the participants were divided into 3 age groups: 12- to 14-y-olds, 15- to 17-y-olds, and ≥ 18 y-olds. Simple- and multiple-regression analyses were conducted to determine the correlation between CODp and the other measurement variables in each age group.


Age-related differences were found for CODp (F = 10.41, P < .01), sprint speed (F = 3.27, P < .01), and bounding distance (F = 4.20, P < .01). Post hoc analysis revealed that the CODp of 17-y-old players was faster than that of 16-y-old players (P < .01), with no interage differences in sprint speed and bounding distance. Sprint speed and bounding distance were weakly correlated with CODp in 15- to ≥18-y-old players, but only sprint speed was correlated with CODp in 12- to 14-y-old players.


CODp improves from 16 to 17 y of age in female players. Linear-sprint speed, muscle power, and body size were weakly correlated with the age differences in CODp.

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Akane Yoshimura, Robert Schleip and Norikazu Hirose

Context: Several studies have reported that self-massage using a foam roller (FR) increased joint range of motion (ROM) immediately. However, the mechanism of increasing ROM by the FR intervention has not been elucidated. Objective: To clarify the mechanism by investigating properties and morphological changes of muscles targeted by the FR intervention. Design: An interventional study. Setting: An athletic training laboratory. Participants: Ten male college volunteers with no injuries in their lower limbs (mean [SD]: age 23.8 [3.2] y, height 173.2 [4.9] cm, weight 69.5 [8.6] kg). Intervention: The FR intervention on the right plantar flexors for 3 minutes. Main Outcome Measures: Maximum ankle ROM, muscle hardness, and fascicle length of the gastrocnemius muscle at the neutral (0°), maximum dorsiflexion, and maximum plantar flexion positions. All measurements were conducted before (PRE) and after (POST) the FR intervention. Results: Dorsiflexion ROM increased significantly at POST (PRE: 13.6° [8.0°], POST: 16.6° [8.4°]; P < .001), although plantar flexion ROM did not change significantly between PRE and POST (PRE: 40.0° [6.1°], POST: 41.1° [4.9°]). There was no significant difference in muscle hardness and fascicle length between PRE and POST in any of the angles. Conclusions: Dorsiflexion ROM increased significantly by the FR intervention in the present study; however, muscle hardness and fascicle length did not change. FR may affect not only the muscle but also the fascia, tendon, and muscle-tendon unit. The FR protocol of the present study can be applied in clinical situations, because it was found to be effective to increase ROM.

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Keitaro Kubo, Takanori Teshima, Norikazu Hirose and Naoya Tsunoda

The purpose of this study was to compare the morphological and mechanical properties of the human patellar tendon among elementary school children (prepubertal), junior high school students (pubertal), and adults. Twenty-one elementary school children, 18 junior high school students, and 22 adults participated in this study. The maximal strain, stiffness, Young’s modulus, hysteresis, and cross-sectional area of the patellar tendon were measured using ultrasonography. No significant difference was observed in the relative length (to thigh length) or cross-sectional area (to body mass2/3) of the patellar tendon among the three groups. Stiffness and Young’s modulus were significantly lower in elementary school children than in the other groups, while no significant differences were observed between junior high school students and adults. No significant differences were observed in maximal strain or hysteresis among the three groups. These results suggest that the material property (Young’s modulus) of the patellar tendons of elementary school children was lower than that of the other groups, whereas that of junior high school students was already similar to that of adults. In addition, no significant differences were observed in the extensibility (maximal strain) or viscosity (hysteresis) of the patellar tendon among the three groups.