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Geoff Minett, Rob Duffield, and Stephen P. Bird

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of an acute multinutrient supplement on game-based running performance, peak power output, anaerobic by-products, hormonal profiles, markers of muscle damage, and perceived muscular soreness before, immediately after, and 24 h following competitive rugby union games.

Methods:

Twelve male rugby union players ingested either a comprehensive multinutrient supplement (SUPP), [RE-ACTIVATE:01], or a placebo (PL) for 5 d. Participants then performed a competitive rugby union game (with global positioning system tracking), with associated blood draws and vertical jump assessments pre, immediately post and 24 h following competition.

Results:

SUPP ingestion resulted in moderate to large effects for augmented 1st half very high intensity running (VHIR) mean speed (5.9 ± 0.4 vs 4.8 ± 2.3 m·min−1; d = 0.93). Further, moderate increases in 2nd half VHIR distance (137 ± 119 vs 83 ± 89 m; d = 0.73) and VHIR mean speed (5.9 ± 0.6 v 5.3 ± 1.7 m·min−1; d = 0.56) in SUPP condition were also apparent. Postgame aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 44.1 ± 11.8 vs 37.0 ± 3.2 UL; d = 1.16) and creatine kinase (CK; 882 ± 472 vs. 645 ± 123 UL; d = 0.97) measures demonstrated increased values in the SUPP condition, while AST and CK values correlated with 2nd half VHIR distance (r = −0.71 and r = −0.76 respectively). Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) was observed postgame in both conditions; however, it was significantly blunted with SUPP (P = .05).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest SUPP may assist in the maintenance of VHIR during rugby union games, possibly via the buffering qualities of SUPP ingredients. However, correlations between increased work completed at very high intensities and muscular degradation in SUPP conditions, may mask any anticatabolic properties of the supplement.

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Rob Duffield, Monique King, and Melissa Skein

Purpose:

This study investigated the effects of hot conditions on the acute recovery of voluntary and evoked muscle performance and physiological responses following intermittent exercise.

Methods:

Seven youth male and six female team-sport athletes performed two sessions separated by 7 d, involving a 30-min exercise protocol and 60-min passive recovery in either 22°C or 33°C and 40% relative humidity. The exercise protocol involved a 20-s maximal sprint every 5 min, separated by constant-intensity exercise at 100 W on a cycle ergometer. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) and a resting evoked twitch (Pf) of the right knee extensors were assessed before and immediately following exercise and again 15, 30, and 60 min post exercise, and capillary blood was obtained at the same time points to measure lactate, pH, and HCO3. During and following exercise, core temperature, heart rate and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were also measured.

Results:

No differences (P = 0.73 to 0.95) in peak power during repeated sprints were present between conditions. Post exercise MVC was reduced (P < .05) in both conditions and a moderate effect size (d = 0.60) indicated a slower percentage MVC recovered by 60 min in the heat (83 ± 10 vs 74 ± 11% recovered). Both heart rate and core temperature were significantly higher (P < .05) during recovery in the heat. Capillary blood values did not differ between conditions at any time point, whereas sessional RPE was higher 60 min post exercise in the heat.

Conclusions:

The current data suggests that passive recovery in warm temperatures not only delays cardiovascular and thermal recovery, but may also slow the recovery of MVC and RPE.

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Will Vickery, Ben Dascombe, and Rob Duffield

Purpose:

To examine the relationship between session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) and measures of internal and external training load (TL) in cricket batsmen and medium-fast bowlers during net-based training sessions.

Methods:

The internal (heart rate), external (movement demands, PlayerLoad), and technical (cricket-specific skills) loads of 30 male cricket players (age 21.2 ± 3.8 y, height 1.82 ± 0.07 m, body mass 79.0 ± 8.7 kg) were determined from net-based cricket-training sessions (n = 118). The relationships between sRPE and measures of TL were quantified using Pearson product–moment correlations respective to playing position. Stepwise multiple-regression techniques provided key internal- and external-load determinants of sRPE in cricket players.

Results:

Significant correlations were evident (r = -.34 to .87, P < .05) between internal and external measures of TL and sRPE, with the strongest correlations (r ≥ .62) for GPS-derived measures for both playing positions. In batsmen, stepwise multiple-regression analysis revealed that 67.8% of the adjusted variance in sRPE could be explained by PlayerLoad and high-intensity distance (y = 27.43 + 0.81 PlayerLoad + 0.29 high-intensity distance). For medium-fast bowlers, 76.3% of the adjusted variance could be explained by total distance and mean heart rate (y = 101.82 + total distance 0.05 + HRmean – 0.48).

Conclusion:

These results suggest that sRPE is a valid method of reporting TL among cricket batsmen and medium-fast bowlers. Position-specific responses are evident and should be considered when monitoring the TL of cricket players.

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Peter Fowler, Rob Duffield, and Joanna Vaile

The current study examined the effects of short-haul air travel on competition performance and subsequent recovery. Six male professional Australian football (soccer) players were recruited to participate in the study. Data were collected from 12 matches, which included 6 home and away matches against the same 4 teams. Together with the outcome of each match, data were obtained for team technical and tactical performance indicators and individual player-movement patterns. Furthermore, sleep quantity and quality, hydration, and perceptual fatigue were measured 2 days before, the day of, and 2 days after each match. More competition points were accumulated (P > .05, d = 1.10) and fewer goals were conceded (P > .05, d = 0.93) in home than in away matches. Furthermore, more shots on goal (P > .05, d = 1.17) and corners (P > .05, d = 1.45) and fewer opposition shots on goal (P > .05, d = 1.18) and corners (P < .05, d = 2.32) occurred, alongside reduced total distance covered (P > .05, d = 1.19) and low-intensity activity (P < .05, d = 2.25) during home than during away matches. However, while oxygen saturation was significantly lower during than before and after outbound and return travel (P < .01), equivocal differences in sleep quantity and quality, hydration, and perceptual fatigue were observed before and after competition away compared with home. These results suggest that, compared with short-haul air travel, factors including situational variables, territoriality, tactics, and athlete psychological state are more important in determining match outcome. Furthermore, despite the potential for disrupted recovery patterns, return travel did not impede player recovery or perceived readiness to train.

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Danielle T. Gescheit, Stuart J. Cormack, Machar Reid, and Rob Duffield

Purpose:

To determine how consecutive days of prolonged tennis match play affect performance, physiological, and perceptual responses.

Methods:

Seven well-trained male tennis players completed 4-h tennis matches on 4 consecutive days. Pre- and postmatch measures involved tennis-specific (serve speed and accuracy), physical (20-m sprint, countermovement jump [CMJ], shoulder-rotation maximal voluntary contraction, isometric midthigh pull), perceptual (Training Distress Scale, soreness), and physiological (creatine kinase [CK]) responses. Activity profile was assessed by heart rate, 3D load (accumulated accelerations measured by triaxial accelerometers), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Statistical analysis compared within- and between-days values. Changes (± 90% confidence interval [CI]) ≥75% likely to exceed the smallest important effect size (0.2) were considered practically important.

Results:

3D load reduced on days 2 to 4 (mean effect size ± 90% CI –1.46 ± 0.40) and effective playing time reduced on days 3 to 4 (–0.37 ± 0.51) compared with day 1. RPE did not differ and total points played only declined on day 3 (–0.38 ± 1.02). Postmatch 20-m sprint (0.79 ± 0.77) and prematch CMJ (–0.43 ± 0.27) performance declined on days 2 to 4 compared with prematch day 1. Although serve velocity was maintained, compromised postmatch serve accuracy was evident compared with prematch day 1 (0.52 ± 0.58). CK increased each day, as did ratings of muscle soreness and fatigue.

Conclusions:

Players reduced external physical loads, through declines in movement, over 4 consecutive days of prolonged competitive tennis. This may be affected by tactical changes and pacing strategies. Alongside this, impairments in sprinting and jumping ability, perceptual and biochemical markers of muscle damage, and reduced mood states may be a function of neuromuscular and perceptual fatigue.

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Alistair P. Murphy, Rob Duffield, Aaron Kellett, and Machar Reid

Purpose:

High-performance tennis environments aim to prepare athletes for competitive demands through simulated-match scenarios and drills. With a dearth of direct comparisons between training and tournament demands, the current investigation compared the perceptual and technical characteristics of training drills, simulated match play, and tournament matches.

Methods:

Data were collected from 18 high-performance junior tennis players (gender: 10 male, 8 female; age 16 ± 1.1 y) during 6 ± 2 drill-based training sessions, 5 ± 2 simulated match-play sessions, and 5 ± 3 tournament matches from each participant. Tournament matches were further distinguished by win or loss and against seeded or nonseeded opponents. Notational analysis of stroke and error rates, winners, and serves, along with rating of perceived physical exertion (RPE) and mental exertion was measured postsession.

Results:

Repeated-measures analyses of variance and effect-size analysis revealed that training sessions were significantly shorter in duration than tournament matches (P < .05, d = 1.18). RPEs during training and simulated matchplay sessions were lower than in tournaments (P > .05; d = 1.26, d = 1.05, respectively). Mental exertion in training was lower than in both simulated match play and tournaments (P > .05; d = 1.10, d = 0.86, respectively). Stroke rates during tournaments exceeded those observed in training (P < .05, d = 3.41) and simulated-match-play (P < .05, d = 1.22) sessions. Furthermore, the serve was used more during tournaments than simulated match play (P < .05, d = 4.28), while errors and winners were similar independent of setting (P > .05, d < 0.80).

Conclusions:

Training in the form of drills or simulated match play appeared to inadequately replicate tournament demands in this cohort of players. Coaches should be mindful of match demands to best prescribe sessions of relevant duration, as well as internal (RPE) and technical (stroke rate) load, to aid tournament preparation.

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Alistair P. Murphy, Rob Duffield, Aaron Kellett, and Machar Reid

Purpose:

Given the travel that punctuates junior tennis development, an understanding of the changes in fitness owing to touring and the association between training loads (TLs) and fitness on return is vital. The authors investigated physical-capacity changes from pretour to posttour, determining if those changes were related to the TL of athletes on tour.

Methods:

Thirty junior athletes completed fitness testing before and after 4-wk tours. Testing included double-leg countermovement jump (CMJ), dominant single-leg and nondominant single-leg CMJ, speed (5, 10, 20 m), modified 5-0-5 agility (left and right), 10 × 20-m repeated-sprint ability (RSA), and multistage fitness tests. Repeated-measures ANOVAs determined physical-capacity change, with effect-size analysis establishing the magnitude of change. To avoid regression toward the mean, a 1/3-split technique was implemented for comparative analysis (high to low TLs).

Results:

Moderate effects (d = 0.50–0.70) for reductions of up to 3.6% in 5-, 10-, and 20-m speeds were observed. However, all remaining changes were only of trivial to small magnitude (d < 0.40). Closer analysis of the interaction between TL and physical capacities (1/3-split) revealed that subjects who completed the greatest amount of total and tennis TL returned with a greater decline in speed and aerobic capacities (d > 0.80). Furthermore, it was observed that match load dictates on- and off-court TL, with an increase in matches won understandably stunting exposure to off-court TL.

Conclusions:

Specific training should be prescribed on tour to maintain speed characteristics over a 4-wk international tour. On-tour training schedules should be carefully monitored to maximize specific TL exposure after losses on tour.

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Peter Fowler, Rob Duffield, Adam Waterson, and Joanna Vaile

The current study examined the acute and longitudinal effects of regular away travel on training load (TL), player wellness, and injury surrounding competitive football (soccer) matches. Eighteen male professional football players, representing a team competing in the highest national competition in Australia, volunteered to participate in the study. Training loads, player wellness and injury incidence, rate, severity, and type, together with the activity at the time of injury, were recorded on the day before, the day of, and for 4 d after each of the 27 matches of the 2012−13 season. This included 14 home and 13 away matches, further subdivided based on the midpoint of the season into early (1−13) and late competition (14−27) phases. While TLs were significantly greater on day 3 at home compared with away during the early competition phase (P = .03), no other significant effects of match location were identified (P > .05). Total TL and mean wellness over the 6 d surrounding matches and TL on day 3 were significantly reduced during the late compared with the early competition phase at home and away (P < .05). Although not significantly (P > .05), training missed due to injury was 60% and 50% greater during the late than during the early competition phase at home and away, respectively. In conclusion, no significant interactions between match location and competition phase were evident during the late competition phase, which suggests that away travel had negligible cumulative effects on the reduction in player wellness in the latter half of the season.

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Peter Fowler, Rob Duffield, Kieran Howle, Adam Waterson, and Joanna Vaile

The current study examined the effects of 10-h northbound air travel across 1 time zone on sleep quantity, together with subjective jet lag and wellness ratings, in 16 male professional Australian football (soccer) players. Player wellness was measured throughout the week before (home training week) and the week of (away travel week) travel from Australia to Japan for a preseason tour. Sleep quantity and subjective jet lag were measured 2 d before (Pre 1 and 2), the day of, and for 5 d after travel (Post 1–5). Sleep duration was significantly reduced during the night before travel (Pre 1; 4.9 [4.2−5.6] h) and night of competition (Post 2; 4.2 [3.7−4.7] h) compared with every other night (P < .01, d > 0.90). Moreover, compared with the day before travel, subjective jet lag was significantly greater for the 5 d after travel (P < .05, d > 0.90), and player wellness was significantly lower 1 d postmatch (Post 3) than at all other time points (P < .05, d > 0.90). Results from the current study suggest that sleep disruption, as a result of an early travel departure time (8 PM) and evening match (7:30 PM), and fatigue induced by competition had a greater effect on wellness ratings than long-haul air travel with a minimal time-zone change. Furthermore, subjective jet lag may have been misinterpreted as fatigue from sleep disruption and competition, especially by the less experienced players. Therefore, northbound air travel across 1 time zone from Australia to Asia appears to have negligible effects on player preparedness for subsequent training and competition.

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Rob Duffield, Alistair Murphy, Aaron Kellett, and Machar Reid

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of combining cold-water immersion (CWI), full-body compression garments (CG), and sleep-hygiene recommendations on physical, physiological, and perceptual recovery after 2-a-day on-court training and match-play sessions.

Methods:

In a crossover design, 8 highly trained tennis players completed 2 sessions of on-court tennis-drill training and match play, followed by a recovery or control condition. Recovery interventions included a mixture of 15 min CWI, 3 h of wearing full-body CG, and following sleep-hygiene recommendations that night, while the control condition involved postsession stretching and no regulation of sleeping patterns. Technical performance (stroke and error rates), physical performance (accelerometry, countermovement jump [CMJ]), physiological (heart rate, blood lactate), and perceptual (mood, exertion, and soreness) measures were recorded from each on-court session, along with sleep quantity each night.

Results:

While stroke and error rates did not differ in the drill session (P > .05, d < 0.20), large effects were evident for increased time in play and stroke rate in match play after the recovery interventions (P > .05, d > 0.90). Although accelerometry values did not differ between conditions (P > .05, d < 0.20), CMJ tended to be improved before match play with recovery (P > .05, d = 0.90). Furthermore, CWI and CG resulted in faster postsession reductions in heart rate and lactate and reduced perceived soreness (P > .05, d > 1.00). In addition, sleep-hygiene recommendations increased sleep quantity (P > .05, d > 2.00) and maintained lower perceived soreness and fatigue (P < .05, d > 2.00).

Conclusions:

Mixed-method recovery interventions (CWI and CG) used after tennis sessions increased ensuing time in play and lower-body power and reduced perceived soreness. Furthermore, sleep-hygiene recommendations helped reduce perceived soreness.