Marco Cardinale, Rodney Whiteley, Ahmed Abdelrahman Hosny and Nebojsa Popovic
Handball is an Olympic sport played indoors by 6 court players and 1 goalkeeper with rolling substitutions. Limited data exist on elite players competing in a world championship, and virtually no information exists on the evolution of time–motion performance over the course of a long tournament.
To analyze time–motion characteristics of elite male handball players of the last world championships, played in Qatar in 2015.
384 handball players from 24 national teams.
The athletes were analyzed during 88 matches using a tracking camera system and bespoke software (Prozone Handball v. 1.2, Prozone, Leeds, UK).
The average time on court (N = 2505) during the world championships for all players was 36:48 ± 20:27 min. Goalkeepers and left and right wings were on court most of the playing time (GK 43.00 ± 25:59 min; LW 42:02 ± 21:07 min; RW 43:44 ± 21:37 min). The total distance covered during each game (2607.5 ± 1438.4 m) consisted mostly of walking and jogging. The cumulative distance covered during the tournament was 16,313 ± 9423.3 m. Players performed 857.2 ± 445.7 activity changes with a recovery time of 124.3 ± 143 s. The average running pace was 78.2 ± 10.8 m/min. There was no significant difference between high-ranked and lower-ranked teams in terms of distance covered in different locomotion categories.
Specific physical conditioning is necessary to maximize performance of handball players and minimize the occurrence of fatigue when performing in long tournaments.
Roald Otten, Johannes L. Tol, Per Holmich and Rodney Whiteley
Gluteus medius (GM) muscle dysfunction is associated with overuse injury. The GM is functionally composed of 3 separate subdivisions: anterior, middle, and posterior. Clinical assessment of the GM subdivisions is relevant to detect strength and activation deficits and guide specific rehabilitation programs. However, the optimal positions for assessing the strength and activation of these subdivisions are unknown.
The first aim was to establish which strength-testing positions produce the highest surface electromyography (sEMG) activation levels of the individual GM subdivisions. The second aim was to evaluate differences in sEMG activation levels between the tested and contralateral (stabilizing) leg.
Twenty healthy physically active male subjects participated in this study. Muscle activity using sEMG was recorded for the GM subdivisions in 8 different strength-testing positions and analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance.
Significant differences between testing positions for all 3 GM subdivisions were found. There were significant differences between the tested and the contralateral anterior and middle GM subdivisions (P < .01). The posterior GM subdivision showed no significant difference (P = .154).
Side-lying in neutral and side-lying with hip internal rotation are the 2 positions recommended to evaluate GM function and guide specific GM rehabilitation.
Sebastien Racinais, Nadia Gaoua, Khouloud Mtibaa, Rodney Whiteley, Christophe Hautier and Marine Alhammoud
To determine the effect of cold ambient conditions on proprioception and cognitive function in elite alpine skiers.
22 high-level alpine skiers and 14 control participants performed a proprioceptive-acuity (active movement-extent discrimination) and a cognitive (planning task) test in cold (8°C) and temperate (24°C) ambient conditions.
All participants displayed an increase in thermal discomfort and the amount of negative affects in the cold environment (all P < .05). Average proprioceptive acuity was significantly better in the elite skiers (0.46° ± 0.12°) than in the control group (0.55° ± 0.12°) (P < .05) and was not affected by cold ambient conditions, except for a shift in the pattern of error (over- vs underestimation, P < .05). Cognitive performance was similar between elite skiers and control participants in temperate environments but decreased in the cold in the control group only (P < .05) becoming lower than in elite skiers (P < .05).
Elite alpine skiers showed a significantly better proprioceptive acuity than a control population and were able to maintain their performance during a cognitive task in a cold environment.