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Niall Casserly, Ross Neville, Massimiliano Ditroilo and Adam Grainger

Purpose: The well-being of elite rugby union players has been intensely scrutinised in recent years. Understanding the longitudinal development of physical traits in junior players, alongside the moderating effect of simultaneous increases in body mass, can aid in improving programming and ultimately help junior players prepare for the demands of senior rugby. The purpose of this study was to investigate the longitudinal physical development of elite adolescent backs and forwards in a professional rugby union academy. Methods: A total of 15 players (age, 17.0 [0.2] y; body mass, 90 [14] kg; height, 183 [9] cm; n = 7 backs, n = 8 forwards) completed anthropometric measures and 3 primary performance assessments (countermovement jump, Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1, and 10-m speed) at baseline, year 2, and year 3. Mixed modelling was used to assess player development over time and differences in this development by playing position. Magnitude-based inferencing was used to assess the uncertainty in the effects. Results: There was a substantial increase in countermovement jump height for both groups combined (0.9, ±0.4; standardized improvement, ±90% confidence limits; most likely substantial). Forwards exhibited a moderate-sized decrease in speed (−1.0, ±0.5; very likely substantial), and there was a large difference between groups with regards to speed change with backs outperforming forwards (1.5, ±0.9; very likely substantial). For forward, body mass change had a large negative association with 10-m speed (−1.9, ±0.7; most likely substantial) and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 change (−1.2, ±0.9; very likely substantial). Conclusion: These findings provide novel normative data for longitudinal changes in junior rugby union players and suggest that coaches should account for changes in body mass when targeting increases in speed and aerobic fitness.

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Ross D. Neville, Fergal Lyons, Brendan Doyle and Kimberley D. Lakes

This study compared fundamental movement skills (FMS) in children from schools on the lower and upper levels of socioeconomic status. Data were collected from 228 schoolchildren across five schools in Ireland. There were 147 children from schools of social disadvantage (Mage = 7.67 [SD = 0.62] years; 55% boys) and 81 children from schools considered in the normal range for socioeconomic development (Mage = 7.34 [SD = 0.26] years; 56% boys). FMS were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development–2. Mixed models were used to estimate differences in FMS, while controlling for the nested structure of the data and for sex, age, body mass index, and class size. There was a substantial sex×school interaction, with girls from schools of social disadvantage exhibiting greater object-control skills proficiency than their counterparts in schools on the upper tertiles of socioeconomic development (standardized effect size = 0.66 [±95% confidence limits, ±0.50]; p = .02). The suggestion that children from social disadvantage are delayed in FMS is unsupported in this cohort. Differences in the structure of physical education and types of sports undertaken by children in schools of social disadvantage in Ireland are considered as explanations for this departure from previous studies.

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Ross D. Neville, Catherine Gorman, Sheila Flanagan and Frédéric Dimanche

By shifting our attention toward everyday life, its manifold commitments and responsibilities, this paper examines the potential for “fitness” to take on an extended meaning beyond consumption activity. In the opening sections, Robert Nozick’s (1974) “Experience Machine” thought experiment is presented as an alternative analytic frame for interpreting the problem of fitness in terms of a tension between mere activity and experience. In relation to this tension, the paper presents findings from a study of experienced participants and emphasizes the possibilities of a virtuous production through fitness. In particular, we emphasize that there is much work to be done in sedimenting (and maintaining) an appropriate frame of reference for “doing fitness” and that “being someone through fitness” might operate as an indexical marker of virtue.

En dirigeant notre attention vers la vie de tous les jours et ses multiples engagements et responsabilités, nous examinons dans cet article le potentiel du « fitness » d’avoir une signification étendue au-delà de l’activité de consommation. Dans les premières sections, l’expérience de pensée de la « machine à expérience » de Robert Nozick (1974) est présentée comme un cadre analytique alternatif pour l’interprétation du problème de la condition physique en termes de tension entre simple activité et expérience. En lien avec cette tension, cet article présente les résultats d’une étude de participants expérimentés et met l’accent sur les possibilités d’une production vertueuse par l’intermédiaire de la condition physique. En particulier, nous soulignons qu’il y a beaucoup de travail à faire dans la sédimentation (et le maintien) d’un cadre de référence approprié pour « faire de l’activité physique » et qu’« être quelqu’un par l’intermédiaire de la condition physique » peut agir comme indicateur de vertu.