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Jarred Pilgrim, Peter Kremer and Sam Robertson

Little is known regarding the factors that are important for tournament preparation in golf. Eighteen elite amateur golfers and 12 expert coaches/practitioners were interviewed to identify the self-regulatory and task-specific strategies important for tournament preparation. Thematic analysis revealed four themes: understanding tournament preparation, planning, tournament preparation strategies, and self-reflection. Players used specific strategies to optimize their physiological and psychological state, develop course strategy, and structure and implement preparatory routines. The findings of this study have implications for coaches and players in developing a system for preparation, and could provide a framework to improve coaching curricula and guide further research.

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Jade A.Z. Haycraft, Stephanie Kovalchik, David B. Pyne and Sam Robertson

Purpose: To establish levels of association between physical fitness and match activity profiles of players in the Australian Football League (AFL) participation pathway. Methods: Players (N = 287, range 10.9–19.1 y) were assessed on 20-m sprint, AFL agility, vertical jump and running vertical jump, 20-m multistage fitness test (MSFT), and Athletic Abilities Assessment. Match activity profiles were obtained from global positioning system measures: relative speed, maximal velocity, and relative high-speed running. Results: Correlational analyses revealed moderate relationships between sprint (r = .32–.57, P ≤ .05) and jump test scores (r = .34–.78, P ≤ .05) and match activity profiles in Local U12, Local U14, National U16, and National U18s, except jump tests in National U18s. AFL agility was also moderate to strongly associated in Local U12, Local U14, Local U18, and National U16s (r = .37–.87, P ≤ .05) and strongly associated with relative speed in Local U18s (r = .84, P ≤ .05). Match relative speed and high-speed running were moderate to strongly associated with 20-m MSFT in Local U14, Local U18, and National U18s (r = .41–.95, P ≤ .05) and Athletic Abilities Assessment in Local U12 and Local U18s (r = .35–.67, P ≤ .05). Match activity profile demands increased between Local U12 and National U16s, then plateaued. Conclusions: Physical fitness relates more strongly to match activity profiles in younger adolescent and national-level players. Recruiters should consider adolescent physical fitness and match activity profiles as dynamic across the AFL participation pathway.

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Nathan W. Pitchford, Sam J. Robertson, Charli Sargent, Justin Cordy, David J. Bishop and Jonathan D. Bartlett

Purpose:

To assess the effects of a change in training environment on the sleep characteristics of elite Australian Rules football (AF) players.

Methods:

In an observational crossover trial, 19 elite AF players had time in bed (TIB), total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE), and wake after sleep onset (WASO) assessed using wristwatch activity devices and subjective sleep diaries across 8-d home and camp periods. Repeated-measures ANOVA determined mean differences in sleep, training load (session rating of perceived exertion [RPE]), and environment. Pearson product–moment correlations, controlling for repeated observations on individuals, were used to assess the relationship between changes in sleep characteristics at home and camp. Cohen effect sizes (d) were calculated using individual means.

Results:

On camp TIB (+34 min) and WASO (+26 min) increased compared with home. However, TST was similar between home and camp, significantly reducing camp SE (–5.82%). Individually, there were strong negative correlations for TIB and WASO (r = -.75 and r = -.72, respectively) and a moderate negative correlation for SE (r = -.46) between home and relative changes on camp. Camp increased the relationship between individual s-RPE variation and TST variation compared with home (increased load r = -.367 vs .051, reduced load r = .319 vs –.033, camp vs home respectively).

Conclusions:

Camp compromised sleep quality due to significantly increased TIB without increased TST. Individually, AF players with higher home SE experienced greater reductions in SE on camp. Together, this emphasizes the importance of individualized interventions for elite team-sport athletes when traveling and/or changing environments.