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Franco M. Impellizzeri and Samuele M. Marcora

We propose that physiological and performance tests used in sport science research and professional practice should be developed following a rigorous validation process, as is done in other scientific fields, such as clinimetrics, an area of research that focuses on the quality of clinical measurement and uses methods derived from psychometrics. In this commentary, we briefly review some of the attributes that must be explored when validating a test: the conceptual model, validity, reliability, and responsiveness. Examples from the sport science literature are provided.

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Franco M. Impellizzeri, Samuele M. Marcora, and Aaron J. Coutts

Exercise is a stressor that induces various psychophysiological responses, which mediate cellular adaptations in many organ systems. To maximize this adaptive response, coaches and scientists need to control the stress applied to the athlete at the individual level. To achieve this, precise control and manipulation of the training load are required. In 2003, the authors introduced a theoretical framework to define and conceptualize the measurable constructs of the training process. They described training load as having 2 measurable components: internal and external load. The aim of this commentary is to extend, clarify, and refine both the theoretical framework and the definitions of internal and external training load to avoid misinterpretation of this concept.

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Hawkar S. Ahmed, Samuele M. Marcora, David Dixon, and Glen Davison

Context: Referees’ physical and cognitive performance are important for successful officiating in team sports. There is a lack of research on cognitive performance of referees in general, and none in futsal. Purpose: To assess referees’ performance on the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) before and after competitive futsal matches during the Football Association (FA) National Futsal League 2015/16. Methods: Fourteen futsal referees (mean [SD] age 34.3 [10.0] y) from the FA National Futsal group were included. The referees were required to undertake a 10-min PVT 60 min before the match kickoff time (pretest) and immediately after matches (posttest). They also completed the Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS) questionnaire before the prematch PVT and after the postmatch PVT. Result: Data were analyzed by paired t tests comparing prematch and postmatch results. There was a significant difference in BRUMS parameters vigor (9.5 [2.5] prematch vs 6.3 [2.4] postmatch, P = .001) and fatigue (1.4 [1.3] prematch vs 5.6 [3.1] postmatch, P < .001). However, PVT performance was significantly improved (mean reaction time 248.3 [26.2] ms prematch vs 239.7 [22.4] ms postmatch, P = .023). Conclusions: The present results show, contrary to the authors’ initial hypothesis, that psychomotor performance is improved as opposed to decreased after a single match. The postmatch improvement suggests that exercise can acutely enhance cognitive performance, which could be used to inform warm-up practices (eg, optimal duration and intensity) geared toward optimizing referees’ cognitive performance during matches.

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Carla Meijen, Alister McCormick, Paul A. Anstiss, and Samuele M. Marcora

There is potential in delivering brief, educational interventions online, particularly for recreational athletes. This initial investigation examined how two online interventions were perceived by endurance participants and how they affected outcomes of interest. After measuring self-efficacy, 142 people were randomized to one of three groups (self-talk, implementation intentions, and control) before an endurance event. Ninety-four completed postevent measures, which were self-efficacy, goal attainment, performance satisfaction, coping, stress appraisals, and social validity. The interventions involved approximately 10 min of initial engagement with online material. Perceptions of stress controllability were significantly higher in the implementation intention group compared with the control. There were no other statistically significant effects. Nevertheless, both intervention groups were satisfied with their interventions, found them useful, and were planning to continue using them. The findings demonstrate the feasibility and value of using brief, online psychological interventions, which may be timely in our changing profession, as COVID-19 has moved many interventions online.