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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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Alister McCormick, Carla Meijen, and Samuele Marcora

This study examined the effects of strategic, motivational self-talk for runners completing a 60-mile, overnight ultramarathon using a randomized, controlled experiment. Data were collected before, during, and after an annual ultramarathon. Twenty-nine ultramarathon runners were randomly allocated to a motivational self-talk group or an alternative control group. A condition-by-time mixed ANOVA indicated that learning to use motivational self-talk did not affect preevent self-efficacy or perceived control. A t-test and magnitude-based inference indicated that motivational self-talk did not affect performance. Nevertheless, follow-up data suggested that most participants found the intervention helpful and continued to use it six months after their research commitment, particularly in endurance events and to a lesser extent in training. Participants continued to use self-talk to cope with exertion, as well as other stressors such as blister discomfort and adverse conditions. Suggestions are offered for future research examining the effects of psychological interventions on performance in endurance events.

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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.