To avoid being hit, fencers typically adopt an out-of-range position, which was hypothesized to be governed by body- and action-scaled affordances. This theory was measured in elite and national-level junior (under 20 y of age) fencers. Associations between “reachability” of lunging and step-lunging attacks were assessed against height, arm span, leg span, body mass, and lower-body power and then compared across level. Reachability was determined as the distance covered by fencers during these attacks and was reported as actual and estimated distances. Elite fencers are better at estimating their lunging and step-lunge distance compared to nationally ranked junior fencers (−0.9% vs 7.3% and 5.4% vs 10.9%, respectively). Surprisingly, elite fencers’ actual and estimated distances for these was less than the junior fencers’ (222.6 vs 251.5 cm and 299.3 vs 360.2 cm, respectively), and significantly so in the former. Finally, only arm span (r = .81) and leg span (r = .71) were significantly correlated to estimated lunging distance, and this was only in elite fencers. Findings suggest that better fencers can accurately predict their attack range and that reachability appears to be positively influenced by arm and leg span; these may feed in to talent identification. Given that distances were less in elite fencers, findings suggest that timing and distance estimation are key skills to master and that the mastery of these in offensive actions can mitigate, to a large extent, the physical benefits of an opponent’s greater height.
Anthony N. Turner, Geoff Marshall, Angelo Noto, Shyam Chavda, Nathan Atlay and David Kirby
Rebecca Fernandes, Chris Bishop, Anthony N. Turner, Shyam Chavda and Sean J. Maloney
Purpose: Currently, it is unclear which physical characteristics may underpin the change of direction deficit (COD-D). This investigation sought to determine if momentum, speed-, and jump-based measures may explain variance in COD-D. Methods: Seventeen males from a professional soccer academy (age, 16.76 [0.75] y; height, 1.80 [0.06] m; body mass, 72.38 [9.57] kg) performed 505 tests on both legs, a 40-m sprint, and single-leg countermovement and drop jumps. Results: The regression analyses did not reveal any significant predictors for COD-D on either leg. “Large” relationships were reported between the COD-D and 505 time on both limbs (r = .65 to .69; P < .01), but COD-D was not associated with linear momentum, speed-, or jump-based performances. When the cohort was median split by COD-D, the effect sizes suggested that the subgroup with the smaller COD-D was 5% faster in the 505 test (d = −1.24; P < .001) but 4% slower over 0–10 m (d = 0.79; P = .33) and carried 11% less momentum (d = −0.81; P = .17). Conclusion: Individual variance in COD-D may not be explained by speed- and jump-based performance measures within academy soccer players. However, when grouping athletes by COD-D, faster athletes with greater momentum are likely to display a larger COD-D. It may, therefore, be prudent to recommend more eccentric-biased or technically focused COD training in such athletes and for coaches to view the COD action as a specific skill that may not be represented by performance time in a COD test.