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  • Author: Tania Spiteri x
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Tania Spiteri, Nicolas H. Hart and Sophia Nimphius

The aim of this study was to compare biomechanical and perceptual-cognitive variables between sexes during an offensive and defensive agility protocol. Twelve male and female (n = 24) recreational team sport athletes participated in this study, each performing 12 offensive and defensive agility trials (6 left, 6 right) changing direction in response to movements of a human stimulus. Three-dimensional motion, ground reaction force (GRF), and impulse data were recorded across plant phase for dominant leg change of direction (COD) movements, while timing gates and high-speed video captured decision time, total running time, and post COD stride velocity. Subjects also performed a unilateral isometric squat to determine lower body strength and limb dominance. Group (sex) by condition (2 × 2) MANOVAs with follow-up ANOVAs were conducted to examine differences between groups (P ≤ .05). Male athletes demonstrated significantly greater lower body strength, vertical braking force and impulse application, knee and spine flexion, and hip abduction, as well as faster decision time and post COD stride velocity during both agility conditions compared with females. Differences between offensive and defensive movements appear to be attributed to differences in decision time between sexes. This study demonstrates that biomechanical and perceptual-cognitive differences exist between sexes and within offensive and defensive agility movements.

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Filippo Dolci, Andrew E. Kilding, Tania Spiteri, Paola Chivers, Ben Piggott, Andrew Maiorana and Nicolas H. Hart

Purpose: To evaluate the reliability of new change-of-direction-economy tests (assessing energetic efficiency when performing continuous shuttle runs) compared with common running-economy tests in soccer players Methods: Sixteen subelite, male soccer players were recruited to perform a testing battery involving running economy (RE), 10-m shuttle-running economy (SRE10), and 20-m shuttle-running economy (SRE20) at 8.4 km·h−1 mean speed on 2 different days within 48 hours. SRE10 and SRE20 consisted of continuous shuttle runs interspersed with 180° directional changes. During the RE, SRE20, and SRE10 tests, respiratory exchange ratio and oxygen uptake were collected and used to calculate the movement-economy values over any running condition as oxygen cost and energetic cost. The secondary variables (carbon dioxide production, heart rate, minute ventilation, and blood lactate) were also monitored during all tests. Results: Depending on expression (oxygen cost or energetic cost), reliability was established for RE (CV: 5.5%–5.8%; ICC = .77–.88), SRE10 (CV: 3.5%–3.8%; ICC = .78–.96), and SRE20 (CV: 3.5%–3.8%; ICC = .66–.94). All secondary physiological variables reported good reliability (CV < 10%), except for blood lactate (CV < 35.8). The RE, SRE10, and SRE20 tests show good reliability in soccer players, whereas blood lactate has the highest variability among physiological variables during the economy tests. Conclusion: The assessment of change-of-direction economy through performing 20- and 10-m shuttle runs is reliable and can be applied to evaluate soccer players’ energetic movement efficiency under more soccer-specific running conditions.

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Jeremy M. Sheppard, Sophia Nimphius, Greg G. Haff, Tai T. Tran, Tania Spiteri, Hedda Brooks, Gary Slater and Robert U. Newton


Appropriate and valid testing protocols for evaluating the physical performances of surfing athletes are not well refined. The purpose of this project was to develop, refine, and evaluate a testing protocol for use with elite surfers, including measures of anthropometry, strength and power, and endurance.


After pilot testing and consultation with athletes, coaches, and sport scientists, a specific suite of tests was developed. Forty-four competitive junior surfers (16.2 ± 1.3 y, 166.3 ± 7.3 cm, 57.9 ± 8.5 kg) participated in this study involving a within-day repeated-measures analysis, using an elite junior group of 22 international competitors (EJG), to establish reliability of the measures. To reflect validity of the testing measures, a comparison of performance results was then undertaken between the EJG and an age-matched competitive junior group of 22 nationally competitive surfers (CJG).


Percent typical error of measurement (%TEM) for primary variables gained from the assessments ranged from 1.1% to 3.0%, with intraclass correlation coefficients ranging from .96 to .99. One-way analysis of variance revealed that the EJG had lower skinfolds (P = .005, d = 0.9) than the CJG, despite no difference in stature (P = .102) or body mass (P = .827). The EJG were faster in 15-m sprint-paddle velocity (P < .001, d = 1.3) and had higher lower-body isometric peak force (P = .04, d = 0.7) and superior endurance-paddling velocity (P = .008, d = 0.9).


The relatively low %TEM of these tests in this population allows for high sensitivity to detect change. The results of this study suggest that competitively superior junior surfers are leaner and possess superior strength, paddling power, and paddling endurance.

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Maria C. Madueno, Vincent J. Dalbo, Joshua H. Guy, Kate E. Giamarelos, Tania Spiteri and Aaron T. Scanlan

Purpose: To investigate the physiological and performance effects of active and passive recovery between repeated-change-of-direction sprints. Methods: Eight semiprofessional basketball players (age: 19.9 [1.5] y; stature: 183.0 [9.6] cm; body mass: 77.7 [16.9] kg; body fat: 11.8% [6.3%]; and peak oxygen consumption: 46.1 [7.6] mL·kg−1·min−1) completed 12 × 20-m repeated-change-of-direction sprints (Agility 5-0-5 tests) interspersed with 20 seconds of active (50% maximal aerobic speed) or passive recovery in a randomized crossover design. Physiological and perceptual measures included heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood lactate concentration, and rating of perceived exertion. Change-of-direction speed was measured during each sprint using the change-of-direction deficit (CODD), with summed CODD time and CODD decrement calculated as performance measures. Results: Average heart rate (7.3 [6.4] beats·min−1; P = .010; effect size (ES) = 1.09; very likely) and oxygen consumption (4.4 [5.0] mL·kg−1·min−1; P = .12; ES = 0.77; unclear) were moderately greater with active recovery compared with passive recovery across sprints. Summed CODD time (0.87 [1.01] s; P = .07; ES = 0.76, moderate; likely) and CODD decrement (8.1% [3.7%]; P < .01; ES = 1.94, large; almost certainly) were higher with active compared with passive recovery. Trivial–small differences were evident for rating of perceived exertion (P = .516; ES = 0.19; unclear) and posttest blood lactate concentration (P = .29; ES = 0.40; unclear) between recovery modes. Conclusions: Passive recovery between repeated-change-of-direction sprints may reduce the physiological stress and fatigue encountered compared with active recovery in basketball players.

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Andrew R. Novak, Kyle J.M. Bennett, Adam Beavan, Johan Pion, Tania Spiteri, Job Fransen and Matthieu Lenoir

This study aimed to determine if the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder (KTK) remained a valid assessment of motor competence following the removal of the hopping for height subtest (KTK3). Children (n = 2479) aged 6–11 years completed all KTK subtests (KTK4) and motor quotient sum scores (MQS) were determined for the KTK3 and KTK4. Classifications were established as MQS below percentile 5 (P5), MQS between percentile 5–15 (P15), MQS between percentile 15–50 (P15–50), MQS between percentile 50–85 (P50–85), MQS between percentile 85–95 (P85), and MQS higher than percentile 95 (P95). Pearson’s correlation (r = .97) and cross-tabs (Chi2 = 6822.53, p < .001; Kappa = 0.72) identified substantial agreement overall between the KTK3 and KTK4. However, when classified into separate age and gender categories, poor agreement (< 60%) was found in girls: P15 at 8–11 years and P85 at 6–7 years; and in boys: P5 and P15 at 6 years, P85 at 8 years, and P15 at 10 years. Researchers should consider these findings when selecting which KTK protocol to use.