The purpose of this study was to examine the physiological changes in elite wheelchair basketball players leading up to the 2000 Paralympics. Twelve male players attended regular physiological assessments on six occasions; averaged data of two sessions for each year were used. Physiological measures included body mass, skinfold measurements, peak oxygen uptake and peak power obtained during maximal sprinting. VO2peak significantly increased from 2.65 to 2.83 L·min-1 prior to the Paralympics. Training had little influence on the anthropometric measurements or maximal sprinting data. In conclusion, the GB wheelchair basketball players appeared to have high levels of aerobic and anaerobic fitness. The longitudinal physiological profiles leading to the 2000 Paralympics suggest that players improved their aerobic base while maintaining other fitness prerequisites.
Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey
Thomas Paulson and Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey
Despite the growing interest in Paralympic sport, the evidence base for supporting elite wheelchair sport performance remains in its infancy when compared with able-bodied (AB) sport. Subsequently, current practice is often based on theory adapted from AB guidelines, with a heavy reliance on anecdotal evidence and practitioner experience. Many principles in training prescription and performance monitoring with wheelchair athletes are directly transferable from AB practice, including the periodization and tapering of athlete loads around competition, yet considerations for the physiological consequences of an athlete’s impairment and the interface between athlete and equipment are vital when targeting interventions to optimize in-competition performance. Researchers and practitioners are faced with the challenge of identifying and implementing reliable protocols that detect small but meaningful changes in impairment-specific physical capacities and on-court performance. Technologies to profile both linear and rotational on-court performance are an essential component of sport-science support to understand sport-specific movement profiles and prescribe training intensities. In addition, an individualized approach to the prescription of athlete training and optimization of the “wheelchair–user interface” is required, accounting for an athlete’s anthropometrics, sports classification, and positional role on court. In addition to enhancing physical capacities, interventions must focus on the integration of the athlete and his or her equipment, as well as techniques for limiting environmental influence on performance. Taken together, the optimization of wheelchair sport performance requires a multidisciplinary approach based on the individual requirements of each athlete.
Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey, Daniel Butterworth and Calvin Morriss
Three-dimensional kinematic data were obtained from 15 male wheelchair basketball players performing a successful free throw. Players were divided into two groups, according to their International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) classification (Group 1: 2-2.5 point players and Group 2: 4-4.5 point players). The angle of release of the ball was 58 for both groups. Group 2 released the ball from a significantly greater height than Group 1 (1.57 – 0.12m v 1.78 – 0.17m; p < .05). Although nonsignificant, the following trends were found: Group 1 showed greater ball release speeds and generated greater angular velocity of the wrist at release while Group 2 generated greater shoulder flexion angular velocity at release. In conclusion, players from different IWBF classes tend to rely on different kinematic strategies to produce successful release conditions.
Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey and Andrew D. Moss
To compare the velocity characteristics of wheelchair propulsion with and without the use of a tennis racquet, eight male wheelchair tennis players performed a series of 20m sprints from a stationary start. The maximum velocities reached on average 4.39 ± 0.74 m/s; however, they were reduced by 0.18 ± 0.06 m/s during the racquet condition. Furthermore, when wheeling under the racquet condition, the velocities achieved during the first three pushes were significantly reduced. The reduction in maximum velocity and relative velocity contributions while holding a tennis racquet may have been due to an ineffective push technique resulting in low effectiveness of force application. The relation of these parameters and trunk stability is discussed.
Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey and Jeanette Crosland
This study described the dietary intake profiles of 14 female (F) and 9 male (M) trained British wheelchair games players. The M group showed significantly higher daily energy (2060 ± 904 vs. 1520 ± 342 kcal·day-1), carbohydrate and protein intakes than the F group (p < .05). The energy derived from carbohydrate, protein, and fat for both F and M groups were similar (53.6%, 16.9% and 29.3% and 53.3%, 19.0% and 26.8%, respectively), yet the carbohydrate intakes were slightly lower than those recommended for athletes. Only two participants from the F group showed adequate intakes of iron, and 19 participants from both F and M groups did not meet the dietary fiber recommendation but this may be related to individualized bowel management strategies. Overall, the dietary practices encompassed aspects of the dietary guidelines recommended for sport, but balancing the energy needs of wheelchair games play with the promotion of long-term health still needs careful consideration.
Aitor Iturricastillo, Javier Yanci, Cristina Granados and Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey
To describe the objective and subjective match load (ML) of wheelchair basketball (WB) and determine the relationship between session heart-rate (HR) -based ML and rating-of-perceived-exertion (RPE) -based ML methods.
HR-based measurements of ML included Edwards ML and Stagno training impulses (TRIMPMOD), while RPE-based ML measurements included respiratory (sRPEres) and muscular (sRPEmus). Data were collected from 10 WB players during a whole competitive season.
Edwards ML and TRIMPMOD averaged across 16 matches were 255.3 ± 66.3 and 167.9 ± 67.1 AU, respectively. In contrast, sRPEres ML and sRPEmus ML were found to be higher (521.9 ± 188.7 and 536.9 ± 185.8 AU, respectively). Moderate correlations (r = .629–.648, P < .001) between Edwards ML and RPE-based ML methods were found. Moreover, similar significant correlations were also shown between the TRIMPMOD and RPE-based ML methods (r = .627–.668, P < .001). That said, only ≥40% of variance in HR-based ML was explained by RPE-based ML, which could be explained by the heterogeneity of physical-impairment type.
RPE-based ML methods could be used as an indicator of global internal ML in highly trained WB players.
Andrea Bundon, Barry S. Mason and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey
This paper demonstrates how a qualitative methodology can be used to gain novel insights into the demands of wheelchair racing and the impact of particular racing chair configurations on optimal sport performance via engagement with expert users (wheelchair racers, coaches, and manufacturers). We specifically explore how expert users understand how wheels, tires, and bearings impact sport performance and how they engage, implement, or reject evidence-based research pertaining to these components. We identify areas where participants perceive there to be an immediate need for more research especially pertaining to the ability to make individualized recommendations for athletes. The findings from this project speak to the value of a qualitative research design for capturing the embodied knowledge of expert users and also make suggestions for “next step” projects pertaining to wheels, tires, and bearings drawn directly from the comments of participants.
Barry S. Mason, James M. Rhodes and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey
The purpose of the current study was to determine the validity and reliability of an inertial sensor for assessing speed specific to athletes competing in the wheelchair court sports (basketball, rugby, and tennis). A wireless inertial sensor was attached to the axle of a sports wheelchair. Over two separate sessions, the sensor was tested across a range of treadmill speeds reflective of the court sports (1.0 to 6.0 m/s). At each test speed, ten 10-second trials were recorded and were compared with the treadmill (criterion). A further session explored the dynamic validity and reliability of the sensor during a sprinting task on a wheelchair ergometer compared with high-speed video (criterion). During session one, the sensor marginally overestimated speed, whereas during session two these speeds were underestimated slightly. However, systematic bias and absolute random errors never exceeded 0.058 m/s and 0.086 m/s, respectively, across both sessions. The sensor was also shown to be a reliable device with coefficients of variation (% CV) never exceeding 0.9 at any speed. During maximal sprinting, the sensor also provided a valid representation of the peak speeds reached (1.6% CV). Slight random errors in timing led to larger random errors in the detection of deceleration values. The results of this investigation have demonstrated that an inertial sensor developed for sports wheelchair applications provided a valid and reliable assessment of the speeds typically experienced by wheelchair athletes. As such, this device will be a valuable monitoring tool for assessing aspects of linear wheelchair performance.
Terri Graham-Paulson, Claudio Perret and Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey
Caffeine’s (CAF) ability to influence upper-body exercise endurance performance may be related to an individual’s training status. This case study therefore aimed to investigate the ergogenic effects of CAF dose on 20-km time trial (TT) performance of an elite male paratriathlete (wheelchair user; age = 46 years, body mass = 76.9 kg, body fat = 25.4%, and handcycling
Louise Croft, Suzanne Dybrus, John Lenton and Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey
To examine the physiological profiles of wheelchair basketball and tennis and specifically to: (a) identify if there are differences in the physiological profiles of wheelchair basketball and tennis players of a similar playing standard, (b) to determine whether the competitive physiological demands of these sports differed (c) and to explore the relationship between the blood lactate [Bla−] response to exercise and to identify the sport specific heart rate (HR) training zones.
Six elite athletes (4 male, 2 female) from each sport performed a submaximal and VO2 peak test in their sport specific wheelchair. Heart rate, VO2, and [Bla−] were measured. Heart rate was monitored during international competitions and VO2 was calculated from this using linear regression equations. Individual HR training zones were identified from the [Bla–] profile and time spent within these zones was calculated for each match.
Despite no differences in the laboratory assessment of HRpeak, the VO2peak was higher for the basketball players when compared with the tennis players (2.98 ± 0.91 vs 2.06 ± 0.71; P = .08). Average match HR (163 ± 11 vs 146 ± 16 beats-min–1; P = .06) and average VO2 (2.26 ± 0.06 vs 1.36 ± 0.42 L-min-1; P = .02) were higher during actual playing time of basketball when compared with whole tennis play. Consequently, differences in the time spent in the different training zones within and between the two sports existed (P < .05).
Wheelchair basketball requires predominately high-intensity training, whereas tennis training requires training across the exercise intensity spectrum.