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Jean Côté, John H. Salmela and Storm Russell

The purpose of this study is to report the knowledge used in training and competition by 17 expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. A qualitative research methodology was used to collect and inductively analyze the data. The knowledge elicited for the competition component was categorized as competition site, competition floor, and trial competitions. These categories indicated that the coaches are minimally involved with the gymnasts in competition. The knowledge of the coaches elicited within the training component were categorized as coach involvement in training, intervention style, technical skills, mental skills, and simulation. Properties of these categories that were extensively discussed by the expert coaches, such as teaching progressions, being supportive, and helping athletes to deal with stress, are consistent with the literature on coaching and on sport psychology. Other aspects considered important in the sport psychology literature, such as developing concentration skills, were not discussed as thoroughly by the expert coaches.

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Stefan Pettersson and Christina M. Berg

Weight category athletes are known for practicing rapid weight loss before competition weigh-in. After weigh-in, athletes strive to restore euhydration and body mass through food and fluid intake. The aim of the current study was to assess prevalence of hypohydration at competition time among elite athletes’ in four different combat sports, and how water intake and timing of official weigh-in were related to hydration status. Participants were 31 taekwondo practitioners and wrestlers who performed evening weigh-in (EWI) the night before competition day and had thus time for rehydration, and 32 boxers and judokas conducting competition day morning weigh-in (MWI). In total, 32% were female. Urine specific gravity (USG) was measured by refractometry on the competition day’s first morning urine sample. Hypohydration was defined as USG ≥1.020 and serious hypohydration as USG > 1.030. Water intake was measured by means of dietary records. The prevalence of hypohydration was 89% in the morning of competition day. Serious hypohydration was also prevalent. This was found in over 50% of MWI athletes and in 42% of the EWI group. A higher water intake, from both fluids and solid foods, in the evening before competition day was not associated with a more favorable hydration status the following morning. In conclusion, neither weigh-in close to competition nor evening weigh-in with more time for rehydration seems to prevent hypohydration before competition.

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Joanne Butt, Robert Weinberg and Thelma Horn

The purposes of the present investigation were twofold: (a) to investigate the fluctuations of anxiety and self-confidence throughout competition by measuring these variables retrospectively before, during, and after competition and (b) to investigate the relationship between the intensity and directional interpretation of anxiety and perceived performance across competition. Field hockey players (N = 62) completed the modified Mental Readiness Form-Likert (MRF-2) within 30 minutes after competition using the method of retrospective recall. Results indicated significant fluctuations across competition for cognitive anxiety intensity and direction, somatic anxiety intensity, and self-confidence intensity. Results also revealed that the strongest predictors of performance across both halves were self-confidence intensity and direction and cognitive anxiety direction. These findings should have important implications for practitioners and sport psychologists because anxiety measurement and confidence are critical parts of most psychological skills training programs.

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Janet Walberg-Rankin, Cynthia Eckstein Edmonds and Frank C. Gwazdauskas

This study assessed nutritional and body weight patterns in 6 female body- builders approximately a month before and after a competition. The women kept dietary and body weight records and two of them also agreed to collect morning urine samples to provide information about their menstrual cycle. All women lost weight before and gained weight after competition. Energy intake was modestly restricted and the subjects consumed a moderate-protein, low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet just prior to competition. Energy intake doubled, and total grams of fat increased approximately tenfold just after competition. Urinary data indicated that the cycle following competition was prolonged, with reduced reproductive hormone concentrations. In summary, the women practiced extreme dietary control while preparing for a competi- tion but followed the event with a higher energy and fat intake. These changes in diet and body weight may contribute to the disturbances previously observed in the menstrual cycle of these athletes.

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Simo Ihalainen, Vesa Linnamo, Kaisu Mononen and Sami Kuitunen

Purpose:

To describe the long-term changes in shooting technique in relation to competition performances in elite air-rifle shooters.

Methods:

Seventeen elite shooters completed simulated air-rifle shooting-competition series in 3 consecutive seasons, participating on 15 ± 7 testing occasions. Shooting score and aiming-point-trajectory variables were obtained with an optoelectronic shooting device, and postural-balance variables were measured with force platform. Shooters’ competition results were collected from all international and national competitions during the 3-y period.

Results:

Mean test score, stability of hold, aiming accuracy, cleanness of triggering, and postural balance improved during the 3-y period (ANOVA, time, P < .05−.01). Seasonal mean test results in stability of hold (R = −.70, P = .000) and cleanness of triggering (R = −.75, P = .000) were related to competition performances. Changes in stability of hold (R = −.61, P = .000) and cleanness of triggering (R = −.39, P = .022) were also related to the changes in competition performances. Postural balance in shooting direction was more related to cleanness of triggering (R = .57, P = .000), whereas balance in cross-shooting direction was more related to stability of hold (R = .70, P = .000).

Conclusion:

The shooting-technique testing used in the current study seems to be a valid and useful tool for long-term performance assessment. Stability of hold, cleanness of triggering, and postural balance can be further developed even at the elite level, resulting in improved competition performances.

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Lindy M. Rossow, David H. Fukuda, Christopher A. Fahs, Jeremy P. Loenneke and Jeffrey R. Stout

Bodybuilding is a sport in which competitors are judged on muscular appearance. This case study tracked a drug-free male bodybuilder (age 26–27 y) for the 6 mo before and after a competition.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to provide the most comprehensive physiological profile of bodybuilding competition preparation and recovery ever compiled.

Methods:

Cardiovascular parameters, body composition, strength, aerobic capacity, critical power, mood state, resting energy expenditure, and hormonal and other blood parameters were evaluated.

Results:

Heart rate decreased from 53 to 27 beats/min during preparation and increased to 46 beats/min within 1 mo after competition. Brachial blood pressure dropped from 132/69 to 104/56 mmHg during preparation and returned to 116/64 mmHg at 6 mo after competition. Percent body fat declined from 14.8% to 4.5% during preparation and returned to 14.6% during recovery. Strength decreased during preparation and did not fully recover during 6 months of recovery. Testosterone declined from 9.22 to 2.27 ng/mL during preparation and returned back to the baseline level, 9.91 ng/mL, after competition. Total mood disturbance increased from 6 to 43 units during preparation and recovered to 4 units 6 mo after competition.

Conclusions:

This case study provides a thorough documentation of the physiological changes that occurred during natural bodybuilding competition and recovery.

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Charles B. Corbin and Charles Nix

Elementary school children, 20 boys and 20 girls, served as subjects in this investigation designed to determine how children sex-typed each of three different motor activities and to study their success predictions before and after cross-sex competition. Results of the study indicated that both boys and girls sex-typed a motor task requiring strength, speed, and power as a “male” activity, while the two other motor tasks were characterized as “male-female.” The self-confidence levels of girls, as measured by success predictions were lower than boys prior to competition but only for the “male” activity. After cross-sex competition in which girls succeeded as often as the boys, self-confidence of girls was no different than for boys. There were no sex differences in postcompetition state anxiety levels. All subjects regardless of sex were more threatened after competing in a “male” as opposed to a “male-female” activity, and they experienced lower state anxiety following successful rather than unsuccessful competition.

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James E. Johnson, Lawrence W. Judge and Elizabeth Wanless

Incorporating a national competition with the traditional case teaching method offers a unique and intense learning experience beyond what can be achieved in a typical classroom format. This paper discusses a graduate Sport Administration experience from preparation to presentation for students and faculty in the case study competition annually sponsored by the College Sport Research Institute (CSRI). Included is a thorough review of the case method highlighting what to expect from adopting this alternative teaching technique. The role of the faculty advisor is explained from both a theoretical and functional perspective with particular attention given to advising in a competition format. Student learning experiences were assessed using open-ended survey questions designed to encourage student reflection. Although students reported an immense time commitment, they were overwhelmingly satisfied with their competition experience that included in-depth learning, essential skill building, and real-world application.

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Dean J. McNamara, Tim J. Gabbett, Geraldine Naughton, Patrick Farhart and Paul Chapman

Purpose:

This study investigated key fatigue and workload variables of cricket fast bowlers and nonfast bowlers during a 7-wk physical-preparation period and 10-d intensified competition period.

Methods:

Twenty-six elite junior cricketers (mean ± SD age 17.7 ± 1.1 y) were classified as fast bowlers (n = 9) or nonfast bowlers (n = 17). Individual workloads were measured via global positioning system technology, and neuromuscular function (countermovement jump [relative power and flight time]), endocrine (salivary testosterone and cortisol concentrations), and perceptual well-being (soreness, mood, stress, sleep quality, and fatigue) markers were recorded.

Results:

Fast bowlers performed greater competition total distance (median [interquartile range] 7049 [3962] m vs 5062 [3694] m), including greater distances at low and high speeds, and more accelerations (40 [32] vs 19 [21]) and had a higher player load (912 [481] arbitrary units vs 697 [424] arbitrary units) than nonfast bowlers. Cortisol concentrations were higher in the physical-preparation (mean ± 90% confidence intervals, % likelihood; d = –0.88 ± 0.39, 100%) and competition phases (d = –0.39 ± 0.30, 85%), and testosterone concentrations, lower (d = 0.56 ± 0.29, 98%), in the competition phase in fast bowlers. Perceptual well-being was poorer in nonfast bowlers during competition only (d = 0.36 ± 0.22, 88%). Differences in neuromuscular function between groups were unclear during physical preparation and competition.

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate differences in the physical demands of cricket fast bowlers and nonfast bowlers and suggest that these external workloads differentially affect the neuromuscular, endocrine, and perceptual fatigue responses of these players.

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William M. Adams, Yuri Hosokawa and Douglas J. Casa

Context:

Although body cooling has both performance and safety benefits, knowledge on optimizing cooling during specific sport competition is limited.

Objectives:

To identify when, during sport competition, it is optimal for body cooling and to identify optimal body-cooling modalities to enhance safety and maximize sport performance.

Evidence Acquisition:

A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify articles with specific context regarding body cooling, sport performance, and cooling modalities used during sport competition. A search of scientific peer-reviewed literature examining the effects of body cooling on exercise performance was done to examine the influence of body cooling on exercise performance. Subsequently, a literature search was done to identify effective cooling modalities that have been shown to improve exercise performance.

Evidence Synthesis:

The cooling modalities that are most effective in cooling the body during sport competition depend on the sport, timing of cooling, and feasibility based on the constraints of the sports rules and regulations. Factoring in the length of breaks (halftime substitutions, etc), the equipment worn during competition, and the cooling modalities that offer the greatest potential to cool must be considered in each individual sport.

Conclusions:

Scientific evidence supports using body cooling as a method of improving performance during sport competition. Developing a strategy to use cooling modalities that are scientifically evidence-based to improve performance while maximizing athlete’s safety warrants further investigation.