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Stuart J. Cormack, Renee L. Smith, Mitchell M. Mooney, Warren B. Young and Brendan J. O’Brien

Purpose:

To determine differences in load/min (AU) between standards of netball match play.

Methods:

Load/min (AU) representing accumulated accelerations measured by triaxial accelerometers was recorded during matches of 2 higher- and 2 lower-standard teams (N = 32 players). Differences in load/min (AU) were compared within and between standards for playing position and periods of play. Differences were considered meaningful if there was >75% likelihood of exceeding a small (0.2) effect size.

Results:

Mean (± SD) full-match load/min (AU) for the higher and lower standards were 9.96 ± 2.50 and 6.88 ± 1.88, respectively (100% likely lower). The higher standard had greater (mean 97% likely) load/min (AU) values in each position. The difference between 1st and 2nd halves’ load/min (AU) was unclear at the higher standard, while lower-grade centers had a lower (−7.7% ± 10.8%, 81% likely) load/min (AU) in the 2nd half and in all quarters compared with the 1st. There was little intrastandard variation in individual vector contributions to load/min (AU); however, higher-standard players accumulated a greater proportion of the total in the vertical plane (mean 93% likely).

Conclusions:

Higher-standard players produced greater load/min (AU) than their lower-standard counterparts in all positions. Playing standard influenced the pattern of load/min (AU) accumulation across a match, and individual vector analysis suggests that different-standard players have dissimilar movement characteristics. Load/min (AU) appears to be a useful method for assessing activity profile in netball.

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Dean J. McNamara, Tim J. Gabbett, Peter Blanch and Luke Kelly

To date, the monitoring of fast-bowling workloads across training and competition environments has been limited to counting total balls bowled. However, bowling at faster velocities is likely to require greater effort while also placing greater load on the bowler. This study investigated the relationship between prescribed effort and microtechnology outputs in fast bowlers to ascertain whether the technology could provide a more refined measure of workload. Twelve high-performing fast bowlers (mean ± SD age 20.3 ± 2.2 y) participated in the study. Each bowler bowled 6 balls at prescribed bowling intensities of 60%, 70%, 85%, and 100%. The relationships between microtechnology outputs, prescribed intensity, and ball velocity were determined using polynomial regression. Very large relationships were observed between prescribed effort and ball velocity for peak PlayerLoad™ (R = .83 ± .19 and .82 ± .20). The PlayerLoad across lower ranges of prescribed effort exhibited a higher coefficient of variation (CV) (60% = 19.0% [17.0–23.0%]), while the CV at higher ranges of prescribed effort was lower (100% = 7.3% [6.4–8.5%]). Routinely used wearable microtechnology devices offer opportunities to examine workload and intensity in cricket fast bowlers outside the normal metrics reported. They offer a useful tool for prescribing and monitoring bowling intensity and workload in elite fast bowlers.

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Live S. Luteberget and Matt Spencer

Purpose:

International women’s team handball is a physically demanding sport and is intermittent in nature. The aim of the study was to profile high-intensity events (HIEs) in international women’s team handball matches with regard to playing positions.

Methods:

Twenty female national-team handball players were equipped with inertial movement units (OptimEye S5, Catapult Sports, Australia) in 9 official international matches. Players were categorized in 4 different playing positions: backs, wings, pivots, and goalkeepers (GKs). PlayerLoad™, accelerations (Acc), changes of direction (CoD), decelerations (Dec), and the sum of the latter 3, HIEs, were extracted from raw-data files using the manufacturer’s software. All Acc, Dec, CoD, and HIEs >2.5 m/s were included. Data were log-transformed and differences were standardized for interpretation of magnitudes and reported with effect-size statistics.

Results:

Mean numbers of events were 0.7 ± 0.4 Acc/min, 2.3 ± 0.9 Dec/min, and 1.0 ± 0.4 CoD/min. Substantial differences between playing positions, ranging from small to very large, were found in the 3 parameters. Backs showed a most likely greater frequency for HIE/min (5.0 ± 1.1 HIE/min) than all other playing positions. Differences between playing positions were also apparent in PlayerLoad/min.

Conclusion:

HIEs in international women’s team handball are position specific, and the overall intensity depends on the positional role within a team. Specific HIE and intensity profiles from match play provide useful information for a better understanding of the overall game demands and for each playing position.

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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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Philippa McGregor and Stacy Winter

The purpose of this paper is to share and reflect on personal experiences of providing sport psychology support to an international lacrosse squad during their World Cup participation. Based on the needs analysis assessments from observation reports and informal communications, key areas of support included: (1) creating structure and routine, (2) facilitating team reflections, (3) goal setting, (4) game preparation, and (5) providing off-field support. Working with this team exposed the dynamic nature of sport psychology consultancy, and the unpredictability of what is required from a team in a high-performance setting. Individual consultancy through informal communications with players signaled the importance of supporting the person beyond their role as an athlete. Team-level support via group workshop sessions was predominantly performance-related, and required the adoption of solution-focused approaches given the time pressure on strategies to be effective. The support facilitated team organization and preparation, which enabled players to be both mentally and physically ready for each game. Establishing stable routines, game plans, and clear goals, and having adequate reflection and feedback time were reported by the players as important facets of their World Cup experience and success.

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Nacho Torreño, Diego Munguía-Izquierdo, Aaron Coutts, Eduardo Sáez de Villarreal, Jose Asian-Clemente and Luis Suarez-Arrones

Purpose:

To analyze the match running profile, distance traveled over successive 15 min of match play, heart rates (HRs), and index of performance efficiency (effindex) of professional soccer players with a global positioning system (GPS) and HR in official competition.

Methods:

Twenty-six professional players were investigated during full matches in competitive club-level matches (N = 223). Time–motion data and HR were collected using GPS and HR technology.

Results:

The relative total distance was 113 ± 11 m/min, with substantial differences between halves. For all playing positions, a substantial decrease in total distance and distance covered at >13.0 km/h was observed in the second half in comparison with the first. The decrease during the second half in distance covered at >13.0 km/h was substantially higher than in total distance. The average HR recorded was 86.0% maximal HR, and the relationship between external and internal load (effindex) was 1.3, with substantial differences between halves in all playing positions, except strikers for effindex. Wide midfielders reflected substantially the lowest mean HR and highest effindex, whereas center backs showed substantially the lowest effindex of all playing positions.

Conclusions:

The current study confirmed the decrement in a player’s performance toward the end of a match in all playing positions. Wide midfielders displayed the highest and fittest levels of physical and physiological demands, respectively, whereas center backs had the lowest and least-fit levels of physical and physiological demands, respectively. The position-specific relationship between external and internal load confirms that players with more overall running performance during the full match were the best in effindex.

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Oliver O. Badin, Mitchell R. Smith, Daniele Conte and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose:

To assess the effects of mental fatigue on physical and technical performance in small-sided soccer games.

Methods:

Twenty soccer players (age 17.8 ± 1.0 y, height 179 ± 5 cm, body mass 72.4 ± 6.8 kg, playing experience 8.3 ± 1.4 y) from an Australian National Premier League soccer club volunteered to participate in this randomized crossover investigation. Participants played 15-min 5-vs-5 small-sided games (SSGs) without goalkeepers on 2 occasions separated by 1 wk. Before the SSG, 1 team watched a 30-min emotionally neutral documentary (control), while the other performed 30 min of a computer-based Stroop task (mental fatigue). Subjective ratings of mental and physical fatigue were recorded before and after treatment and after the SSG. Motivation was assessed before treatment and SSG; mental effort was assessed after treatment and SSG. Player activity profiles and heart rate (HR) were measured throughout the SSG, whereas ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were recorded before the SSG and immediately after each half. Video recordings of the SSG allowed for notational analysis of technical variables.

Results:

Subjective ratings of mental fatigue and effort were higher after the Stroop task, whereas motivation for the upcoming SSG was similar between conditions. HR during the SSG was possibly higher in the control condition, whereas RPE was likely higher in the mental-fatigue condition. Mental fatigue had an unclear effect on most physical-performance variables but impaired most technical-performance variables.

Conclusions:

Mental fatigue impairs technical but not physical performance in small-sided soccer games.

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Craig Twist, Jamie Highton, Matthew Daniels, Nathan Mill and Graeme Close

Player loads and fatigue responses are reported in 15 professional rugby league players (24.3 ± 3.8 y) during a period of intensified fixtures. Repeated measures of internal and external loads, perceived well-being, and jump flight time were recorded across 22 d, comprising 9 training sessions and matches on days 5, 12, 15, and 21 (player exposure: 3.6 ± 0.6 matches). Mean training loads (session rating of perceived exertion × duration) between matches were 1177, 1083, 103, and 650 AU. Relative distance in match 1 (82 m/min) and match 4 (79 m/min) was very likely lower in match 2 (76 m/min) and likely higher in match 3 (86 m/min). High-intensity running (≥5.5 m/s) was likely to very likely lower than match 1 (5 m/min) in matches 2–4 (2, 4, and 3 m/min, respectively). Low-intensity activity was likely to very likely lower than match 1 (78 m/min) in match 2 (74 m/min) and match 4 (73 m/min) but likely higher in match 3 (81 m/min). Accumulated accelerometer loads for matches 1–4 were 384, 473, 373, and 391 AU, respectively. Perceived well-being returned to baseline values (~21 AU) before all matches but was very likely to most likely lower the day after each match (~17 AU). Prematch jump flight times were likely to most likely lower across the period, with mean values of 0.66, 0.65, 0.62, and 0.64 s before matches 1–4, respectively. Across a 22-d cycle with fixture congestion, professional rugby league players experience cumulative neuromuscular fatigue and impaired match running performance.

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Mark W. Bruner, Ian D. Boardley, Veronica Allan, Christopher Forrest, Zachary Root and Jean Côté

Social identity has been found to play a salient role in regulating teammate behavior among youth participating in a range of sports (Bruner, Boardley, & Côté, 2014). This study aimed to better understand social identity by examining how it may influence intrateam moral behavior specifically in competitive youth ice hockey. Thirty-six male and female competitive youth ice hockey players from nine teams participated in narrative interviews. Using a thematic narrative analysis, three distinct narratives were identified: (1) family-oriented team narrative, (2) performance-oriented team narrative, and (3) dominance-oriented team narrative. Within each of the narratives, a reciprocal relationship between social identity and intrateam moral behavior was reported such that young athletes’ social identities developed through team membership may influence and be influenced by their moral behavior toward teammates. Collectively, the results extend previous research by providing an in-depth qualitative understanding of social identity and intrateam moral behavior in youth sport.

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Frazer Atkinson, Sandra E. Short and Jeffrey Martin

The authors examined the relationships among athletes’ perceptions of their coaches’ and their team’s efficacy in a sample of 271 college soccer players (M = 19.84 years, SD = 1.42). Athletes’ perceptions of their coaches’ efficacy were assessed using a modified version of the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES), and perceptions of team efficacy were assessed using the Collective Efficacy Questionnaire for Sport (CEQS). A canonical correlation analysis between the variants formed by the CES subscales and the CEQS subscales was statistically significant, Wilks’s criterion λ = .440, F(20, 883.17) = 12.40, p < .001. Significant canonical loadings indicated that athletes’ perceptions of their coaches’ being confident in their ability to motivate (β = −.78) and provide successful game strategies (β = −.49) to the team were the most predictive of the athletes’ confidence in their team’s ability to prepare (β = −.58), persist (β = −.13), and unite (β = −.36) during competition. The authors provide practical implications for coaches looking to enhance coaching and team efficacy that are linked directly to their findings.