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Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez, David Sanz, Jose Manuel Sarabia and Manuel Moya

Purpose:

To compare the effects of combining high-intensity training (HIT) and sport-specific drill training (MT) versus sportspecific drill training alone (DT) on fitness performance characteristics in young tennis players.

Methods:

Twenty young tennis players (14.8 ± 0.1 y) were assigned to either DT (n = 10) or MT (n = 10) for 8 wk. Tennis drills consisted of two 16- to 22-min on-court exercise sessions separated by 3 min of passive rest, while MT consisted of 1 sport-specific DT session and 1 HIT session, using 16–22 min of runs at intensities (90–95%) related to the velocity obtained in the 30–15 Intermittent Fitness Test (VIFT) separated by 3 min of passive rest. Pre- and posttests included peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), VIFT, speed (20 m, with 5- and 10-m splits), 505 Agility Test, and countermovement jump (CMJ).

Results:

There were significant improvements after the training period in VO2peak (DT 2.4%, ES = moderate; MT 4.2%, ES = large) and VIFT (DT 2.2%, ES = small; MT 6.3%, ES = large) for both DT and MT, with no differences between training protocols. Results also showed a large increase in the 505 Agility Test after MT, while no changes were reported in the other tests (sprint and CMJ), either for MT or DT.

Conclusions:

Even though both training programs resulted in significant improvements in aerobic performance, a mixed program combining tennis drills and runs based on the VIFT led to greater gains and should be considered the preferred training method for improving aerobic power in young athletes.

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James Zois, David Bishop and Rob Aughey

High-intensity, short-duration warm-up techniques improve acute physical performance, but sparse research has examined their consequence when followed by intermittent activity, which is pertinent to team sports. The authors compared a 5-repetition-maximum (5RM) leg-press, a small-sided game (SSG), and a current team-sport warm-up in 10 semiprofessional soccer players after 2 intermittent-activity protocols consisting of 15 repetitions of a 60-s circuit that included sprinting, slalom, walking, jogging, decelerations, changes of direction, backward running, and striding activities. There was a large improvement in countermovement-jump height in the 5RM after the 1st intermittent-activity protocol (mean, ±90% CL 6.0, ±4.0%, P = .03) and a small improvement after the 2nd (4.6, ±4.0%, P = .04) compared with team sport. Reactive agility was moderately faster via 5RM after the 1st intermittent-activity protocol (3.1, ±2.6%: P = .04) and the 2nd (5.7, ±2.7%, P = .001) than via SSG. There was a small improvement in reactive agility after the 1st intermittent-activity protocol in the 5RM, compared with team sport (3.3, ±2.9%, P = .04). There was a small improvement in mean 20-m-sprint times after both intermittent-activity protocols in the 5RM, compared with SSG (4.2, ±2.0%, P = .01, and 4.3, ±2.0%, P = .01) and, after the 1st intermittent-activity protocol only, compared with team sport (4.2, ±2.1%, P = 0.02). Small increases in blood lactate concentration were observed (46.7, ±18.6%, P = .01) in the 5RM compared with the SSG after the 2nd intermittent-activity protocol. Improved performances after the 5RM warm-up should encourage practitioners to reduce activity time and include high-intensity tasks in team-sport warmups aimed at inducing a potentiating effect.

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Patrick Delisle-Houde, Nathan A. Chiarlitti, Ryan E.R. Reid and Ross E. Andersen

Ice hockey is a physically demanding contact sport that requires players to perform repeated bouts of high-energy output shifts lasting 30 to 80 seconds. 1 , 2 Ice hockey players are required to develop many physical attributes such as speed, agility, and flexibility to perform optimally in the

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Avery D. Faigenbaum, Jie Kang, James McFarland, Jason M. Bloom, James Magnatta, Nicholas A. Ratamess and Jay R. Hoffman

Although pre-event static stretching (SS) is an accepted practice in most youth programs, pre-event dynamic exercise (DY) is becoming popular. The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effects of pre-event SS, DY, and combined SS and DY (SDY) on vertical jump (VJ), medicine-ball toss (MB), 10-yard sprint (SP), and pro-agility shuttle run (AG) in teenage athletes (15.5 ± 0.9 years). Thirty athletes participated in three testing sessions in random order on three nonconsecutive days. Before testing, participants performed 5 min of walking/jogging followed by one of the following 10 min warm-up protocols: a) five static stretches (2 × 30 s), b) nine moderate-to-high-intensity dynamic movements (2 × 10 yards), or c) five static stretches (1 × 30 s) followed by the same nine dynamic movements (1 × 10 yards). Statistical analysis of the data revealed that performance on the VJ, MB, and SP were significantly (p < .05) improved after DY and SDY as compared with SS. There were no significant differences in AG after the 3 warm-up treatments. The results of this study indicate that pre-event dynamic exercise or static stretching followed by dynamic exercise might be more beneficial than pre-event static stretching alone in teenage athletes who perform power activities.

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Gregory R. Cox, Iñigo Mujika and Cees-Rein van den Hoogenband

Water polo is an aquatic team sport that requires endurance, strength, power, swimming speed, agility, tactical awareness, and specific technical skills, including ball control. Unlike other team sports, few researchers have examined the nutritional habits of water polo athletes or potential dietary strategies that improve performance in water polo match play. Water polo players are typically well muscled, taller athletes; female players display higher levels of adiposity compared with their male counterparts. Positional differences exist: Center players are heavier and have higher body fat levels compared with perimeter players. Knowledge of the physical differences that exist among water polo players offers the advantage of player identification as well as individualizing nutrition strategies to optimize desired physique goals. Individual dietary counseling is warranted to ensure dietary adequacy, and in cases of physique manipulation. Performance in games and during quality workouts is likely to improve by adopting strategies that promote high carbohydrate availability, although research specific to water polo is lacking. A planned approach incorporating strategies to facilitate muscle glycogen refueling and muscle protein synthesis should be implemented following intensified training sessions and matches, particularly when short recovery times are scheduled. Although sweat losses of water polo players are less than what is reported for land-based athletes, specific knowledge allows for appropriate planning of carbohydrate intake strategies for match play and training. Postgame strategies to manage alcohol intake should be developed with input from the senior player group to minimize the negative consequences on recovery and player welfare.

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Pauline Maillot, Alexandra Perrot, Alan Hartley and Manh-Cuong Do

The purposes of this present research were, in the first study, to determine whether age impacts a measure of postural control (the braking force in walking) and, in a second study, to determine whether exergame training in physically-simulated sport activity would show transfer, increasing the braking force in walking and also improving balance assessed by clinical measures, functional fitness, and health-related quality of life in older adults. For the second study, the authors developed an active video game training program (using the Wii system) with a pretest-training-posttest design comparing an experimental group (24 1-hr sessions of training) with a control group. Participants completed a battery comprising balance (braking force in short and normal step conditions), functional fitness (Senior Fitness Test), and health-related quality of life (SF-36). Results show that 12 weeks of video game-based exercise program training improved the braking force in the normal step condition, along with the functional fitness of lower limb strength, cardiovascular endurance, and motor agility, as measured by the Senior Fitness Test. Only the global mental dimension of the SF-36 was sensitive to exergame practice. Exergames appear to be an effective way to train postural control in older adults. Because of the multimodal nature of the activity, exergames provide an effective tool for remediation of age-related problems.

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Ricardo Rebelo-Gonçalves, Manuel João Coelho-e-Silva, Vítor Severino, Antonio Tessitore and António José Barata Figueiredo

Studies focused on position-related characteristics of young soccer players often ignore the goalkeepers. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of playing position on anthropometry, physiological attributes, soccer skills, and goal orientation across adolescence. One hundred forty-five soccer players age 11–19 y were assessed in training experience, body size, maturation, physiological parameters, soccer skills, and goal orientation. Factorial ANOVA was used to test the effect of age group, playing position, and respective interaction terms, while analysis of variance was used to compare goalkeepers vs outfielders in middle (under 13 [U-13] and U-15) and late (U-17 and U-19) adolescence. Discriminant analysis was used to identify the variables that contributed to explaining playing positions. Age group was a consistent source of variation for all variables except task and ego orientations. Fat mass, agility, endurance, dribbling speed, shooting accuracy, and passing were affected by the gradient derived from the classification between goalkeepers and outfielders. It was possible to correctly classify the playing position based on fat-free mass and 3 manipulative skills in younger players and on 4 skills in U-17 and U-19 soccer players. Future research should include longitudinal information to improve our understanding of the factors that contribute to distinguish goalkeepers from outfielders.

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Robert H. Wood, Rafael Reyes-Alvarez, Brian Maraj, Kristi L. Metoyer and Michael A. Welsch

It has been suggested that physical and cognitive functions are associated with health-related quality of life (HRQL). Previous work examining the relationship between physical ability and HRQL is equivocal, and information about cognitive function in relation to HRQL is largely restricted to people with cognitive impairments. We investigated the relationships of physical ability and cognitive performance to HRQL in 44 older adults (72-93 years). The results suggest significant relationships between the endurance item of the AAHPERD test and the physical mobility and pain components of HRQL and between AAHPERD agility scores and the physical mobility component of HRQL. Visual simple-reaction time and the backward digit-span memory test were found to be related to physical mobility. The subject-performed-tasks memory test was related to the social component of HRQL. These data support the use of the AAHPERD test for characterizing physical ability of older adults as it relates to HRQL and identify specific cognitive support measures that reflect the relationship between cognition and HRQL in older adults.

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Anneke G. van der Niet, Joanne Smith, Jaap Oosterlaan, Erik J.A. Scherder, Esther Hartman and Chris Visscher

The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of a physical activity program including both aerobic exercise and cognitively engaging physical activities on children’s physical fitness and executive functions. Children from 3 primary schools (aged 8–12 years) were recruited. A quasi-experimental design was used. Children in the intervention group (n = 53; 19 boys, 34 girls) participated in a 22-week physical activity program for 30 min during lunch recess, twice a week. Children in the control group (n = 52; 32 boys, 20 girls) followed their normal lunch routine. Aerobic fitness, speed and agility, and muscle strength were assessed using the Eurofit test battery. Executive functions were assessed using tasks measuring inhibition (Stroop test), working memory (Visual Memory Span test, Digit Span test), cognitive flexibility (Trailmaking test), and planning (Tower of London). Children in the intervention group showed significantly greater improvement than children in the control group on the Stroop test and Digit Span test, reflecting enhanced inhibition and verbal working memory skills, respectively. No differences were found on any of the physical fitness variables. A physical activity program including aerobic exercise and cognitively engaging physical activities can enhance aspects of executive functioning in primary school children.

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Laurie D. Booher, Karla M. Hench, Teddy W. Worrell and Jill Stikeleather

Traditionally, lower extremity strength assessment has been performed in an open kinetic chain. Several authors, however, recommend closed kinetic chain assessment of lower extremity performance. Reliability of closed kinetic chain tests is not available. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the reliability of the following single-leg hop tests: hop for distance, 6-m hop for time, and 30-m agility hop. Eighteen subjects (4 males and 14 females) participated in this study. An ANOVA repeated measures analysis revealed significant differences between the test trials within and between sessions for all dependent variables. However, when the mean of two test trials was analyzed, the three single-leg hop tests values were stable, that is, intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC 2,1) ranged from 0.77 to 0.99. Results demonstrate that these three single-leg hop tests were reliable as used in this study. Future research is needed to determine the sensitivity of these tests in the assessment of lower extremity performance following injury and following rehabilitation procedures.