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James M. Rhodes, Barry S. Mason, Thomas A.W. Paulson and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey

Purpose:

To investigate the speed profiles of individual training modes in comparison with wheelchair rugby (WCR) competition across player classifications.

Methods:

Speed profiles of 15 international WCR players were determined using a radio-frequency-based indoor tracking system. Mean and peak speed (m/s), work:rest ratios, and the relative time spent in (%) and number of high-speed activities performed were measured across training sessions (n = 464) and international competition (n = 34). Training was classified into 1 of 4 modes: conditioning (n = 71), skill-based (n = 133), game-related (n = 151), and game-simulation drills (n = 109). Game-simulation drills were further categorized by the structured duration, which were 3-min game clock (n = 44), 8-min game clock (n = 39), and 10-min running clock (n = 26). Players were grouped by their International Wheelchair Rugby Federation classification as either low-point (≤1.5; n = 8) or high-point players (≥2.0; n = 7).

Results:

Conditioning drills were shown to exceed the demands of competition, irrespective of classification (P ≤ .005; effect size [ES] = 0.6–2.0). Skill-based and game-related drills underrepresented the speed profiles of competition (P ≤ .005; ES = 0.5–1.1). Mean speed and work:rest ratios were significantly lower during 3- and 8-min game-simulation drills in relation to competition (P ≤ .039; ES = 0.5–0.7). However, no significant differences were identified between the 10-min running clock and competition.

Conclusions:

Although game-simulation drills provided the closest representation of competition, the structured duration appeared important since the 10-min running clock increased training specificity. Coaches can therefore modify the desired training response by making subtle changes to the format of game-simulation drills.

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Cesar R. Torres

In contemporary sport, it is common to see children initiating their specialization at ever younger ages with the hope that this early start will assist them in making the elite ranks at a later age. The growing acceptance of early sport specialization has led to equally growing concerns among researchers. Clearly, as this thematic volume attests, early sport specialization is a controversial phenomenon. Sport philosophers have started to study the challenging issues related to early sport specialization and thus there is emerging literature addressing such issues. This paper reviews the sport philosophy literature touching on early sport specialization and focuses on some fundamental philosophical issues raised by early sport specialization. These issues are related to the right of children to an open future, dangerous sports, competition and coaching, and doping and genetic enhancements. The paper concludes with a brief commentary on the relevance of these issues for policy making.

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Ineke Vergeer and John M. Hogg

This study aimed to examine the effects of four situational factors on coaches’ decisions about an injured athlete’s participation in competition. A telephone survey was conducted among 64 coaches training female gymnasts of various competitive levels. Coaches were presented with hypothetical scenarios depicting situations in which an athlete suffered an ankle injury prior to competition. Injury severity, the gymnast’s age and ability level, and importance of the competition were systematically varied in a total of 16 scenarios. Using a multilinear polynomial model (Louvière. 1988), decision policies were calculated at the individual and aggregate levels. The aggregate level analysis showed a four-way interaction effect. Cluster analysis on individual policies revealed two groups, membership of which was associated with personal injury history. Results suggest that in their decision making, coaches are sensitive to the unique situational characteristics surrounding the injury and are influenced by their personal experiences with competing while injured.

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Liam P. Kilduff, Charlotte V. Finn, Julien S. Baker, Christian J. Cook and Daniel J. West

Sports scientists and strength and conditioning professionals spend the majority of the competition season trying to ensure that their athletes’ training and recovery strategies are appropriate to ensure optimal performance on competition day. However, there is an additional window on the day of competition where performance can be acutely enhanced with a number of preconditioning strategies. These strategies include appropriately designed warm-up, passive heat maintenance, postactivation potentiation, remote ischemic preconditioning, and, more recently, prior exercise and hormonal priming. The aim of this review was to explore the potential practical use of these strategies and propose a theoretical timeline outlining how they may be incorporated into athlete’s precompetition routine to enhance performance. For the purpose of this review the discussion is confined to strategies that may enhance performance of short-duration, high-intensity sports (eg, sprinting, jumping, throwing).

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Sue L. McPherson

Research examining planning strategies used by high-strategy open-skill performers is limited. This study examined planning responses of collegiate varsity (experts, n = 6) and beginner (novices, n = 6) women tennis players between points during competition. Other articles focused on expert-novice differences in problem representations (quantitative analyses of verbal data via audiotaping) accessed during simulated situations and during actual competition (immediate recall point interviews) and performance skills during competition (via videotaping). Mann-Whitney U tests on verbal report measures indicated experts generated more total, varied, and sophisticated goal, condition, action, and do concepts than novices. Experts planned for actions based on elaborate and sophisticated action plan and current event profiles; novices rarely planned and they lacked these memory structures. Differences in internal self-talk were also noted.

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Daniel L. Wann, Thomas J. Dolan, Kimberly K. MeGeorge and Julie A. Allison

Previous research has indicated that spectators can influence the outcomes of athletic competitions. In Study 1, spectators' perceptions of their ability to influence the contests were examined. Results indicated that high levels of identification with sports teams were related to greater perceptions of influence. It was further predicted that high-identification fans would exhibit the most intense affective reactions to competition outcome. In Study 2 this proposition was tested and supported. High-identification fans reported an increase in pre- to postgame positive emotions following a win and an increase in negative emotions following a loss. Emotional changes were minimal for fans low in team identification. Finally, a third study was used to examine possible changes in team identification as a result of competition outcome for historically successful and marginally successful teams. The results indicated that although past team success was an important predictor of identification level, levels were not affected by game outcome.

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Leilani A. Madrigal and Patrick B. Wilson

This study assessed the hormonal and psychological responses to a free-throw shooting competition in twelve NCAA Division I female collegiate basketball players. Salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase, and testosterone were collected before and after the competition, in addition to a self-reported measure of anxiety. Using nonparametric statistics, cortisol (Z = –3.06, p = .002) and testosterone (Z = –2.67, p = .008) levels were significantly higher precompetition compared with postcompetition. There were no statistically significant differences between winners and losers for anxiety or hormone responses. Concentration disruption (rho = .63, p = .03) and total competitive anxiety (rho = .68, p = .02) were positively correlated with precompetition cortisol. Concentration disruption also correlated positively with postcompetition cortisol (rho = .62 p = .03) and postcompetition testosterone (rho = .64, p = .03). Future studies are needed to examine the psychological and physiological stress responses of basketball players during different competition tasks.

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Karen M. Appleby and Leslie A. Fisher

Although a few studies on the experiences of mothering athletes have been conducted that investigate issues such a training patterns of elite and non-elite athletes, quality of life issues, and track and field athletes’ return to competition after pregnancy (see Beilock, Feltz, & Pivarnik, 2001; Balague, Shaw, Vernacchia, & Yambor, 1995: Pederson, 2001), none of these capture this experience from a critical feminist perspective. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to use a critical feminist framework to qualitatively explore the athletic experiences of elite distance runners who returned to competition after having children. The results of this study indicated that elite female distance runners who returned to a high level of competition after pregnancy experienced a transformative process as they negotiated their new roles as mothers and integrated this new lifestyle with both the social discourse surrounding motherhood and their own objectives to continue running at an elite level. Implications and theoretical connections between this research and future research are also provided.

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Emmanouil Georgiadis and Irini Papazoglou

World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) is responsible for doping-free sporting contests and is the only sporting body posing relevant competition sanctions. While doping relates to various controversial attitudes and beliefs proposed in the past, the confirmation of a competition ban following a doping violation has many negative connotations for the lives of the athletes. This can elicit multiple significant and far-reaching implications for them and their close ones. Aiming to better understand these implications in an athlete’s life, 5 Greek male and female athletes having recently received a competition ban after a doping violation were interviewed. Qualitative analysis of the data showed that many important psychological, social, and financial implications follow such a sanction. Most importantly, these consequences may even contribute to indications of poor mental and physical health. Discussion of the results provides suggestions for the alleviation of the negative consequences following an involuntary sporting career pause or termination.

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Assuman Nuhu and Matthew Kutz

Epidemiological research on soccer injuries during African soccer competition is sparse. This study was conducted among 12 teams in the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) challenge cup tournament. Fifty-seven injuries were reported (2.7 injuries per match), or 82.25 injuries per 1,000 match hours. The ankle was most often injured (23%). The majority (81%) of injuries occurred as a result of traumatic contact, with the most injuries occurring in the last 30 min of the match. A majority (84%) of athletes who sustained injuries continued to play. African medical personnel should be trained to handle the unique constraints and variety of injuries sustained during soccer competition.