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SarahJane Cullen, Eimear Dolan, Kate O Brien, Adrian McGoldrick and Giles Warrington

Balance and anaerobic performance are key attributes related to horse-racing performance, but research on the impact of making weight for racing on these parameters remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of rapid weight loss in preparation for racing on balance and anaerobic performance in a group of jockeys.

Methods:

Twelve apprentice male jockeys and 12 age- and gender-matched controls completed 2 trials separated by 48 h. In both trials, body mass, hydration status, balance, and anaerobic performance were assessed. Between the trials, the jockeys reduced body mass by 4% using weight-loss methods typically adopted in preparation for racing, while controls maintained body mass through typical daily dietary and physical activity habits.

Results:

Apprentice jockeys decreased mean body mass by 4.2% ± 0.3% (P < .001) with a subsequent increase in dehydration (P < .001). The controls maintained body mass and a euhydrated state. No differences in balance, on the left or right side, or in peak power, mean power, or fatigue index were reported between the trials in either group.

Conclusion:

Results from this study indicate that a 4% reduction in body mass in 48 h through the typical methods employed for racing, in association with an increase in dehydration, resulted in no impairments in balance or anaerobic performance. Further research is required to evaluate performance in a sport-specific setting and to investigate the specific physiological mechanisms involved.

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Philip Davis, Peter R. Benson, Robert Waldock and Andrew J. Connorton

Female boxing debuted at the 2012 London Olympic Games. To better understand the performance aspects of the sport, video footage of eighteen 4 × 2-min bouts were analyzed. The boxers involved in the competition were of an elite level (mean ± SD), age 26.4 ± 4.6 y, height 169.3 ± 6.2 cm, and weight 60.3 ± 10.0 kg. Analysis revealed an activity rate of ~1.6 actions/s, including ~16 punches, ~3.3 defensive movements, and ~63 vertical hip movements, all per minute, over the 4 × ~132-s rounds (R). A 2 × 4 (outcome × round) ANOVA with repeated measures over the rounds was used to analyze the data. Winners maintained a higher activity rate in round 1 (R1) and R2; a higher movement rate in R2, R3, and R4; and an increased punch accuracy including the ratio of total punches to punches landed in R3 and air punches as a percentage of punches missed in R1 and R3. Specific techniques that discriminate between successful and unsuccessful female amateur boxers include the straight rear-hand and body punches, higher for winners in R1, as well as uppercut punches and defensive foot movements, higher for winners in R4. Findings highlight the current demands of elite amateur female boxing. These data will be useful for those designing training programs and may also be useful for guiding sport-specific fitness testing.

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Frankie Tan, Ted Polglaze, Gregory Cox, Brian Dawson, Iñigo Mujika and Sally Clark

This study investigated the effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on simulated water polo match performance. Twelve elite players from the Australian National Women’s Water Polo Squad (age 23.7 ± 3.0 yr, height 1.73 ± 0.05 m, body mass 75.7 ± 8.0 kg) participated in the study. In a randomized cross-over double-blind design, players ingested 0.3 g/kg of NaHCO3 or placebo 90 min before performing a 59-min match-simulation test (MST) that included 56 × 10-m maximal-sprint swims as the performance measure. Capillary blood samples were obtained preingestion, pre- and post-warm-up, and after each quarter of the MST. Preexercise ingestion of NaHCO3 was effective in enhancing extracellular pH from baseline levels of 7.41; ±0.01 (M; ±90% confidence limits) to 7.49; ±0.01 and bicarbonate levels from 24.4; ±0.3 to 28.5; ±0.5 mmol/L. The percentage difference in mean sprint times between trials showed no substantial effects of NaHCO3 (0.4; ±1.0, effect size = 0.09; ±0.23; p = .51). These findings are contrary to those of previous NaHCO3 studies on simulated team-sport performance, but this investigation is unique in that it examined highly trained athletes performing sport-specific tasks. In conclusion, water polo players should not expect substantial enhancement in intermittent-sprint performance from NaHCO3 supplementation.

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Katharina Diehl, Ansgar Thiel, Stephan Zipfel, Jochen Mayer, Alexia Schnell and Sven Schneider

The authors’ aim was to examine the prevalence of (daily) dietary-supplement (DS) use among elite adolescent athletes and to differentiate use by different types of DS according to their function. Data were analyzed for associations between users of these DS types, sociodemographic, sport-specific characteristics, and opinion on the need for DS. In addition, sources of supply and information were examined. In the framework of the GOAL Study, 1,138 German elite adolescent athletes (14–18 yr) answered questions about DS. The data were analyzed to identify groups at risk for using DS after a classification by supplemental function. Of the young athletes, 91.1% reported DS use during the previous month. (Daily) DS use was significantly associated with sex, kind of sport, and the weekly duration of sporting activity. Furthermore, some athletes were required to use DS by their sporting organization. DS use was more likely in these athletes than in those whose sporting organizations had no such requirement. Overall, DS with short- and long-term supplemental function were mostly associated with the use of magnesium. However, DS with medium-term muscle-building function played an important role among daily users. The main source of information about DS was coaches; main source of supply was parents. Professional education is urgently needed, as 9 out of 10 athletes used DS, and strong positive opinions toward the use of DS were present, particularly in the DS users.

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Edward J. Smith, Ryan Storey and Mayur K. Ranchordas

Bouldering competitions are held up to International level and governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing. Bouldering has been selected to feature at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, however, physiological qualities and nutritional requirements to optimize performance remain inadequately defined due to large gaps in the literature. The primary goals of training include optimizing the capacity of the anaerobic energy systems and developing sport-specific strength, with emphasis on the isometric function of the forearm flexors responsible for grip. Bouldering athletes typically possess a lean physique, similar to the characteristics of sport climbers with reported body fat values of 6–12%. Athletes strive for a low body weight to improve power to weight ratio and limit the load on the extremities. Specialized nutritional support is uncommon and poor nutritional practices such as chronic carbohydrate restriction are prevalent, compromising the health of the athletes. The high intensity nature of bouldering demands a focus on adequate carbohydrate availability. Protein intake and timing should be structured to maximize muscle protein synthesis and recovery, with the literature suggesting 0.25–0.3 g/kg in 3–4 hr intervals. Supplementing with creatine and b-alanine may provide some benefit by augmenting the capacity of the anaerobic systems. Boulderers are encouraged to seek advice from nutrition experts to enhance performance, particularly important when weight loss is the desired outcome. Further research is warranted across all nutritional aspects of bouldering which is summarized in this review.

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Adam J. Zemski, Elizabeth M. Broad and Gary J. Slater

Body composition in elite rugby union athletes is routinely assessed using surface anthropometry, which can be utilized to provide estimates of absolute body composition using regression equations. This study aims to assess the ability of available skinfold equations to estimate body composition in elite rugby union athletes who have unique physique traits and divergent ethnicity. The development of sport-specific and ethnicity-sensitive equations was also pursued. Forty-three male international Australian rugby union athletes of Caucasian and Polynesian descent underwent surface anthropometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) assessment. Body fat percent (BF%) was estimated using five previously developed equations and compared to DXA measures. Novel sport and ethnicity-sensitive prediction equations were developed using forward selection multiple regression analysis. Existing skinfold equations provided unsatisfactory estimates of BF% in elite rugby union athletes, with all equations demonstrating a 95% prediction interval in excess of 5%. The equations tended to underestimate BF% at low levels of adiposity, whilst overestimating BF% at higher levels of adiposity, regardless of ethnicity. The novel equations created explained a similar amount of variance to those previously developed (Caucasians 75%, Polynesians 90%). The use of skinfold equations, including the created equations, cannot be supported to estimate absolute body composition. Until a population-specific equation is established that can be validated to precisely estimate body composition, it is advocated to use a proven method, such as DXA, when absolute measures of lean and fat mass are desired, and raw anthropometry data routinely to derive an estimate of body composition change.

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Michael Wilkinson, Damon Leedale-Brown and Edward M. Winter

Purpose:

We examined the validity and reproducibility of a squash-specifc test designed to assess change-of-direction speed.

Methods:

10 male squash and 10 male association-football and rugby-union players completed the Illinois agility run (IAR) and a squash change-of-direction-speed test (SCODS) on separate days. Tests were repeated after 24 h to assess reproducibility. The best time from three attempts was recorded in each trial.

Results:

Performance times on the IAR (TE 0.27 s, 1.8%, 90% CI 0.21 to 0.37 s; LOA -0.12 s ± 0.74; LPR slope 1, intercept -2.8) and SCODS (TE 0.18 s, 1.5%, 90% CI 0.14 to 0.24 s; LOA 0.05 s ± 0.49; LPR slope 0.95, intercept 0.5) were reproducible. There were no statistically significant differences in performance time between squash (14.75 ± 0.66 s) and nonsquash players (14.79 ± 0.41 s) on the IAR. Squash players (10.90 ± 0.44 s) outperformed nonsquash players (12.20 ± 0.34 s) on the SCODS (P < .01). Squash player rank significantly correlated with SCODS performance time (Spearman’s ρ = 0.77, P < .01), but not IAR performance time (Spearman’s ρ = 0.43, P = .21).

Conclusions:

The results suggest that the SCODS test is a better measure of sport-specific capability than an equivalent nonspecific field test and that it is a valid and reliable tool for talent identification and athlete tracking.

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David Docherty and Matthew J. Hodgson

Recently there has been considerable interest and research into the functional significance of postactivation potentiation (PAP) on sport performance. The interest has evolved around the potential for enhancing acute performance or the long-term training effect, typically in the form of complex training. Complex training usually involves performing a weight-training exercise with high loads before executing a plyometric exercise with similar biomechanical demands. Despite a considerable amount of research in the past 10 years it would seem there is still much research to be done to fully determine whether PAP has a functional role and, if so, how to best exploit it. It is clear from the research that there are many factors that need to be considered when attempting to apply PAP to an athlete. It is possible that a well-conceived sport-specific warm-up might be as or more effective in enhancing acute performance and easier to apply in a practical setting. In addition, despite its current popularity, there has not been 1 study that has effectively examined the efficacy of complex training and whether it has any advantage over other forms of training that combine weight training and plyometrics but not in the same training session.

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Deborah L. Feltz and Eugene W. Brown

Harter's (1979) perceived competence subscale was modified to specifically apply to soccer in order to compare young soccer players' general self-esteem, perceived physical competence, and perceived soccer competence scores in predicting players' actual soccer ability. Young soccer players (N = 217), 8 to 13 years of age, were tested on five soccer skill tests. Players also completed Harter's (1979) Perceived Competence Scale for Children and our perceived soccer competence subscale. We hypothesized that perceived soccer competence would have high internal consistency and would be a better predictor of soccer ability than either perceived physical competence or general self-esteem. Results indicated that the perceived soccer competence subscale had the highest internal consistency reliability coefficient, and that it was also slightly more predictive of soccer ability than perceived physical competence as indicated by multivariate multiple regression analysis and canonical correlation analysis. Future studies investigating perceived competence as a motivational variable in specific youth sports may find the sport-specific perceived competence measure to provide additional information to Harter's questionnaire.

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Gershon Tenenbaum, David Furst and Gilad Welmgarten

Attribution of causality, based on Rotter's (1966) and Weiner's (1979) models, was investigated in a sport setting. The Wingate Sport Achievement Responsibility Scale (WSARS) was developed in order to examine attribution of causality separately for individual and team athletes after successful and unsuccessful events. The scale included feedback from the coach, audience, and teammates. Additional attributions were added in order to examine sport related properties of attributions. In order to examine the distinction between sport-specific attributions and general locus of control (LOG), 69 team athletes and 38 individual athletes were administered the Rotter I-E LOG Scale and the WSARS (Tenenbaum & Weingarten, 1983). Both Rotter's Scale and the WSARS were found to be reliable and valid scales through the probabilistic Rasch Model. Correlational analysis of both scales showed that attribution of causality in team and individual sports were positively related but produced low correlations, which suggests that sport attribution should be examined separately from general LOG. In addition, successful events should be examined separately from unsuccessful events and a distinction should be made between individual and team athletes.