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Ronnie Lidor and Gal Ziv

The main purpose of this article is to review a series of studies (N = 18) on the physical characteristics, physiological attributes, throwing velocity and accuracy, and on-court performances of female team handball players. Studies were selected from a computerized search in electronic databases (PubMed, SPORT Discus) as well as from a manual search. Five main findings emerged from this review: (1) a tall and heavy build was advantageous in team handball—mean height ranged from 165.9±.3 cm to 179±4 cm and mean body mass ranged from 62.4±6.2 kg to 72.0±6.3 kg; (2) VO2max values of female players were between 47-54 ml·kg-1·min-1; (3) throwing velocity was higher by as much as 11% in elite female players compared to amateur female players; (4) during 90% of playing time, heart rate (HR) was above 85% of HRmax, and the average VO2 was 79% of VO2max in female players; and (5) on-court distance covered averaged approximately 4 km and varied between 2-5 km in female players, depending on the playing position of the player. Most of the studies reviewed were cross-sectional, and only a few reported data on on-court performance. There is a need for additional manipulative studies to determine the influence of various training programs on game performance. In addition, conditioning programs that develop power and strength should be emphasized, and attention should be given to the player’s playing position and skill level.

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Paul W.M. Marshall, Ric Lovell and Jason C. Siegler

Purpose:

Passive muscle tension is increased after damaging eccentric exercise. Hamstring-strain injury is associated with damaging eccentric muscle actions, but no research has examined changes in hamstring passive muscle tension throughout a simulated sport activity. The authors measured hamstring passive tension throughout a 90-min simulated soccer match (SAFT90), including the warm-up period and every 15 min throughout the 90-min simulation.

Methods:

Passive hamstring tension of 15 amateur male soccer players was measured using the instrumented straight-leg-raise test. Absolute torque (Nm) and slope (Nm/°) of the recorded torque-angular position curve were used for data analysis, in addition to total leg range of motion (ROM). Players performed a 15-min prematch warm-up, then performed the SAFT90 including a 15-min halftime rest period.

Results:

Reductions in passive stiffness of 20–50° of passive hip flexion of 22.1−29.2% (P < .05) were observed after the warm-up period. During the SAFT90, passive tension increased in the latter 20% of the range of motion of 10.1−10.9% (P < .05) concomitant to a 4.5% increase in total hamstring ROM (P = .0009).

Conclusions:

The findings of this study imply that hamstring passive tension is reduced after an active warm-up that includes dynamic stretching but does not increase in a pattern suggestive of eccentric induced muscle damage during soccer-specific intermittent exercise. Hamstring ROM and passive tension increases are best explained by improved stretch tolerance.

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Randy C. Battochio, Robert J. Schinke, Danny L. Battochio, Wayne Halliwell and Gershon Tenenbaum

Through adaptation studies in elite sport, researchers can delineate the strategies that amateur and professional athletes employ during career transitions (e.g., promotion, relocation). Fiske (2004) identified five core motives as catalysts to adaptation: understanding, controlling, self-enhancement, belonging, and trusting, which were recently contextualized in sport as a result of one archival study examining the second hand experiences of National Hockey League (NHL) players. The purpose of the present study was to learn about the adaptation process of NHL players based on a first hand data source (i.e., semi-structured interview). A semi-structured open-ended interview guide was utilized to learn about the experiences of four groups of NHL players (n = 11): prospects (n = 3), rookies (n = 3), veterans (n = 2), and retirees (n = 3). There is an indication that adaptation strategies and sub-strategies vary according to the player’s career stage and the challenges related to seeking and maintaining a roster spot. The findings are also consistent with Fiske’s five core motives and earlier adaptation sub-strategies, in addition to uncovering three novel sub-strategies (i.e., understanding one’s performance, distraction control, and trusting player agents). Implications and recommendations are provided for sport researchers and practitioners.

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Lucie Thibault and Jean Harvey

The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature and extent of interorganizational linkages between the partners involved in Canada's sport delivery system. Given the changes in the economic context of the 1990s and the ensuing fiscal restraints exercised by both government and the private sector, amateur sport organizations are in a period of high uncertainty. In order to deal with this uncertainty, links between organizations like governments, nonprofit sport organizations, and private sector organizations need to be established, fostered, and maintained. Organizations need to collaborate with each other in order to fulfill their objectives. Linkages between organizations will assist in the sharing of resources and in the coordination of work-related activities. In the paper, a number of examples of existing links between governments, nonprofit organizations, and private organizations are presented. Based on resource dependency theory, strategies such as contracts, joint ventures, and co-optation for establishing new interorganizational linkages are discussed. As well, related issues such as power struggles, loss of autonomy, asymmetrical relationships, and conflicting loyalties are addressed and discussed. Questions for future research also are proposed.

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Gerard Carmona, Emma Roca, Mario Guerrero, Roser Cussó, Alfredo Irurtia, Lexa Nescolarde, Daniel Brotons, Josep L. Bedini and Joan A. Cadefau

Objective:

To investigate changes after a mountain ultramarathon (MUM) in the serum concentration of fast (FM) and slow (SM) myosin isoforms, which are fiber-type-specific sarcomere proteins. The changes were compared against creatine kinase (CK), a widely used fiber-sarcolemma-damage biomarker, and cardiac troponin I (cTnI), a widely used cardiac biomarker.

Methods:

Observational comparison of response in a single group of 8 endurance-trained amateur athletes. Time-related changes in serum levels of CK, cTnI, SM, and FM from competitors were analyzed before, 1 h after the MUM, and 24 and 48 h after the start of the MUM by 1-way ANOVA for repeated measures or Friedman and Wilcoxon tests. Pearson correlation coefficient was employed to examine associations between variables.

Results:

While SM was significantly (P = .009) increased in serum 24 h after the beginning of the MUM, FM and cTnI did not change significantly. Serum CK activity peak was observed 1 h after the MUM (P = .002). Moreover, serum peaks of CK and SM were highly correlated (r = .884, P = .004).

Conclusions:

Since there is evidence of muscle damage after prolonged mountain running, the increase in SM serum concentration after a MUM could be indirect evidence of slow- (type I) fiber-specific sarcomere disruptions.

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Christie Tangalos, Samuel J. Robertson, Michael Spittle and Paul B. Gastin

Context:

Player match statistics in junior Australian football (AF) are not well documented, and contributors to success are poorly understood. A clearer understanding of the relationships between fitness and skill in younger players participating at the foundation level of the performance pathway in AF has implications for the development of coaching priorities (eg, physical or technical).

Purpose:

To investigate the relationships between indices of fitness (speed, power, and endurance) and skill (coach rating) on player performance (disposals and effective disposals) in junior AF.

Methods:

Junior male AF players (N = 156, 10–15 y old) were recruited from 12 teams of a single amateur recreational AF club located in metropolitan Victoria. All players were tested for fitness (20-m sprint, vertical jump, 20-m shuttle run) and rated by their coach on a 6-point Likert scale for skill (within a team in comparison with their teammates). Player performance was assessed during a single match in which disposals and their effectiveness were coded from a video recording.

Results:

Coach rating of skill displayed the strongest correlations and, combined with 20-m shuttle test, showed a good ability to predict the number of both disposals and effective disposals. None of the skill or fitness attributes adequately explained the percentage of effective disposals. The influence of team did not meaningfully contribute to the performance of any of the models.

Conclusions:

Skill development should be considered a high priority by coaches in junior AF.

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Antoni Sureda, Miguel D. Ferrer, Antonia Mestre, Josep A. Tur and Antoni Pons

The authors studied the effects of antioxidant diet supplementation with an almond-based beverage on neutrophil antioxidants, nitrite, and protein oxidative alterations after exercise. Fourteen trained male amateur runners were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to receive antioxidant supplementation (152 mg/d vitamin C and 50 mg/d vitamin E) or placebo using an almond-based beverage for 1 mo and participated in a half-marathon race. Blood samples were taken before and after the half-marathon and after 3 hr recovery. Supplementation significantly increased basal neutrophil vitamin C compared with placebo (p < .05). Exercise increased neutrophil vitamin E levels in the supplemented group and decreased vitamin C in both groups after recovery (p < .05). Neutrophil catalase and glutathione peroxidase gene expression and nitrite levels were significantly increased as result of exercise (p < .05). Nitrotyrosine and protein carbonyl derivates increased only in the placebo group after exercise (p < .05), and these values remained high at recovery. No significant differences were evidenced in caspase-3 activity and DNA damage. Antioxidant supplementation with vitamins C and E reduced the exercise-induced oxidation of proteins in neutrophils, without altering the antioxidant adaptive response, as evidenced by the increased catalase and glutathione peroxidase gene expression.

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Edward C. Frederick, Jeremy J. Determan, Saunders N. Whittlesey and Joseph Hamill

Seven top amateur or professional skateboarders (BW = 713 N ± 83 N) performed Ollie maneuvers onto and off an elevated wooden platform (45.7 cm high). We recorded ground reaction force (GRF) data for three Ollie Up (OU) and Ollie Down (OD) trials per participant. The vertical GRF (VGRF) during the OU has a characteristic propulsive peak (M = 2.22 body weight [BW] ± 0.22) resulting from rapidly rotating the tail of the board into the ground to propel the skater and board up and forward. The anterior-posterior (A-P) GRF also shows a pronounced peak (M = 0.05 ± 0.01 BW) corresponding with this propulsive VGRF peak. The initial phase of landing in the OD shows an impact peak in VGRF rising during the first 30 to 80 ms to a mean of 4.74 ± 0.46 BW. These impact peaks are higher than expected given the relatively short drop of 45.7 cm and crouched body position. But we observed that our participants intentionally affected a firm landing to stabilize the landing position; and the Ollie off the platform raised the center of mass, also contributing to higher forces.

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Philip R. Hayes, Kjell van Paridon, Duncan N. French, Kevin Thomas and Dan A. Gordon

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to develop a laboratory-based treadmill simulation of the on-course physiological demands of an 18-hole round of golf and to identify the underlying physiological responses.

Methods:

Eight amateur golfers completed a round of golf during which heart rate (HR), steps taken, and global positioning system (GPS) data were assessed. The GPS data were used to create a simulated discontinuous round on a treadmill. Steps taken and HR were recorded during the simulated round.

Results:

During the on-course round, players covered a mean (±SD) of 8,251 ± 450 m, taking 12,766 ± 1,530 steps. The mean exercise intensity during the on-course round was 31.4 ± 9.3% of age-predicted heart rate reserve (%HRR) or 55.6 ± 4.4% of age-predicted maximum HR (%HRmax). There were no significant differences between the simulated round and the on-course round for %HRR (P = .537) or %HR max (P = .561) over the entire round or for each individual hole. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between the two rounds for steps taken. Typical error values for steps taken, HR, %HRmax, and %HRR were 1,083 steps, ±7.6 b·min-1, ±4.5%, and ±8.1%, respectively.

Conclusion:

Overall, the simulated round of golf successfully recreated the demands of an on-course round. This simulated round could be used as a research tool to assess the extent of fatigue during a round of golf or the impact of various interventions on golfers.

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Ibrahim Akubat, Steve Barrett and Grant Abt

Purpose:

This study aimed to assess the relationships of fitness in soccer players with a novel integration of internal and external training load (TL).

Design:

Ten amateur soccer players performed a lactate threshold (LT) test followed by a soccer simulation (Ball-Sport Endurance and Sprint Test [BEAST90mod]).

Methods:

The results from the LT test were used to determine velocity at lactate threshold (vLT), velocity at onset of blood lactate accumulation (vOBLA), maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and the heart rate–blood lactate profile for calculation of internal TL (individualized training impulse, or iTRIMP). The total distance (TD) and high intensity distance (HID) covered during the BEAST90mod were measured using GPS technology that allowed measurement of performance and external TL. The internal TL was divided by the external TL to form TD:iTRIMP and HID:iTRIMP ratios. Correlation analyses assessed the relationships between fitness measures and the ratios to performance in the BEAST90mod.

Results:

vLT, vOBLA, and VO2max showed no significant relationship to TD or HID. HID:iTRIMP significantly correlated with vOBLA (r = .65, P = .04; large), and TD:iTRIMP showed a significant correlation with vLT (r = .69, P = .03; large).

Conclusions:

The results suggest that the integrated use of ratios may help in the assessment of fitness, as performance alone showed no significant relationships with fitness.