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António J. Figueiredo, Manuel J. Coelho e Silva, Sean P. Cumming and Robert M. Malina

The purpose of the study was to compare the anthropometric, functional and sport-specific skill characteristics and goal orientations of male youth soccer players at the extremes of height and skeletal maturity in two competitive age groups, 11–12 and 13–14 years. The shortest and tallest players, and least and most skeletally mature players (n = 8 per group) within each age group were compared on chronological age; skeletal age (Fels method); pubertal status (pubic hair); size, proportions and adiposity; four functional capacities; four soccer-specific skills; and task and ego orientation. The tallest players were older chronologically, advanced in maturity (skeletal, pubertal) and heavier, and had relatively longer legs than the shortest players in each age group. At 11–12 years, the most mature players were chronologically younger but advanced in pubertal status, taller and heavier with more adiposity. At 13–14 years, the most mature players were taller, heavier and advanced in pubertal status but did not differ in chronological age compared with the least mature players. Players at the extremes of height and skeletal maturity differed in speed and power (tallest > shortest; most mature > lest mature), but did not differ consistently in aerobic endurance and in soccer-specific skills. Results suggested that size and strength discrepancies among youth players were not a major advantage or disadvantage to performance. By inference, coaches and sport administrators may need to provide opportunities for or perhaps protect smaller, skilled players during the adolescent years.

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Joan L. Duda

This study examined the relationship between an athlete's goal perspective (i.e., task or ego orientation) and the perceived purpose of sport among male and female high school athletes. The sport-specific measure of task and ego orientation was found to have a stable factor structure and high internal consistency. Factor analysis of the Purpose of Sport Questionnaire revealed seven factors: sport should (a) teach the value of mastery and cooperation, (b) show people how to be physically active for life, (c) make good citizens, (d) make people competitive, (e) help individuals obtain a high status career, (f) enhance self-esteem, and (g) show people how to get ahead and increase their social status. Results indicated that the importance placed on skill mastery and personal improvement in sport (task orientation) positively related to the beliefs that sport should enhance self-esteem and teach people to try their test, cooperate, and be good citizens. Ego orientation was a positive predictor of the view that sport involvement should enhance one's self-esteem and social status.

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Simon A. Worsnop

The purpose of this article is to examine the application of talent development principles to the coaching of rugby. It will consider the generic and sport specific problems of talent identification and selection, particularly the danger of early selection that poses the dual problems of early disengagement on the one hand and over specialization on the other. The paper will touch upon the various proposed models of athlete development and discuss the ways in which a national governing body of sport can influence player development along the age continuum. The role of the individual coach in developing young players and the importance of coach development and education will also be considered. Understanding the needs of players at different times in their development, and having a clear knowledge of how to improve performance in an efficient, time restrained but also enjoyable manner is a key skill for any coach. However, this skill requires time to grow and many coach education systems do not provide the ongoing support mechanisms that will enable a coach to grow and flourish, resulting in a less than optimal coaching environment.

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Saichon Kloyiam, Sarah Breen, Philip Jakeman, Joe Conway and Yeshayahu Hutzler

The purpose of this study was to describe running economy, soccer specific endurance, and selected kinematic running criteria in soccer players with cerebral palsy (SPCP) and to compare them with values of position-matched players without CP. Fourteen international, male soccer players with cerebral palsy completed the “Yo-Yo” intermittent recovery run level 1 (IRL-1) test to assess soccer-specific endurance and a submaximal running test on a treadmill to determine running economy. The mean IRL-1 distance covered by the SPCP of the Irish CP team was found to be 43–50% below the mean distance attained by position-matched soccer players without disability, while running economy was found to be within the range of that reported for able-bodied athletes. No relationship could be found between the level of CP-ISRA classification and soccer-specific endurance or running economy in this group of elite level SPCP. Though small in number, these data support a further examination of the relationship between CP classification and sport-specific performance.

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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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Lynne Halley Johnston and Douglas Carroll

Twelve seriously injured athletes were asked to describe the provision of eight functional types of support during their rehabilitation. NUD*IST (Nonnumerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing) was used to organize the data. Overall, the provision of social support largely matched demand. Emotional and practical forms of support decreased with time, while varieties of informational support were increasingly received and preferred over time. The provision of informational and emotional support appeared to be dictated by four temporally sequential appraisals: injury severity, rehabilitation progress, recovery/readiness to return, and sports performance. Practical support in the form of personal assistance greatly depended upon the visibility of the injury and the mobility of the injured athlete. Physiotherapists, doctors, and other currently or previously injured athletes were most likely to provide informational support requiring expert medical knowledge, whereas coaches provided informational support requiring sport-specific expertise. Friends and family were the main source of emotional and practical support. The situational and temporal context of the provision of support is represented diagrammatically.

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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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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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Nima Dehghansai, Srdjan Lemez, Nick Wattie and Joseph Baker

Compared with mainstream sport athletes, relatively little is known regarding the factors affecting the development of athletes with a disability. Sport-specific training programs are essential to athletes’ successful performance; to create appropriate programs and strategies, a clear understanding of the nuances of development of athletes with a disability is important. The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize existing research on development in athletes with a disability and examine the key determinants of successful development and sporting performance. After a search of the Web of Science and SPORTDiscus databases, 21 articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria, which were assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and categorized into 3 groups: training and practice, shortterm interventions, and long-term changes due to training. Among the studies, there was a disproportionate focus on immediate interventions and training programs and less on long-term development. The review reflected a lack of research on sportspecific development of athletes with a disability, which raises concerns regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of current training practices.

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Christopher Thomas, Thomas Dos’Santos, Paul A. Jones and Paul Comfort

Purpose:

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the reliability of the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15IFT) in semiprofessional soccer players.

Methods:

Fourteen male semiprofessional soccer players performed the 30-15IFT on 2 occasions separated by 7 d. Reliability was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), typical error of measurement expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV), and smallest worthwhile change (SWC) to determine any significant difference between testing sessions.

Results:

Maximal intermittent running velocity (VIFT) demonstrated good reliability (ICC = .80) for between-sessions reliability. The CV was 2.5% for between-sessions reliability of the 30-15IFT. As the SWC (0.70 km/h) falls within the range in which the individual’s true score is likely to lie (1.0 km/h), the usefulness of the VIFT was rated as marginal. Despite the usefulness of the 30-15IFT being deemed marginal, a change in performance as small as 1.0 km/h (2 stages) in VIFT could be considered substantial or real.

Conclusion:

This study demonstrates that VIFT in the 30-15IFT is reliable, resulting in a reliable assessment of team-sport-specific cardiorespiratory fitness, with changes as small as 1.0 km/h (2 stages) in VIFT considered meaningful.