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Martin Buchheit, Yannick Cholley and Philippe Lambert

Purpose:

To examine in elite soccer players after traveling across 6 time zones some psychometric and physiological responses to a competitive camp in the heat.

Methods:

Data from 12 elite professional players (24.6 ± 5.3 y) were analyzed. They participated in an 8-d preseason summer training camp in Asia (heat index 34.9°C ± 2.4°C). Players’ activity was collected during all training sessions and the friendly game using 15-Hz GPS. Perceived training/playing load was estimated using session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and training/match duration. Psychometric measures of wellness were collected on awakening before, during, and after the camp using simple questionnaires. Heart-rate (HR) response to a submaximal 4-min run (12 km/h) and the ratio between velocity and force-load (accelerometer-derived measure, a marker of neuromuscular efficiency) response to four ~60-m runs (22–24 km/h) were collected before, at the end of, and after the camp.

Results:

After a large increase, the RPE:m/min ratio decreased substantially throughout the camp. There were possible small increases in perceived fatigue and small decreases in subjective sleep quality on the 6th day. There were also likely moderate (~3%) decreases in HR response to the submaximal run, both at the end of and after the camp, which were contemporary to possible small (~8%) and most likely moderate (~19%) improvements in neuromuscular efficiency, respectively.

Conclusions:

Despite transient increases in fatigue and reduced subjective sleep quality by the end of the camp, these elite players showed clear signs of heat acclimatization that were associated with improved cardiovascular fitness and neuromuscular running efficiency.

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Richard Akenhead and George P. Nassis

Training load (TL) is monitored with the aim of making evidence-based decisions on appropriate loading schemes to reduce injuries and enhance team performance. However, little is known in detail about the variables of load and methods of analysis used in high-level football. Therefore, the aim of this study was to provide information on the practices and practitioners’ perceptions of monitoring in professional clubs. Eighty-two high-level football clubs from Europe, the United States, and Australia were invited to answer questions relating to how TL is quantified, how players’ responses are monitored, and their perceptions of the effectiveness of monitoring. Forty-one responses were received. All teams used GPS and heart-rate monitors during all training sessions, and 28 used rating of perceived exertion. The top-5-ranking TL variables were acceleration (various thresholds), total distance, distance covered above 5.5 m/s, estimated metabolic power, and heart-rate exertion. Players’ responses to training are monitored using questionnaires (68% of clubs) and submaximal exercise protocols (41%). Differences in expected vs actual effectiveness of monitoring were 23% and 20% for injury prevention and performance enhancement, respectively (P < .001 d = 1.0−1.4). Of the perceived barriers to effectiveness, limited human resources scored highest, followed by coach buy-in. The discrepancy between expected and actual effectiveness appears to be due to suboptimal integration with coaches, insufficient human resources, and concerns over the reliability of assessment tools. Future approaches should critically evaluate the usefulness of current monitoring tools and explore methods of reducing the identified barriers to effectiveness.

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Jason D. Vescovi and Devon H. Frayne

Purpose:

To examine locomotor demands and metabolic-power characteristics of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) field hockey matches.

Methods:

Using a cross-sectional design, global positioning system (GPS) technology tracked Division I field hockey players from 6 teams during 1 regular-season match (68 player observations). An ANOVA compared locomotor demands and metabolic-power characteristics among positions. Paired t tests compared dependent variables between halves.

Results:

Defenders played 5−6 min more than midfielders, whereas midfielders played 6−7 min more than forwards. Defenders covered less relative distance (98 m/min) than forwards and midfielders (110−111 m/min), as well as more low-intensity running than forwards and less high-intensity running than midfielders. Lower mean metabolic power (9.3 W/kg) was observed for defenders than forwards and midfielders (10.4 W/kg). There was no difference in playing time between halves; however, all 3 positions had a reduction in relative distance (7−9%) and mean metabolic power (8−9%) during the second half.

Conclusions:

Despite more playing time, defenders covered less relative distance and had lower mean metabolic power than other positions. Moderate-intensity, high-intensity, and sprint distance were similar between positions, highlighting the greater relative demands on forwards because they tended to have the least amount of playing time. The reduction of key metrics during the second half was similar among positions and warrants further investigation. These initial results can be used to design position-specific drills or create small-sided games that replicate match demands for NCAA athletes, thus helping establish strategies for developing physiological ability of players at this level.

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Dean Ritchie, Will G. Hopkins, Martin Buchheit, Justin Cordy and Jonathan D. Bartlett

Context:

Training volume, intensity, and distribution are important factors during periods of return to play.

Purpose:

To quantify the effect of injury on training load (TL) before and after return to play (RTP) in professional Australian Rules football.

Methods:

Perceived training load (RPE-TL) for 44 players was obtained for all indoor and outdoor training sessions, while field-based training was monitored via GPS (total distance, high-speed running, mean speed). When a player sustained a competition time-loss injury, weekly TL was quantified for 3 wk before and after RTP. General linear mixed models, with inference about magnitudes standardized by between-players SDs, were used to quantify effects of lower- and upper-body injury on TL compared with the team.

Results:

While total RPE-TL was similar to the team 2 wk before RTP, training distribution was different, whereby skills RPE-TL was likely and most likely lower for upper- and lower-body injury, respectively, and most likely replaced with small to very large increases in running and other conditioning load. Weekly total distance and high-speed running were most likely moderately to largely reduced for lower- and upper-body injury until after RTP, at which point total RPE-TL, training distribution, total distance, and high-speed running were similar to the team. Mean speed of field-based training was similar before and after RTP compared with the team.

Conclusions:

Despite injured athletes’ obtaining comparable TLs to uninjured players, training distribution is different until after RTP, indicating the importance of monitoring all types of training that athletes complete.

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Avish P. Sharma, Philo U. Saunders, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Brad Clark, Jamie Stanley, Eileen Y. Robertson and Kevin G. Thompson

Purpose:

To determine the effect of training at 2100-m natural altitude on running speed (RS) during training sessions over a range of intensities relevant to middle-distance running performance.

Methods:

In an observational study, 19 elite middle-distance runners (mean ± SD age 25 ± 5 y, VO2max, 71 ± 5 mL · kg–1 · min–1) completed either 4–6 wk of sea-level training (CON, n = 7) or a 4- to 5-wk natural altitude-training camp living at 2100 m and training at 1400–2700 m (ALT, n = 12) after a period of sea-level training. Each training session was recorded on a GPS watch, and athletes also provided a score for session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE). Training sessions were grouped according to duration and intensity. RS (km/h) and sRPE from matched training sessions completed at sea level and 2100 m were compared within ALT, with sessions completed at sea level in CON describing normal variation.

Results:

In ALT, RS was reduced at altitude compared with sea level, with the greatest decrements observed during threshold- and VO2max-intensity sessions (5.8% and 3.6%, respectively). Velocity of low-intensity and race-pace sessions completed at a lower altitude (1400 m) and/or with additional recovery was maintained in ALT, though at a significantly greater sRPE (P = .04 and .05, respectively). There was no change in velocity or sRPE at any intensity in CON.

Conclusion:

RS in elite middle-distance athletes is adversely affected at 2100-m natural altitude, with levels of impairment dependent on the intensity of training. Maintenance of RS at certain intensities while training at altitude can result in a higher perceived exertion.

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Blake D. McLean, Cloe Cummins, Greta Conlan, Grant Duthie and Aaron J. Coutts

Global positioning systems (GPS) that are embedded in microtechnology devices have previously been shown to be reliable for measuring the activity profiles of field-based team-sport athletes. 1 In addition to GPS data, these microtechnology devices contain accelerometers that provide information

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Eduardo A. Abade, Bruno V. Gonçalves, Nuno M. Leite and Jaime E. Sampaio

Purpose:

To provide the time–motion and physiological profile of regular training sessions (TS) performed during the competitive season by under-15 (U15), under-17 (U17), and under-19 (U19) elite-level Portuguese soccer players.

Methods:

One hundred fifty-one elite players of U15 (age 14.0 ± 0.2 y, n = 56), U17 (age 15.8 ± 0.4 y, n = 66), and U19 (age 17.8 ± 0.6 y, n = 29) participated in the study during a 9-wk period. Time–motion and body-impact data were collected using GPS technology (15 Hz) across 38 randomly selected TS that resulted in a total of 612 samples. In addition, heart rate (HR) was continuously monitored (1 Hz) in the selected TS.

Results:

The total distances covered (m) were higher in U17 (4648.3 ± 831.9), followed by U19 (4212.5 ± 935.4) and U15 (3964.5 ± 725.4) players (F = 45.84, P < .001). Total body impacts and relative impacts were lower in U15 (total: 490.8 ± 309.5, F = 7.3, P < .01), but no differences were identified between U17 (total: 584.0 ± 363.5) and U19 (total: 613.1 ± 329.4). U19 players had less high- and very-high-intensity activity (above 16 km/h; F = 11.8, P < .001) and moderate-intensity activity (10.0–15.9 km/h; F = 15.07, P < .001). HR values showed significant effects of zone (F = 575.7, P < .001) and interaction with age group (F = 9.7, P < .001), with pairwise differences between all zones (zone 1, <75%; zone 2, 75–84.9%; zone 3, 85–89.9%; zone 4, ≥90%). All players spent most of their time below 75% HRmax (U15, ~50%; U17, ~42%; U19, ~50%).

Conclusion:

Results showed high variability between TS, refraining from identifying meaningful trends when measuring performance, although different demands were identified according to age group. The U15 TS were less physiologically demanding, probably because of increased focus on small-sided games to develop basic tactical principles and technical skills. The focus on game-like situations imposed higher external and internal workloads on U17 and U19 players.

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Catherine Mason and Matt Greig

segmental forces, 8 but these methods offer limited ecological validity. Contemporary means of quantifying lumbar spine loading is provided by applications in global positioning system (GPS) technology, which enable measurement in the clinical or sporting context. Typical GPS analysis metrics include

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Matt Greig and Benjamin Child

potential for wearable microtechnology devices as a means of prescribing and monitoring bowling workload. The microtechnology described typically refers to a triaxial accelerometer embedded within a global positioning satellite (GPS) unit. This unit is typically worn in a customized vest that positions the

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Adam Jones, Chris Brogden, Richard Page, Ben Langley and Matt Greig

causal effect in the field given the complexity of lower-extremity injury mechanics and the relative lack of ecological validity in laboratory trials. Contemporary developments in the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) integrated within global positioning system (GPS) technology provide an in vivo