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Gal Ziv and Ronnie Lidor

The soccer goalkeeper (GK) is required to perform strenuous actions during practice sessions and actual games. One of the objectives of those professionals who work with GKs is to obtain relevant information on physical characteristics and physiological attributes of GKs, and to use it effectively when planning training programs for them. This article has three purposes: (a) to review a series of studies (n = 23) on physical characteristics, physiological attributes, and on-field performances of soccer GKs; (b) to outline a number of methodological limitations and research concerns associated with these studies; and (c) to suggest several practical recommendations for soccer coaches who work with GKs. Four main fndings emerged from our review: (a) professional adult GKs usually are over 180 cm tall and have a body mass of over 77 kg; (b) studies on agility and speed produced mixed results, with some showing similar values between GKs and field players and others showing reduced performance in GKs; (c) GKs usually have higher vertical jump values when compared with players playing the various field positions; (d) GKs cover approximately 5.5 km during a game, mostly by walking and jogging. Four methodological limitations and research concerns associated with the reviewed studies were discussed, among them the lack of a longitudinal approach and the lack of on-field performance studies. Three practical recommendations are made for coaches, one of which is that coaches should adopt a careful approach when selecting testing protocols and devices for the assessment of GKs’ physiological attributes.

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Khalid S. Almuzaini

The main purpose of the present study was to determine isokinetic strength and endurance, isometric strength, and anaerobic power for untrained healthy Saudi children and adolescents. The secondary purpose was to evaluate the effects of age in relation to anthropometric characteristics on strength and anaerobic performances. Forty-four (untrained) 11- to 19-year-old boys were grouped by age: 11-13 years, 14–16 years, and 17–19 years. All participants underwent anthropometric measurements, a flexibility test, a vertical jump test, a grip strength test, isokinetic strength measurements (Cybex Norm), and a Wingate anaerobic power test. Oneway ANOVA results indicated age-related increases in muscle strength and power. High correlation coefficients that were found among age and strength and anaerobic power indices almost disappeared when fat-free mass (FFM) was controlled for, indicating that the amount of variance in these indices that was explained by age is mostly shared by FFM. In addition, stepwise linear regression models indicated that FFM was the main predictor of strength and power performances. Thus, FFM was the best scaling variable for body size when comparing these age groups of Saudis. Until wide-range normal representative values for isokinetic strength and anaerobic power for Saudi children and adolescents are available, the present study’s results can serve as a reference for these indices.

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Avery D. Faigenbaum, Leonard D. Zaichkowsky, Wayne L. Westcott, Lyle J. Micheli and Allan F. Fehlandt

The effectiveness of a twice-a-week strength training program on children was evaluated in 14 boys and girls (mean age 10.8 yrs) who participated in a biweekly training program for 8 weeks. Each subject performed three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on five exercises with intensities ranging between 50 and 100% of a given 10-repetition maximum (RM). All subjects were pre- and posttested on the following measures: 10-RM strength, sit and reach flexibility, vertical jump, seated ball put, resting blood pressure, and body composition parameters. The subjects were compared to a similar group of boys and girls (n = 9; mean age 9.9 yrs) who were randomly selected to serve as controls. Following the training period, the experimental group made greater gains in strength (74.3%) as compared to the control group (13.0%) (p < 0.001), and differences in the sum of seven skinfolds were noted (−2.3% vs. +1.7%, respectively, p < 0.05). Training did not significantly affect other variables. These results suggest that participation in a short-term, twice-a-week strength training program can increase the strength and improve the body composition of young boys and girls.

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Patrick B. Wilson, John S. Fitzgerald, Gregory S. Rhodes, Chris J. Lundstrom and Stacy J. Ingraham

Context:

Analgesics are commonly used by individuals undertaking endurance training; unfortunately, many commonly-used analgesics cause significant adverse effects. Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) has been used effectively as an analgesic in several contexts, but to date, no research is available to evaluate ginger root’s effects in the context of endurance training.

Objective:

Determine whether ginger root supplementation reduces muscle soreness and prevents impairments in muscle function following a long-distance training run.

Design:

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting:

University marathon training course.

Participants:

Twenty college students (n = 8 for ginger root group and n = 12 for placebo group).

Intervention:

Supplementation with 2.2 g·day–1 of ginger root or placebo for three days before, the day of, and the day after a 20–22 mile training run.

Main Outcome Measures:

Four days before and 24-hr postrun, participants rated soreness on a 100-mm visual analog scale, while vertical jump (VJ), peak force, and average rate of force development (RFD) were assessed during a squat jump. Quade’s rank analysis of covariance was used to assess between-group differences.

Results:

Median (range) soreness during jogging at 24-hr postrun was lower with ginger root supplementation (37 mm, 15–58) compared with placebo (62 mm, 6–85) (F = 4.6, p = .04). No significant differences for VJ, peak force, and RFD were found between groups.

Conclusions:

Ginger root may modestly reduce muscle soreness stemming from long-distance running, although it may have little to no effect on measures of muscle function during a VJ. Future studies should explore the mechanisms responsible for reductions in running-induced muscle soreness, as well as evaluate the benefit-to-risk profile of ginger root in the context of endurance training.

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Geoff Minett, Rob Duffield and Stephen P. Bird

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of an acute multinutrient supplement on game-based running performance, peak power output, anaerobic by-products, hormonal profiles, markers of muscle damage, and perceived muscular soreness before, immediately after, and 24 h following competitive rugby union games.

Methods:

Twelve male rugby union players ingested either a comprehensive multinutrient supplement (SUPP), [RE-ACTIVATE:01], or a placebo (PL) for 5 d. Participants then performed a competitive rugby union game (with global positioning system tracking), with associated blood draws and vertical jump assessments pre, immediately post and 24 h following competition.

Results:

SUPP ingestion resulted in moderate to large effects for augmented 1st half very high intensity running (VHIR) mean speed (5.9 ± 0.4 vs 4.8 ± 2.3 m·min−1; d = 0.93). Further, moderate increases in 2nd half VHIR distance (137 ± 119 vs 83 ± 89 m; d = 0.73) and VHIR mean speed (5.9 ± 0.6 v 5.3 ± 1.7 m·min−1; d = 0.56) in SUPP condition were also apparent. Postgame aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 44.1 ± 11.8 vs 37.0 ± 3.2 UL; d = 1.16) and creatine kinase (CK; 882 ± 472 vs. 645 ± 123 UL; d = 0.97) measures demonstrated increased values in the SUPP condition, while AST and CK values correlated with 2nd half VHIR distance (r = −0.71 and r = −0.76 respectively). Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) was observed postgame in both conditions; however, it was significantly blunted with SUPP (P = .05).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest SUPP may assist in the maintenance of VHIR during rugby union games, possibly via the buffering qualities of SUPP ingredients. However, correlations between increased work completed at very high intensities and muscular degradation in SUPP conditions, may mask any anticatabolic properties of the supplement.

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Chris J. Hass, Elizabeth A. Schick, John W. Chow, Mark D. Tillman, Denis Brunt and James H. Cauraugh

Epidemiological evidence suggests the incidence of injury in female athletes is greater after the onset of puberty and that landing from a jump is a common mechanism of knee injury. This investigation compared lower extremity joint kinematics and joint resultant forces and moments during three types of stride jump (stride jump followed by a static landing; a ballistic vertical jump; and a ballistic lateral jump) between pre- and postpubescent recreational athletes to provide some insight into the increased incidence of injury. Sixteen recreationally active postpubescent women (ages 18–25 years) and 16 recreationally active prepubescent girls (ages 8–11 years) participated in this study. High speed 3D videography and force plate data were used to record each jumper’s performance of the stride jumps, and an inverse dynamic procedure was used to estimate lower extremity joint resultant forces and moments and power. These dependent variables were submitted to a 2 × 3 (Maturation Level × Landing Sequence) MANOVA with repeated measures on the last factor. The findings indicated that postpubescents landed with the knee more extended (4.4°) and had greater extension moments (approximately 30% greater hip and knee extension moments) and powers (40% greater knee power). Further, the post-pubescent athletes had greater knee anterior/posterior forces as well as medio-lateral resultant forces. The differences found between the two groups suggest there may be anatomical and physiological changes with puberty that lead to differences in strength or neuromuscular control which influence the dynamic restraint system in these recreational athletes. A combination of these factors likely plays a role in the increased risk of injury in postpubescent females.

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Tai T. Tran, Lina Lundgren, Josh Secomb, Oliver R.L. Farley, G. Gregory Haff, Laurent B. Seitz, Robert U. Newton, Sophia Nimphius and Jeremy M. Sheppard

Purpose:

To determine whether a previously validated performance-testing protocol for competitive surfers is able to differentiate between Australian elite junior surfers selected (S) to the national team and those not selected (NS).

Methods:

Thirty-two elite male competitive junior surfers were divided into 2 groups (S = 16, NS = 16). Their age, height, body mass, sum of 7 skinfolds, and lean-body-mass ratio (mean ± SD) were 16.17 ± 1.26 y, 173.40 ± 5.30 cm, 62.35 ± 7.40 kg, 41.74 ± 10.82 mm, 1.54 ± 0.35 for the S athletes and 16.13 ± 1.02 y, 170.56 ± 6.6 cm, 61.46 ± 10.10 kg, 49.25 ± 13.04 mm, 1.31 ± 0.30 for the NS athletes. Power (countermovement jump [CMJ]), strength (isometric midthigh pull), 15-m sprint paddling, and 400-m endurance paddling were measured.

Results:

There were significant (P ≤ .05) differences between the S and NS athletes for relative vertical-jump peak force (P = .01, d = 0.9); CMJ height (P = .01, d = 0.9); time to 5-, 10-, and 15-m sprint paddle; sprint paddle peak velocity (P = .03, d = 0.8; PV); time to 400 m (P = .04, d = 0.7); and endurance paddling velocity (P = .05, d = 0.7).

Conclusions:

All performance variables, particularly CMJ height; time to 5-, 10-, and 15-m sprint paddle; sprint paddle PV; time to 400 m; and endurance paddling velocity, can effectively discriminate between S and NS competitive surfers, and this may be important for athlete profiling and training-program design.

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Adam S. Lepley, Allison M. Strouse, Hayley M. Ericksen, Kate R. Pfile, Phillip A. Gribble and Brian G. Pietrosimone

Context:

Components of gluteal neuromuscular function, such as strength and corticospinal excitability, could potentially influence alterations in lower extremity biomechanics during jump landing.

Objective:

To determine the relationship between gluteal muscle strength, gluteal corticospinal excitability, and jump-landing biomechanics in healthy women.

Setting:

University laboratory.

Design:

Descriptive laboratory study.

Participants:

37 healthy women (21.08 ± 2.15 y, 164.8 ± 5.9 cm, 65.4 ± 12.0 kg).

Interventions:

Bilateral gluteal strength was assessed through maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) using an isokinetic dynamometer. Strength was tested in the open chain in prone and side-lying positions for the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles, respectively. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to elicit measures of corticospinal excitability. Participants then performed 3 trials of jump landing from a 30-cm box to a distance of 50% of their height, with an immediate rebound to a maximal vertical jump. Each jump-landing trial was video recorded (2-D) and later scored for errors.

Main Outcome Measures:

MVICs normalized to body mass were used to assess strength in the gluteal muscles of the dominant and nondominant limbs. Corticospinal excitability was assessed by means of active motor threshold (AMT) and motor-evoked potentials (MEP) elicited at 120% of AMT. The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) was used to evaluate jump-landing biomechanics.

Results:

A moderate, positive correlation was found between dominant gluteus maximus MEP and LESS scores (r = .562, P = .029). No other significant correlations were observed for MVIC, AMT, or MEP for the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, regardless of limb.

Conclusions:

The findings suggest a moderate relationship between dominant gluteus maximus corticospinal excitability and a clinical measure of jump-landing biomechanics. Further research is required to substantiate the findings and expand our understanding of the central nervous system’s role in athletic movement.

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Deborah L. King and Barbara C. Belyea

Context: Landing kinematics have been identified as a risk factor for knee injury. Detecting atypical kinematics in clinical settings is important for identifying individuals at risk for these injuries. Objective: To determine the reliability of a handheld tablet and application (app) for measuring lower-extremity kinematics during drop vertical-jump landings. Design: Measurement reliability. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 23 healthy young adults with no lower-extremity injuries and no contraindications for jumping and landing. Intervention: Subjects performed 6 drop vertical jumps that were captured with an iPad2 and analyzed with a KinesioCapture app by 2 novice and 2 experienced raters. Three trials each were captured in the frontal and sagittal planes. Main Outcome Measures: Frontal-plane projection angles, knee flexion, and hip flexion at initial contact and maximum knee flexion were measured. ICC and SEM were calculated to determine intertrial and interrater reliability. One-way ANOVAs were used to examine differences between the measured angles of the raters. Results: Average intertrial reliability ranged from .71 to .98 for novice raters and .77 to .99 for experienced raters. SEMs were 2.3-4.3° for novice raters and 1.6-3.9° for experienced raters. Interrater ICC2,1 was .39-.98 for the novice raters and .69-.93 for the experienced raters. SEMs were smallest with the experienced raters, all less than 1.5°. Conclusion: A handheld tablet and app is promising for evaluating landing kinematics and identifying individuals at risk for knee injury in a clinical setting. Intertrial reliability is good to excellent when using average trial measures. Interrater reliability is fair to excellent depending on experience level. Multiple trials should be assessed by a single rater when assessing lower-extremity mechanics with a handheld tablet and app, and results may vary with experience level or training.

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Paul B. Gastin, Denny Meyer, Emy Huntsman and Jill Cook

Purpose:

To assess the relationships between player characteristics (including age, playing experience, ethnicity, and physical fitness) and in-season injury in elite Australian football.

Design:

Single-cohort, prospective, longitudinal study.

Methods:

Player characteristics (height, body mass, age, experience, ethnicity, playing position), preseason fitness (6-min run, 40-m sprint, 6 × 40-m sprint, vertical jump), and in-season injury data were collected over 4 seasons from 1 professional Australian football club. Data were analyzed for 69 players, for a total of 3879 player rounds and 174 seasons. Injury risk (odds ratio [OR]) and injury severity (matches missed; rate ratio [RR]) were assessed using a series of multilevel univariate and multivariate hierarchical linear models.

Results:

A total of 177 injuries were recorded with 494 matches missed (2.8 ± 3.3 matches/injury). The majority (87%) of injuries affected the lower body, with hamstring (20%) and groin/hip (14%) most prevalent. Nineteen players (28%) suffered recurrent injuries. Injury incidence was increased in players with low body mass (OR = 0.887, P = .005), with poor 6-min-run performance (OR = 0.994, P = .051), and playing as forwards (OR = 2.216, P = .036). Injury severity was increased in players with low body mass (RR = 0.892, P = .008), tall stature (RR = 1.131, P = .002), poor 6-min-run (RR = 0.990, P = .006), and slow 40-m-sprint (RR = 3.963, P = .082) performance.

Conclusions:

The potential to modify intrinsic risk factors is greatest in the preseason period, and improvements in aerobic-running fitness and increased body mass may protect against in-season injury in elite Australian football.