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Lucas A. Pereira, Andrew A. Flatt, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Irineu Loturco and Fabio Y. Nakamura

Purpose:

To compare the LnRMSSD and the LnRMSSD:RR values obtained during a 5-min stabilization period with the subsequent 5-min criterion period and to determine the time course for LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR stabilization at 1-min analysis in elite team-sport athletes.

Participants:

35 elite futsal players (23.9 ± 4.5 y, 174.2 ± 4.0 cm, 74.0 ± 7.5 kg, 1576.2 ± 396.3 m in the Yo-Yo test level 1).

Methods:

The RR-interval recordings were obtained using a portable heart-rate monitor continuously for 10 min in the seated position. The 2 dependent variables analyzed were LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR. To calculate the magnitude of the differences between time periods, effect-size (ES) analysis was conducted. To assess the levels of agreement, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and Bland-Altman plots were used.

Results:

The LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR values obtained during the stabilization period (0–5 min) presented very large to nearly perfect ICCs with the values obtained during the criterion period (5–10 min), with trivial ESs. In the ultra-short-term analysis (ie, 1-min segments) the data showed slightly less accurate results, but only trivial to small differences with very large to nearly perfect ICCs were found.

Conclusion:

LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR can be recorded in 5 min without traditional stabilization periods under resting conditions in team-sport athletes. The ultra-short-term analysis (1 min) also revealed acceptable levels of agreement with the criterion.

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Neil Gibson, James White, Mhari Neish and Andrew Murray

Purpose:

The study aimed to assess whether exposure to ischemic preconditioning (IPC) in a trained population would affect land-based maximal sprinting performance over 30 m.

Methods:

Twenty-five well-trained participants regularly involved in invasion-type team-sport events were recruited to take part in a randomized crossover study design. Participants underwent both an IPC and a placebo treatment involving 3 periods of 5-min occlusion applied unilaterally (3 × 5-min occlusion to each leg) at either 220 mmHg or 50 mmHg, respectively. Each period of occlusion was followed by 5 min of reperfusion. After treatment, 3 maximal sprints over a distance of 30 m were undertaken from a standing start interspersed with 1-min recovery. Split times were recorded at 10, 20, and 30 m.

Results:

No significant effects of the IPC treatment were observed on sprint speed (P < .05) at any of the split timings; however, a small and negative effect was observed in female participants. Calculated effect sizes of the treatment were found to be trivial (<0.2).

Conclusions:

Results from the current study suggest there to be no benefit to team-sport players in using IPC as a means of enhancing sprint performance over a distance of 30 m. While IPC has been shown to be beneficial to sprint activities in other sports such as swimming, further research is required to elucidate whether this is the case over distances associated with land-based events in track and field or in events reliant on repeated-sprint ability.

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Paul S.R. Goods, Brian T. Dawson, Grant J. Landers, Christopher J. Gore and Peter Peeling

Purpose:

This study aimed to assess the impact of 3 heights of simulated altitude exposure on repeat-sprint performance in teamsport athletes.

Methods:

Ten trained male team-sport athletes completed 3 sets of repeated sprints (9 × 4 s) on a nonmotorized treadmill at sea level and at simulated altitudes of 2000, 3000, and 4000 m. Participants completed 4 trials in a random order over 4 wk, with mean power output (MPO), peak power output (PPO), blood lactate concentration (Bla), and oxygen saturation (SaO2) recorded after each set.

Results:

Each increase in simulated altitude corresponded with a significant decrease in SaO2. Total work across all sets was highest at sea level and correspondingly lower at each successive altitude (P < .05; sea level < 2000 m < 3000 m < 4000 m). In the first set, MPO was reduced only at 4000 m, but for subsequent sets, decreases in MPO were observed at all altitudes (P < .05; 2000 m < 3000 m < 4000 m). PPO was maintained in all sets except for set 3 at 4000 m (P < .05; vs sea level and 2000 m). BLa levels were highest at 4000 m and significantly greater (P < .05) than at sea level after all sets.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that “higher may not be better,” as a simulated altitude of 4000 m may potentially blunt absolute training quality. Therefore, it is recommended that a moderate simulated altitude (2000–3000 m) be employed when implementing intermittent hypoxic repeat-sprint training for team-sport athletes.

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Robin T. Thorpe, Greg Atkinson, Barry Drust and Warren Gregson

The increase in competition demands in elite team sports over recent years has prompted much attention from researchers and practitioners to the monitoring of adaptation and fatigue in athletes. Monitoring fatigue and gaining an understanding of athlete status may also provide insights and beneficial information pertaining to player availability, injury, and illness risk. Traditional methods used to quantify recovery and fatigue in team sports, such as maximal physical-performance assessments, may not be feasible to detect variations in fatigue status throughout competitive periods. Faster, simpler, and nonexhaustive tests such as athlete self-report measures, autonomic nervous system response via heart-rate-derived indices, and to a lesser extent, jump protocols may serve as promising tools to quantify and establish fatigue status in elite team-sport athletes. The robust rationalization and precise detection of a meaningful fluctuation in these measures are of paramount importance for practitioners working alongside athletes and coaches on a daily basis. There are various methods for arriving at a minimal clinically important difference, but these have been rarely adopted by sport scientists and practitioners. The implementation of appropriate, reliable, and sensitive measures of fatigue can provide important information to key stakeholders in team-sport environments. Future research is required to investigate the sensitivity of these tools to fundamental indicators such as performance, injury, and illness.

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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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Katherine Elizabeth Black, Alistair David Black and Dane Frances Baker

 al., 2017 ). Rugby union became a professional sport in 1995, and since that time has become a faster more physically demanding sport due to law changes and different training regimes ( Austin et al., 2011 ; Quarrie & Hopkins, 2007 ). It is a team sport of intermittent high-intensity activities; rapid

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Hans H. Bauer, Nicola E. Stokburger-Sauer and Stefanie Exler

This study highlights the importance of brand image for fan loyalty in team sport. A parsimonious 4-factor, 20-indicator structure effectively represents brand image. In contrast to Keller’s proposed model, relationships between the brand image’s components were discovered. Thus, in line with means-end theory, a brand-image model should incorporate causalities among brand attributes, benefits, and attitudes. Fan loyalty is positively influenced by a fan’s brand attitude. Relationships among the brand-image dimensions and loyalty are confirmed via structural equation modeling. The non-product-related brand attributes (i.e., logo or tradition) have a particularly large impact on attitudes and behavior. They represent promising starting points for a successful and differentiating team brand strategy.

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Wade D. Gilbert and Pierre Trudel

Similar to a belief system, a role frame acts as a perceptual filter that influences how practitioners define their professional responsibilities (Schön, 1983). The purpose of this article is to present the role frame components of model youth team sport coaches. The results are based on a two-year multiple-case study with six coaches. On average, the coaches’ role frame comprised two boundary components and nine internal components. Boundary components are objective environmental conditions that can influence an individual’s approach to coaching. Internal role frame components are personal views a coach holds regarding youth sport coaching. A discussion of how role frames can be examined and used by researchers, coaches, and coach educators is provided.

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Mark J.G. Holland, Charlotte Woodcock, Jennifer Cumming and Joan L. Duda

Research on the psychological characteristics of elite performers has primarily focused on Olympic and World champions; however, the mental attributes of young developing and talented athletes have received less attention. Addressing this, the current study had two aims: (a) to examine the perceptions held by youth athletes regarding the mental qualities they need to facilitate their development and (b) to investigate the mental techniques used by these athletes. Forty-three male youth rugby players participated in a series of focus groups. Inductive content analysis revealed 11 categories of psychological qualities, including enjoyment, responsibility, adaptability, squad spirit, self-aware learner, determination, confidence, optimal performance state, game sense, attentional focus, and mental toughness. Techniques employed included personal performance strategies, refection on action, taking advantage of a supportive climate, and team-based strategies. Findings are discussed in relation to their implications for mental skills training program development and evaluation in the case of youth elite team sport athletes.

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Rich D. Johnston, Tim J. Gabbett and David G. Jenkins

Purpose:

To assess the influence of playing standard and physical fitness on pacing strategies during a junior team-sport tournament.

Methods:

A between-groups, repeated-measures design was used. Twenty-eight junior team-sport players (age 16.6 ± 0.5 y, body mass 79.9 ± 12.0 kg) from a high-standard and low-standard team participated in a junior rugby league tournament, competing in 5 games over 4 d (4 × 40-min and 1 × 50-min game). Players wore global positioning system (GPS) microtechnology during each game to provide information on match activity profiles. The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (level 1) was used to assess physical fitness before the competition.

Results:

High-standard players had an initially higher pacing strategy than the low-standard players, covering greater distances at high (ES = 1.32) and moderate speed (ES = 1.41) in game 1 and moderate speed (ES = 1.55) in game 2. However, low-standard players increased their playing intensity across the competition (ES = 0.57–2.04). High-standard/high-fitness players maintained a similar playing intensity, whereas high-standard/low-fitness players reduced their playing intensities across the competition.

Conclusions:

Well-developed physical fitness allows for a higher-intensity pacing strategy that can be maintained throughout a tournament. High-standard/low-fitness players reduce playing intensity, most likely due to increased levels of fatigue as the competition progresses. Low-standard players adopt a pacing strategy that allows them to conserve energy to produce an “end spurt” in the latter games. Maximizing endurance fitness across an entire playing group will maximize playing intensity and minimize performance reductions during the latter stages of a tournament.