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Adam Douglas, Michael A. Rotondi, Joseph Baker, Veronica K. Jamnik and Alison K. Macpherson

The sport of ice hockey is characterized by athletes repeatedly performing high-intensity, short-duration efforts while maintaining highly complex movements over the course of a 60-minute competition. For optimal performance, ice hockey athletes need to have well-rounded physical and physiological

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Benita J. Lalor, Shona L. Halson, Jacqueline Tran, Justin G. Kemp and Stuart J. Cormack

optimizing recovery in team-sport athletes. Although the exact role of sleep in the recovery in team-sport athletes has been questioned, 2 developing an understanding of both habitual and competition sleep characteristics of AF players may influence recovery practices. Shift-work patterns typified by

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Mário A.M. Simim, Marco Túlio de Mello, Bruno V.C. Silva, Dayane F. Rodrigues, João Paulo P. Rosa, Bruno Pena Couto and Andressa da Silva

). During competitions, performance is directly related to the mechanical aspects of the chair (mass, mass distribution, wheel features/tires, and alignment), chair maintenance, chair–user interface, and athlete characteristics ( Goosey-Tolfrey, 2010 ; Laferrier et al., 2012 ; Paulson & Goosey

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Elaine Tor, David L. Pease, Kevin A. Ball and Will G. Hopkins

Time trials are commonly used in the lead-up to competition. A method that evaluates the relationship between time trial and competition performance in swimming would be useful for developing performance-enhancement strategies.

Purpose:

To use linear mixed modeling to identify key parameters that can be used to relate time-trial and competition performance.

Methods:

Ten swimmers participated in the study. Each swimmer was analyzed during 3 time trials and 1 competition. Race video footage was analyzed to determine several key parameters. Pooling of strokes and distances was achieved by modeling changes in parameters between time trials and competition within each subject as linear predictors of percent change in performance using mixed modeling of log-transformed race times.

Results:

When parameters were evaluated as the effect of 2 SD on performance time, there were very large effects of start time (2.6%, 90% confidence interval 1.8–3.3%) and average velocity (–2.3%, –2.8% to –1.8%). There was also a small effect for stroke rate (–0.6%, –1.3% to 0.2%). Further analysis revealed an improvement in performance time of 2.4% between time trials and competition, of which 1.8% (large; 1.4–2.1%) was due to a change in average velocity and 0.9% (moderate; 0.6–1.1%) was due to a change in start time; changes in remaining parameters had trivial effects on performance.

Conclusion:

This study illustrates effective analytical strategies for identifying key parameters that can be the focus of training to improve performance in small squads of elite swimmers and other athletes.

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Nick B. Murray, Georgia M. Black, Rod J. Whiteley, Peter Gahan, Michael H. Cole, Andy Utting and Tim J. Gabbett

Purpose:

Throwing loads are known to be closely related to injury risk. However, for logistic reasons, typically only pitchers have their throws counted, and then only during innings. Accordingly, all other throws made are not counted, so estimates of throws made by players may be inaccurately recorded and underreported. A potential solution to this is the use of wearable microtechnology to automatically detect, quantify, and report pitch counts in baseball. This study investigated the accuracy of detection of baseball pitching and throwing in both practice and competition using a commercially available wearable microtechnology unit.

Methods:

Seventeen elite youth baseball players (mean ± SD age 16.5 ± 0.8 y, height 184.1 ± 5.5 cm, mass 78.3 ± 7.7 kg) participated in this study. Participants performed pitching, fielding, and throwing during practice and competition while wearing a microtechnology unit. Sensitivity and specificity of a pitching and throwing algorithm were determined by comparing automatic measures (ie, microtechnology unit) with direct measures (ie, manually recorded pitching counts).

Results:

The pitching and throwing algorithm was sensitive during both practice (100%) and competition (100%). Specificity was poorer during both practice (79.8%) and competition (74.4%).

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate that the microtechnology unit is sensitive to detect pitching and throwing events, but further development of the pitching algorithm is required to accurately and consistently quantify throwing loads using microtechnology.

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William B. Haug, Eric J. Drinkwater, Lachlan J. Mitchell and Dale W. Chapman

Initial short-track speed-skating 14-m start performance has substantial influence on 500-m race outcome at the international level, yet the relationship has not been systematically quantified. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship between rank position entering first corner (RPEFC) and race outcome and to understand how this relationship changes with competition round and absolute race intensity. Data were compiled from 2011–2014 World Cup seasons and 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Association between RPEFC and race outcome was determined through Kendall tau-rank correlations. A visual comparison was made of how the relationship changes with relative competition level (race tau correlations were sorted by competition round) and with race intensity (race tau correlations were sorted by within-event winning time). A very large relationship between RPEFC and race outcome was observed (correlations for cohort, τ = .60; men, τ = .53; women, τ = .67). When examined by competition round (quarter- to A-finals), no substantial change in relationship was observed (men, τ = .57–.46; women, τ = .73–.53). However, when the start–performance relationship was considered by within-event winning time, the relationship strength increased with decreasing time (men, τ = .61 to .46; women, τ = .76 to .57; fastest to 7th- and 8th-fastest combined, respectively). These results establish and quantify RPEFC as an important aspect of elite short-track 500-m race outcome. RPEFC as an indicator of race outcome becomes increasingly important with absolute race intensity, suggesting that RPEFC capability is a discriminating factor for competitors of similar top speed and speed endurance.

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Sarah J. Burkhart and Fiona E. Pelly

The aim of this study was to investigate whether athletes’ opinion of food provision in the main dining hall of the athletes’ village at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games varied according to cultural background, sport, stage of competition, and previous experience at similar events. A previously developed questionnaire was distributed over 3 meal periods to 351 athletes dining in the main dining hall during the course of the games (Sept. 23 to Oct. 4, 2010). Despite the challenges of food provision in a non-Western region, the availability of food and beverage items was rated highly. However, athletes from Western regions tended to rate food provision qualities lower than athletes from non-Western regions. Most athletes found it easy to find items to meet their nutrition needs; however, requests for sports foods, snacks, and culturally specific items were received. Power/sprint athletes were more critical of the food provision, whereas athletes from aesthetic sports tended to rate it more highly. Athletes farther from competition gave higher ratings for taste, while athletes who had more experience in this type of environment also tended to be more critical of the food provision. Overall daily mean opinion scores for taste and menu variety decreased over the games period. The results of this study can help organizers and caterers ensure that appropriate food and beverage are provided for athletes at major competition events.

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Peter Gröpel, Christopher Mesagno and Jürgen Beckmann

Performing successfully in competitions requires skills, practice, and dedication ( Afremow, 2015 ). Even highly motivated athletes with outstanding skills, however, may fail if they become distracted or anxious under competitive pressure, especially when competing in precision tasks ( Nideffer

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Douglas J. Casa, Samuel N. Cheuvront, Stuart D. Galloway and Susan M. Shirreffs

Seasonal environmental changes can create unique challenges for year-long training among track-and-field athletes. However, the competitive track-and-field season is held in the summer months of the northern hemisphere and major international track-and-field competitions, such as the World

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Christopher M. Gaviglio, Blair T. Crewther, Liam P. Kilduff, Keith A. Stokes and Christian J. Cook

Purpose:

To assess the measures of salivary free testosterone and cortisol concentrations across selected rugby union matches according to game outcome.

Methods:

Twenty-two professional male rugby union players were studied across 6 games (3 wins and 3 losses). Hormone samples were taken 40 min before the game and 15 min after. The hormonal data were grouped and compared against competition outcomes. These competition outcomes included wins and losses and a game-ranked performance score (1–6).

Results:

Across the entire team, pregame testosterone concentrations were significantly higher during winning games than losses (P = 5.8 × 10−5). Analysis by playing position further revealed that, for the backs, pregame testosterone concentrations (P = 3.6 × 10−5) and the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio T:C (P = .038) were significantly greater before a win than a loss. Game-ranked performance score correlated to the team’s pregame testosterone concentrations (r = .81, P = .049). In backs, pregame testosterone (r = .91, P = .011) and T:C (r = .81, P = .05) also correlated to game-ranked performance. Analysis of the forwards’ hormone concentrations did not distinguish between game outcomes, nor did it correlate with game-ranked performance. Game venue (home vs away) only affected postgame concentrations of testosterone (P = .018) and cortisol (P = 2.58 × 10−4).

Conclusions:

Monitoring game-day concentrations of salivary free testosterone may help identify competitive readiness in rugby union matches. The link between pregame T:C and rugby players in the back position suggests that monitoring weekly training loads and enhancing recovery modalities between games may also assist with favorable performance and outcome in rugby union matches.