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Matt Spencer, Thomas Losnegard, Jostein Hallén and Will G. Hopkins

Analyses of elite competitive performance provide useful information for research and practical applications.

Purpose:

Here the authors analyze performance times of cross-country skiers at international competitions (World Cup, World Championship, and Olympics) in classical and free styles of women’s and men’s distance and sprint events, each with a total of 410–569 athletes competing in 1–44 races at 15–25 venues from seasons 2002 to 2011.

Methods:

A linear mixed model of race times for each event provided estimates of within-athlete race-to-race variability expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV) after adjustment for fixed or random effects of snow conditions, altitude, race length, and competition terrain.

Results:

Within-athlete variability was similar for men and women over various events for all athletes (CV of 1.5–1.8%) and for the annual top-10 athletes (1.1–1.4%). Observed effects of snow conditions and altitude on mean time were substantial (~2%) but mostly unclear, owing to large effects of terrain (CV of 4–10% in top-10 analyses). Predictability of performance was extremely high for all athletes (intraclass correlations of .90–.96) but only trivial to poor for top-10 athletes (men .00–.03, women .03–.35).

Conclusion:

The race-to-race variability of top-ranked skiers is similar to that of other elite endurance athletes. Estimates of the smallest worthwhile performance enhancement (0.3× within-athlete variability) will help researchers and practitioners evaluate strategies affecting performance of elite skiers.

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Bruce H. Miles

Competitive opportunities for handicapped or disabled athletes are burgeoning. Different populations have different capabilities. Moderately (MO-MR) and mildly mentally retarded (MI-MR) athletes have unique abilities, and many physical educators, teachers, and volunteers spend countless hours preparing individuals and teams for tournaments and competitions. Two models are presented to assist in assessing MO-MR and MI-MR athletes’ abilities and levels of social functioning. Additionally a hierarchy of motor performance environments is presented. Discussion entails proper placement of athletes in a motor performance environment after ability and social functioning assessments have been completed.

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Diane L. Gill, M. Karen Ruder and John B. Gross

A total of 352 open-ended attributions were obtained in two field studies with volleyball teams and in two lab experiments, all involving team competition. All attributions were classified along the three causal dimensions of locus of causality, stability, and controllability. Attributions were also classified as referring to the self, to teammates, to the team as a whole, or to other factors and sorted into specific categories. A loglinear analysis revealed that attributions were predominantly internal, unstable, and controllable. A significant win/loss effect reflected the tendency for members of winning teams to use controllable, and particularly unstable, controllable, attributions more than members of losing teams. Overwhelmingly, attributions referred to the team as a whole rather than to individuals or other factors, and teamwork was an especially popular causal explanation. The findings suggest that research on attributions in team competition should focus on causal dimensions rather than the four traditional attributions of effort, ability, luck, and task difficulty, and that further attention should be given to team-referent causal explanations.

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Sebastian Harenberg, Harold A. Riemer, Erwin Karreman and Kim D. Dorsch

Competition is a common phenomenon and occurs frequently in sports. In high performance sports, competition takes place not only between teams (interteam competition) but also within a team (intrateam competition). In the intrateam competition, coaches might play a central role because of their power to structure competition within their teams. Yet, there is a lack of research exploring how coaches facilitate this type of competition. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to explore how university-level team sport coaches’ experience, structure and use intrateam competition. Eight full-time Canadian Interuniversity Sports head coaches participated in semistructured interviews. The participants indicated that intrateam competition involves two distinct types of competition: situational and positional competition. While situational competition occurs primarily in practices, positional competition is an ongoing, continual process in which athletes who occupy the same position compete for playing time. The coaches shared important considerations about how to carefully structure and use both types of competition constructively. The study is an original account of intrateam competition as a multifaceted, constructive process within high performance sport teams.

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Andrew P. Hill, Joachim Stoeber, Anna Brown and Paul R. Appleton

Perfectionism is a personality characteristic that has been found to predict sports performance in athletes. To date, however, research has exclusively examined this relationship at an individual level (i.e., athletes’ perfectionism predicting their personal performance). The current study extends this research to team sports by examining whether, when manifested at the team level, perfectionism predicts team performance. A sample of 231 competitive rowers from 36 boats completed measures of self-oriented, team-oriented, and team-prescribed perfectionism before competing against one another in a 4-day rowing competition. Strong within-boat similarities in the levels of team members’ team-oriented perfectionism supported the existence of collective team-oriented perfectionism at the boat level. Two-level latent growth curve modeling of day-by-day boat performance showed that team-oriented perfectionism positively predicted the position of the boat in midcompetition and the linear improvement in position. The findings suggest that imposing perfectionistic standards on team members may drive teams to greater levels of performance.

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Trent Stellingwerff

Anecdotal claims have suggested that an increasing number of ultramarathoners purposely undertake chronic low-carbohydrate (CHO) ketogenic diets while training, and race with very low CHO intakes, as a way to maximize fat oxidation and improve performance. However, very little empirical evidence exists on specific fueling strategies that elite ultramarathoners undertake to maximize race performance. The study’s purpose was to characterize race nutrition habits of elite ultramarathon runners. Three veteran male ultrarunners (M ± SD; age 35 ± 2 years; mass 59.5 ± 1.7 kg; 16.7 ± 2.5 hr 100-mi. best times) agreed to complete a competition-specific nutrition intake questionnaire for 100-mi. races. Verbal and visual instructions were used to instruct the athletes on portion sizes and confirm dietary intake. Throughout 2014, the athletes competed in 16 ultramarathons with a total of 8 wins, including the prestigious Western States Endurance Run 100-miler (14.9 hr). The average prerace breakfast contained 70 ± 16 g CHO, 29 ± 20 g protein, and 21 ± 8 g fat. Athletes consumed an average of 1,162 ± 250 g of CHO (71 ± 20g/hr), with minor fat and protein intakes, resulting in caloric intakes totaling 5,530 ± 1,673 kcals (333 ± 105 kcals/hr) with 93% of calories coming from commercial products. Athletes also reported consuming 912 ± 322 mg of caffeine and 6.9 ± 2.4 g of sodium. Despite having limited professional nutritional input into their fueling approaches, all athletes practiced fueling strategies that maximize CHO intake and are congruent with contemporary evidence-based recommendations.

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David Light Shields and Brenda Light Bredemeier

Most coaches assume that athletes already know what “competition” means and how to engage in it. We propose, in contrast, that competition is often misunderstood and that coaches need to intentionally teach about it, and help their athletes come to appreciate its purpose and values. Social scientists, too, have often misunderstood competition and, as a result, have frequently concluded that it leads to such negative outcomes as hostility, prejudice and aggression. To clarify the meaning of competition, it is helpful to distinguish it from a related process that can also occur within a contest. In keeping with the word’s etymology, we define competition as: a form of partnership with an opponent that enacts an enjoyable quest for excellence.In contrast, when participants view the contest not as a partnership for excellence, but as a miniature battle or war, contesting should be designated de-competition. De-competition is a separate, distinguishable process with its own dynamics. The distinction between competition and de-competition has significant and far-reaching practical implications, since the two processes tap different motives, focus on different goals, foster a different type of relationship with opponents, lead to different approaches to rules and officials, stimulates different types of emotions, and promote different ideas about what an ideal contest entails. When coaches deliberately teach and foster true competition, competition can be reclaimed for excellence, ethics, and enjoyment.

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Louise M. Burke, John A. Hawley, Asker Jeukendrup, James P. Morton, Trent Stellingwerff and Ronald J. Maughan

update refined the concept of the different and changing CHO requirements between and within athletes by explicitly stating that: (a) high CHO availability is required only for sessions in which training or competition involves higher intensity workloads and the need to perform optimally or train with

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Emerson Franchini, Monica Y. Takito, Rodrigo M. da Silva, Seihati A. Shiroma, Lance Wicks and Ursula F. Julio

Purpose:

To determine the optimal interval between competitions for success in the different events of the judo world tour.

Methods:

A total of 20,916 female and 29,900 male competition participations in the judo world-tour competitions held between January 2009 and December 2015 were analyzed, considering the dependent variable, winning a medal, and the independent variables, levels of competition.

Results:

There was an increased probability of winning a medal when the interval was in the 10- to 13-wk range for both male and female athletes competing at Grand Prix, Continental-Championship, and World-Championship events, whereas for Grand Slam, only men had an increased probability of winning a medal in this interval range. Furthermore, men had increased probability of podium positions in Continental Championship, World Master, and Olympic Games when the interval was longer than 14 wk.

Conclusion:

Optimal interval period between successive competitions varies according to competition level and sex; shorter intervals (6–9 wk) were better for female athletes competing at the lowest competition level (Continental Open), but for most of the competitions, the 10- to 13-wk interval was detected as optimal for both male and female athletes (Grand Prix, Continental Championship, and World Championship), whereas for the ranking-based qualified male competitions (ie, Masters and Olympic Games), a longer period (>14 wk) is needed.

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Christopher M. McLeod and Calvin Nite

competitions (e.g., lacrosse, ultimate frisbee). Emerging sport markets pose novel challenges for sport organizations because they are unstructured and ambiguous ( Santos & Eisenhardt, 2009 ). Thus, actors in emerging markets may need to construct the market by building its structures and reducing ambiguities