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Georgia M. Black, Tim J. Gabbett, Rich D. Johnston, Michael H. Cole, Geraldine Naughton and Brian Dawson

Australian football (AF) is a high-intensity intermittent team sport that involves a combination of physical and technical components. Physical testing batteries are used to monitor the physical attributes of players throughout the season, and have been used to discriminate high-standard players

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Kevin Currell, Steve Conway and Asker E. Jeukendrup

The aim of the study was to investigate the reliability of a new test of soccer performance and evaluate the effect of carbohydrate (CHO) on soccer performance. Eleven university footballers were recruited and underwent 3 trials in a randomized order. Two of the trials involved ingesting a placebo beverage, and the other, a 7.5% maltodextrin solution. The protocol comprised a series of ten 6-min exercise blocks on an outdoor Astroturf pitch, separated by the performance of 2 of the 4 soccer-specific tests, making the protocol 90 min in duration. The intensity of the exercise was designed to be similar to the typical activity pattern during soccer match play. Participants performed skill tests of dribbling, agility, heading, and shooting throughout the protocol. The coefficients of variation for dribbling, agility, heading, and shooting were 2.2%, 1.2%, 7.0%, and 2.8%, respectively. The mean combined placebo scores were 42.4 ± 2.7 s, 43.1 ± 3.7 s, 210 ± 34 cm, and 212 ± 17 points for agility, dribbling, heading, and kicking, respectively. CHO ingestion led to a combined agility time of 41.5 ± 0.8 s, for dribbling 41.7 ± 3.5 s, 213 ± 11 cm for heading, and 220 ± 5 points for kicking accuracy. There was a significant improvement in performance for dribbling, agility, and shooting (p < .05) when CHO was ingested compared with placebo. In conclusion, the protocol is a reliable test of soccer performance, and ingesting CHO leads to an improvement in soccer performance.

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David R. Novak and Andrew C. Billings

No longer is there a question of whether the football World Cup is an immense media spectacle; instead, the question now is how immense the World Cup is in the overall human experience. Despite all the global excitement related to the World Cup, the bulk of the general U.S. public is seemingly exempt from the charms of the World Cup. This article examines American media coverage of the 2010 FIFA Men’s World Cup. A qualitative content analysis identified 6 major themes in U.S. popular-press coverage of the event in South Africa, highlighting the communicative undercurrents of media discussions in order to comprehend the disconnect between American attitudes toward the World Cup and those held by the rest of the world. Themes of media discourse range from the increase in participation of Americans in soccer to resistance to mainstreaming soccer in popular culture to how soccer affects cultural literacy. Overall, the results indicate some enthusiasm for World Cup soccer while outlining stronger resistance for the sport in general. Potential future research projects related to this line of inquiry are also suggested.

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Gary Allen, Kristy Smith, Brady Tripp, Jason Zaremski and Seth Smith

August in Florida, a 17-year-old White male high school American football player became dizzy with altered mental status, followed by a near syncopal episode. The on-site athletic trainer assessed the patient immediately. The patient denied any chest pain, palpitations, or shortness of breath, but did

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Miguel Angel Campos-Vazquez, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, Jose Antonio Gonzalez-Jurado, Juan Antonio León-Prados, Alfredo Santalla and Luis Suarez-Arrones

Purpose:

To describe the internal training load (ITL) of common training sessions performed during a typical week and to determine the relationships between different indicators of ITL commonly employed in professional football (soccer).

Methods:

Session-rating-of-perceived-exertion TL (sRPE-TL) and heart-rate- (HR) derived measurements of ITL as Edwards TL and Stagno training impulses (TRIMPMOD) were used in 9 players during 3 periods of the season. The relationships between them were analyzed in different training sessions during a typical week: skill drills/circuit training + small-sided games (SCT+SSGs), ball-possession games + technical-tactical exercises (BPG+TTE), tactical training (TT), and prematch activation (PMa).

Results:

HR values obtained during SCT+SSGs and BPG+TTE were substantially greater than those in the other 2 sessions, all the ITL markers and session duration were substantially greater in SCT+SSGs than in any other session, and all ITL measures in BPG+TTE were substantially greater than in TT and PMa sessions. Large relationships were found between HR >80% HRmax and HR >90% HRmax vs sRPE-TL during BPG+TTE and TT sessions (r = .61−.68). Very large relationships were found between Edwards TL and sRPE-TL and between TRIMPMOD and sRPE-TL in sessions with BPG+TTE and TT (r = .73−.87). Correlations between the different HR-based methods were always extremely large (r = .92−.98), and unclear correlations were observed for other relationships between variables.

Conclusion:

sRPE-TL provided variable-magnitude within-individual correlations with HR-derived measures of training intensity and load during different types of training sessions typically performed during a week in professional soccer. Caution should be applied when using RPE- or HR-derived measures of exercise intensity/load in soccer training interchangeably.

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Peter Fowler, Rob Duffield, Kieran Howle, Adam Waterson and Joanna Vaile

The current study examined the effects of 10-h northbound air travel across 1 time zone on sleep quantity, together with subjective jet lag and wellness ratings, in 16 male professional Australian football (soccer) players. Player wellness was measured throughout the week before (home training week) and the week of (away travel week) travel from Australia to Japan for a preseason tour. Sleep quantity and subjective jet lag were measured 2 d before (Pre 1 and 2), the day of, and for 5 d after travel (Post 1–5). Sleep duration was significantly reduced during the night before travel (Pre 1; 4.9 [4.2−5.6] h) and night of competition (Post 2; 4.2 [3.7−4.7] h) compared with every other night (P < .01, d > 0.90). Moreover, compared with the day before travel, subjective jet lag was significantly greater for the 5 d after travel (P < .05, d > 0.90), and player wellness was significantly lower 1 d postmatch (Post 3) than at all other time points (P < .05, d > 0.90). Results from the current study suggest that sleep disruption, as a result of an early travel departure time (8 PM) and evening match (7:30 PM), and fatigue induced by competition had a greater effect on wellness ratings than long-haul air travel with a minimal time-zone change. Furthermore, subjective jet lag may have been misinterpreted as fatigue from sleep disruption and competition, especially by the less experienced players. Therefore, northbound air travel across 1 time zone from Australia to Asia appears to have negligible effects on player preparedness for subsequent training and competition.

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Blake D. McLean, David Buttifant, Christopher J. Gore, Kevin White, Carsten Liess and Justin Kemp

Purpose:

Little research has been done on the physiological and performance effects of altitude training on team-sport athletes. Therefore, this study examined changes in 2000-m time-trial running performance (TT), hemoglobin mass (Hbmass), and intramuscular carnosine content of elite Australian Football (AF) players after a preseason altitude camp.

Methods:

Thirty elite AF players completed 19 days of living and training at either moderate altitude (~2130 m; ALT, n = 21) or sea level (CON, n = 9). TT performance and Hbmass were assessed preintervention (PRE) and postintervention (POST1) in both groups and at 4 wk after returning to sea level (POST2) in ALT only.

Results:

Improvement in TT performance after altitude was likely 1.5% (± 4.8–90%CL) greater in ALT than in CON, with an individual responsiveness of 0.8%. Improvements in TT were maintained at POST2 in ALT. Hbmass after altitude was very likely increased in ALT compared with CON (2.8% ± 3.5%), with an individual responsiveness of 1.3%. Hbmass returned to baseline at POST2. Intramuscular carnosine did not change in either gastrocnemius or soleus from PRE to POST1.

Conclusions:

A preseason altitude camp improved TT performance and Hbmass in elite AF players to a magnitude similar to that demonstrated by elite endurance athletes undertaking altitude training. The individual responsiveness of both TT and Hbmass was approximately half the group mean effect, indicating that most players gained benefit. The maintenance of running performance for 4 wk, despite Hbmass returning to baseline, suggests that altitude training is a valuable preparation for AF players leading into the competitive season.

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Gregory A. Cranmer and Sara LaBelle

injuries estimated in billions of dollars ( Finkelstein, Corso, & Miller, 2006 ), sport-related concussions have been identified as a major public health concern ( Weibe, Comstock, & Nance, 2011 ). High school football is a focal point of such concern, with as many as 9.88% of players suffering a

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Andrew D. Govus, Aaron Coutts, Rob Duffield, Andrew Murray and Hugh Fullagar

Daily monitoring of a player’s internal and external training loads is critical in American college football since a high training load coupled with inadequate recovery can result in injury, illness, or overtraining. 1 One commonly used noninvasive method of monitoring an athlete

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Timothy J.H. Lathlean, Paul B. Gastin, Stuart V. Newstead and Caroline F. Finch

Elite junior Australian football (AF) players need to demonstrate physical, technical, and tactical characteristics to be selected for elite senior competition in the Australian Football League (AFL). Coaches attempt to bridge the gap between elite junior and senior (AFL) competitions, 1 through