A prevailing theory (and practical application) is that elite performance requires early childhood skill development and training across various domains, including sport. Debate continues whether children specializing early (ie, training/competition in a single sport) have true advantage compared with those who sample various sports early and specialize in a single sport later (adolescence). Retrospective data and case studies suggest either model yields elite status depending upon the sport category (ie, situational: ball games, martial arts, fencing; quantitative: track and feld, swimming, skiing; or qualitative: gymnastics, diving, figure skating). However, potential risks of early specialization include greater attrition and adverse physical/emotional health outcomes. With the advent of the IOC Youth Olympic Games, increased emphasis on global youth competition has unknown implications but also represents a potential platform for investigation. Modification of youth competition formats should be based upon multidisciplinary research on psycho-physiological responses, and technical-tactical behaviors during competition. The assumption that a simple scaled-down approach of adult competitions facilitates the development of technical/tactical skills of youth athletes is not necessarily substantiated with field-based research. Relatively little evidence exists regarding the long-term effects of rigorous training and competitive schedules on children in specific sports. It is clear that more prospective studies are needed to understand the training dose that optimally develops adaptations in youth without inducing dropout, overtraining syndrome, and/or injury. Such an approach should be sport specific as well as gender based. Until such evidence exists, coaches and sport administrators will continue to rely upon their sport-specific dogma to influence programmatic development of our most vulnerable population.
Laura Capranica and Mindy L. Millard-Stafford
Gregory Shaw, Kevin T. Boyd, Louise M. Burke and Anu Koivisto
Swimming is a sport that requires considerable training commitment to reach individual performance goals. Nutrition requirements are specific to the macrocycle, microcycle, and individual session. Swimmers should ensure suitable energy availability to support training while maintaining long term health. Carbohydrate intake, both over the day and in relation to a workout, should be manipulated (3–10g/kg of body mass/day) according to the fuel demands of training and the varying importance of undertaking these sessions with high carbohydrate availability. Swimmers should aim to consume 0.3g of high-biological-value protein per kilogram of body mass immediately after key sessions and at regular intervals throughout the day to promote tissue adaptation. A mixed diet consisting of a variety of nutrient-dense food choices should be sufficient to meet the micronutrient requirements of most swimmers. Specific dietary supplements may prove beneficial to swimmers in unique situations, but should be tried only with the support of trained professionals. All swimmers, particularly adolescent and youth swimmers, are encouraged to focus on a well-planned diet to maximize training performance, which ensures sufficient energy availability especially during periods of growth and development. Swimmers are encouraged to avoid rapid weight fluctuations; rather, optimal body composition should be achieved over longer periods by modest dietary modifications that improve their food choices. During periods of reduced energy expenditure (taper, injury, off season) swimmers are encouraged to match energy intake to requirement. Swimmers undertaking demanding competition programs should ensure suitable recovery practices are used to maintain adequate glycogen stores over the entirety of the competition period.
Susan S. Levy
Using a qualitative design, the purpose of this study was to investigate the personal meaning of competition to the female mountain bike racer. Interviews were conducted with nine female mountain bike racers of varying levels of experience, and were designed to elicit information relevant to the athlete’s understanding of her experience of competition, as well as, the personal meaning she attached to that experience. The codification of participant responses resulted in the identification of eight main themes including self-fulfillment, perceived competence, social support and camaraderie, health and fitness, joy of the experience, focus and self-control, external benefits derived from racing, and goal-direction. The findings of the study were, in general, supportive of the components of meaning posited by Personal Investment Theory (Maehr & Braskamp, 1986). Practical implications from this study include developing strategies for increasing the meaningfulness of the competitive experience for females in order to promote participation in physical activity.
Guillaume Martinent, Michel Nicolas, Patrick Gaudreau and Mickaël Campo
The purposes of the current study were to identify affective profiles of athletes both before and during the competition and to examine differences between these profiles on coping and attainment of sport goals among a sample of 306 athletes. The results of hierarchical (Ward’s method) and nonhierarchical (k means) cluster analyses revealed four different clusters both before and during the competition. The four clusters were very similar at the two measurement occasions: high positive affect facilitators (n = 88 and 81), facilitators (n = 75 and 25), low affect debilitators (n = 83 and 127), and high negative affect debilitators (n = 60 and 73). Results of MANOVAs revealed that coping and attainment of sport achievement goal significantly differed across the affective profiles. Results are discussed in terms of current research on positive and negative affective states.
Jocelyn M. Farrell, Margaret E. Johnston and G. David Twynam
The purpose of this study was to investigate attributes of satisfaction and motivation for volunteers at an elite sporting competition and the implications of this for effective event management, A survey of 300 volunteers was undertaken immediately following the Scott Tournament of Hearts, the Canadian Women's Curling Championship, held in Thunder Bay in March 1996, The 28- item Special Event Volunteer Motivation Scale was tested in this study, resulting in four empirically supported factors termed purposive, solidary, external traditions, and commitments. The study measured the level of satisfaction with the general volunteer experience and with specific aspects of the administrative and managerial conditions. This study found that particular attributes of the event organization and competition facility played a role in volunteer satisfaction.
Understanding competition is central to the task of strategy formulation and implementation and it is the link between competition and strategy that was explored in the 2011 Dr. Earle F. Zeigler Lecture. It was argued that strategy, given its centrality to organizational phenomena, and strategy research in particular, provides rich and diverse competitive contexts with the potential to reveal some of the unique properties of sport management. To ascertain the prevalence of sport-related strategy research, three sport management journals were subject to content analysis to identify published manuscripts related to strategy. Before presenting the results, the Lecture considered competition on and off the field, the origins of competitive behavior in sport management and a brief review of the major research themes in the generic strategic management literature. Results revealed that 20 (2.5%) of the 805 manuscripts published in the three journals were strategy focused. Research themes and contexts were presented as well as a bibliometric analysis of the reference lists of the 20 identified strategy manuscripts. This analysis highlighted the journals that are influencing published sport management strategy-related research. It was concluded that strategy research specific to sport management has been sparse to date, yet the role of strategy formulation is central to the role of management and should also be central to sport management scholarship.
Jenni M. Felder, Louise M. Burke, Brian J. Lowdon, David Cameron-Smith and Gregory R. Collier
The aim of this study was to assess the dietary practices of 10 elite female surfers. Four- and five-day food diaries completed over competition and training periods demonstrated energy intakes (mean ± SD) of 9,468 kJ (±2,007) and 8,397 kJ (±1,831), respectively. This level of energy intake was less than that estimated for the requirements of surfing. Female surfers' carbohydrate intakes failed to meet the recommendations, and suboptimal zinc intake was observed with 90% of subjects not meeting the Australian RDI. Comparisons between competition and training demonstrated that carbohydrate (g and g/kg body weight) and confectionary (g) intakes were significantly higher (p < .05) and protein intake was significantly lower (p < .05) during competition. These results show that although body fat stores were not compromised (mean 22%), self-reported energy, carbohydrate, and nutrient intakes were marginal in elite female surfers. Questionnaires revealed that 90% of surfers did not have good nutritional habits while traveling, which was compounded by a lack of knowledge of nutritional practices.
Markus J. Klusemann, David B. Pyne, Will G. Hopkins and Eric J. Drinkwater
Competition-specific conditioning for tournament basketball games is challenging, as the demands of tournament formats are not well characterized.
To compare the physical, physiological, and tactical demands of seasonal and tournament basketball competition and determine the pattern of changes within an international tournament.
Eight elite junior male basketball players (age 17.8 ± 0.2 y, height 1.93 ± 0.07 m, mass 85 ± 3 kg; mean ± SD) were monitored in 6 seasonal games played over 4 mo in an Australian second-division national league and in 7 games of an international under-18 tournament played over 8 days. Movement patterns and tactical elements were coded from video and heart rates recorded by telemetry.
The frequency of running, sprinting, and shuffling movements in seasonal games was higher than in tournament games by 8–15% (99% confidence limits ± ~8%). Within the tournament, jogging and low- to medium-intensity shuffling decreased by 15–20% (± ~14%) over the 7 games, while running, sprinting, and high-intensity shuffling increased 11–81% (± ~25%). There were unclear differences in mean and peak heart rates. The total number of possessions was higher in seasonal than in tournament games by 8% (± 10%).
Coaches should consider a stronger emphasis on strength and power training in their conditioning programs to account for the higher activity of seasonal games. For tournament competition, strategies that build a sufficient aerobic capacity and neuromuscular resilience to maintain high-intensity movements need to be employed. A focus on half-court tactics accounts for the lower number of possessions in tournaments.
Steven H. Doeven, Michel S. Brink, Wouter G.P. Frencken and Koen A.P.M. Lemmink
During intensified phases of competition, attunement of exertion and recovery is crucial to maintain performance. Although a mismatch between coach and player perceptions of training load is demonstrated, it is unknown if these discrepancies also exist for match exertion and recovery.
To determine match exertion and subsequent recovery and to investigate the extent to which the coach is able to estimate players’ match exertion and recovery.
Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and total quality of recovery (TQR) of 14 professional basketball players (age 26.7 ± 3.8 y, height 197.2 ± 9.1 cm, weight 100.3 ± 15.2 kg, body fat 10.3% ± 3.6%) were compared with observations of the coach. During an in-season phase of 15 matches within 6 wk, players gave RPEs after each match. TQR scores were filled out before the first training session after the match. The coach rated observed exertion (ROE) and recovery (TQ-OR) of the players.
RPE was lower than ROE (15.6 ± 2.3 and 16.1 ± 1.4; P = .029). Furthermore, TQR was lower than TQ-OR (12.7 ± 3.0 and 15.3 ± 1.3; P < .001). Correlations between coach- and player-perceived exertion and recovery were r = .25 and r = .21, respectively. For recovery within 1 d the correlation was r = .68, but for recovery after 1–2 d no association existed.
Players perceive match exertion as hard to very hard and subsequent recovery reasonable. The coach overestimates match exertion and underestimates degree of recovery. Correspondence between coach and players is thus not optimal. This mismatch potentially leads to inadequate planning of training sessions and decreases in performance during fixture congestion in basketball.
This case was prepared by the author for the Diamond Dollars Case Competition in March 2013. It was developed for the purpose of a case discussion. It contains various assumptions that were generated for illustrative purposes and is not intended to serve as a source of primary data. It takes the hypothetical 2013 performance of young baseball superstar Mike Trout to provide students with an opportunity to apply analytical skills to the types of real-world problems faced by professional sport organizations. The case study invites students to weigh the many factors that Los Angeles Angels management must consider in determining how to realistically negotiate with Trout for the benefit of the ball club following the 2013 Major League baseball season.