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Stefan Koehn, Tony Morris and Anthony P. Watt

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an imagery intervention for enhancing the experience of flow state and performance in junior athletes. On the basis of previous results, a tailored imagery script was developed to target critical flow dimensions, namely challenge-skills balance, clear goals, concentration on the task, and sense of control. It was hypothesized that the use of cognitive and motivational imagery would increase specific flow dimensions, which, in turn, would enhance flow state and competition performance. Participants in a single-case, multiple baseline A-B design study were four nationally ranked athletes. Following a 6-week baseline phase monitoring flow state and performance and a 6-week intervention phase using relaxation in conjunction with imagery techniques, three participants showed a sustained increase in flow experiences, and all four participants improved their service performance, groundstroke performance, and ranking-list position.

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Peter Gröpel and Jürgen Beckmann

Researchers suggests that a pre-performance routine (PPR) can improve performance in competitions. The effectiveness of left-hand contractions, a PPR to trigger facilitative cortical processes for skilled motor performance, was tested in two studies. In Study 1, gymnasts competing at the German university championships in artistic gymnastics performed their routines with or without the PPR. In Study 2, gymnasts performed the balance beam exercise either using the PPR or the control task (right-hand contractions) under simulated competition pressure. The qualification performance (Study 1) and the pressure-free performance (Study 2) were controlled. In both studies, participants in the PPR group performed better than control participants. The results indicate that left-hand contractions may be a useful PPR in the field.

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Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Sari M. van Anders, David N. Cox and Neil V. Watson

The association between androgens and competition in women has been understudied compared with men. The current study examined the link between testosterone (T) and competition in elite female athletes, using a sample of female wrestlers that included athletes competing at both the national and international level. In a repeated-measures design, saliva samples were collected before and after wrestling bouts, with comparable samples of wins and losses, and subsequently analyzed for T. Study results showed a 22% increase in circulating bioavailable T from pre-to postbout, F(1, 12) = 9.71, P = .009. There was no significant difference in T between win or loss outcomes. These findings—showing a link between individual head-to-head competition and T in women—demonstrate that women’s androgenic responses to environmental contexts are dynamic and may be an important factor to address in research on competitive performance.

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Iñigo Mujika, Luis Villanueva, Marijke Welvaert and David B. Pyne

The Olympic Games, taking place every 4 years, and FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) World Championships, which are held in pre- and post-Olympic years, are the 2 preeminent international swimming competitions. Qualifying for these events usually requires that swimmers achieve a fitness

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Gregory Shaw and Iñigo Mujika

physique could be expected. More recently, others have reported on the characteristics of elite OW swimmers during training camps and competition settings. 2 – 5 Swimmers described by Van Heest et al 2 were younger, with similar body mass and height, than those described by Carter and Ackland. 1 Women

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Marco J. Konings and Florentina J. Hettinga

Athletes are required to continuously make decisions during their competition about how and when to invest their available energy resources. 1 This goal-directed regulation of their exercise intensity is also known as pacing. 2 However, the underlying mechanisms behind this decision

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Shannon O’Donnell, Christopher M. Beaven and Matthew Driller

Elite athletes are exposed to a high level of both physiological and psychological stress leading up to and on the day of competition and therefore look to utilize a range of different strategies to gain and maintain a competitive edge. 1 One strategy that elite athletes use to counteract sleep

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Laura E. Juliff, Jeremiah J. Peiffer and Shona L. Halson

Despite the acknowledged importance of sleep for performance and recovery, 1 athletes commonly experience sleep loss following late competitions. 2 – 4 Specifically, team-sport athletes such as male footballers 4 and Australian rules footballers 5 , 6 have reported reduced sleep quantities of

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Mathieu Lacome, Julien Piscione, Jean-Philippe Hager and Christopher Carling

Purpose:

To investigate the patterns and performance of substitutions in 18 international 15-a-side men’s rugby union matches.

Methods:

A semiautomatic computerized time–motion system compiled 750 performance observations for 375 players (422 forwards, 328 backs). Running and technical-performance measures included total distance run, high-intensity running (>18.0 km/h), number of individual ball possessions and passes, percentage of passes completed, and number of attempted and percentage of successful tackles.

Results:

A total of 184 substitutions (85.2%) were attributed to tactical and 32 (14.8%) to injury purposes respectively. The mean period for non-injury-purpose substitutions in backs (17.7%) occurred between 70 and 75 min, while forward substitutions peaked equally between 50–55 and 60–65 min (16.4%). Substitutes generally demonstrated improved running performance compared with both starter players who completed games and players whom they replaced (small differences, ES –0.2 to 0.5) in both forwards and backs over their entire time played. There was also a trend for better running performance in forward and back substitutes over their first 10 min of play compared with the final 10 min for replaced players (small to moderate differences, ES 0.3–0.6). Finally, running performance in both forward and back substitutes was generally lower (ES –0.1 to 0.3, unclear or small differences) over their entire 2nd-half time played compared with their first 10 min of play. The impact of substitutes on technical performance was generally considered unclear.

Conclusions:

This information provides practitioners with practical data relating to the physical and technical contributions of substitutions that subsequently could enable optimization of their impact on match play.

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Sharon R. Phillips, Risto Marttinen, Kevin Mercier and Anne Gibbone

: (a) repetitive and boring, (b) an overemphasis on competition, and (c) fitness testing activities—what’s the purpose and why am I on display. The second theme was titled social factors impact attitude: sweating and changing. The third theme was titled PE assumptions, the easy “A.” It included two