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

and performance peak at their respective national qualification trials or within a time frame predetermined by their national federation. But, of course, attaining another performance peak allowing them to swim even faster at the major event is most often the main goal for every qualified swimmer and

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Paul A. Solberg, Will G. Hopkins, Gøran Paulsen and Thomas A. Haugen

, as powerful athletes such as sprinters, jumpers, and throwers typically reach peak performance in their mid to late 20s. 16 , 17 Recurring questions among practitioners and scientists are related to whether the changes in strength and power are truly age dependent or effects of training

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Thomas A. Haugen, Paul A. Solberg, Carl Foster, Ricardo Morán-Navarro, Felix Breitschädel and Will G. Hopkins

performance development in children, youth, and older (“masters”) athletes is well documented in research literature, 3 – 11 corresponding data for elite competitors in the years prior to and after the age of peak performance is more limited. A few scientific studies have investigated age of peak performance

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Caleb D. Bazyler, Satoshi Mizuguchi, Ashley A. Kavanaugh, John J. McMahon, Paul Comfort and Michael H. Stone

conditioning program. Although empirical evidence is lacking, differences in adaptive responses may be observed among players on a team during specific training phases (eg, overreaching and tapering). One of the most important training phases during the competitive season is the peaking phase. The peaking

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Paul Comfort, Thomas Dos’Santos, Paul A. Jones, John J. McMahon, Timothy J. Suchomel, Caleb Bazyler and Michael H. Stone

application of force during such activities. 2 , 3 For example, during high-velocity sprinting, foot contact times can be much less than 250 milliseconds, with a progressive decline in contact time as running velocity increases. 6 , 7 Interestingly, there is a strong association between isometric peak force

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Daniel B. Hollander and Edmund O. Acevedo

The unique experience of swimming the English Channel is a test of mind and body to overcome multiple challenges. The purpose of this study was to examine psychological characteristics and reflective meanings of these swimmers. Eight English Channel swimmers were interviewed. Inductive and deductive analyses compared interviews and interpretations with the coinvestigator and swimmers. Themes included the cognitive orientations of mental toughness, while cognitive strategies included goal setting, Compartmentalization of time, and/or swimming distance, and self-regulation. Descriptions of the experience of the swim included an ease of swimming at the beginning, more aversive experiences in the middle, and a paradoxical euphoria and letdown upon completion of the swim. Several swimmers noted the perception of increased occupational effectiveness, self-confidence, and an awareness of unlimited potential. Whereas, other swimmers noted a more competitive post event focus. Reflective experiences supported Maslow’s notion that the meaning associated with a peak experience augments daily life.

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Kenneth D. Coutts

Nine male elite wheelchair athletes performed a continuous progressive exercise test on a wheelchair ergometer to determine peak oxygen uptake. Three were paraplegic distance track competitors (SCI–TR), three were amputee distance track athletes (AMP–TR), and three were paraplegic basketball players (SCI–BB). Analysis of variance indicated a significant difference in the relative peak oxygen uptake between the groups, with the SCI–TR and AMP–TR groups having higher values than the SCI–BB group. No group differences were found in age, mass, oxygen uptake, ventilation, heart rate, ventilatory equivalent for oxygen, and oxygen pulse at maximal exercise. The absence of the mass of the lower extremities in the AMP–TR group has a significant effect on peak oxygen uptake relative to body mass, and relative peak oxygen uptake differences between individual SCI–TR and AMP–TR athletes did not appear to reflect performance differences in actual distance track events.

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Patrick J. Cohn

A qualitative study investigated the psychological characteristics of peak performance in golf. Nineteen professional and collegiate golfers (ages (19–38) participated in structured open-ended interviews. A content analysis of the interviews revealed that certain psychological qualities of peak performance exist among golfers. During peak performance the golfers were highly focused and immersed in the task at hand, performed effortlessly and automatically, felt physically relaxed and mentally calm, and felt in control of themselves and their performance. In addition, the golfers had no fear of negative consequences, maintained high self-confidence, and experienced fun and enjoyment. These results corroborate other studies examining peak performance with athletes in different sports. The results are discussed and suggestions are made for striving toward a unique and superior mental state.

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Jace A. Delaney, Heidi R. Thornton, John F. Pryor, Andrew M. Stewart, Ben J. Dascombe and Grant M. Duthie

Purpose:

To quantify the duration and position-specific peak running intensities of international rugby union for the prescription and monitoring of specific training methodologies.

Methods:

Global positioning systems (GPS) were used to assess the activity profile of 67 elite-level rugby union players from 2 nations across 33 international matches. A moving-average approach was used to identify the peak relative distance (m/min), average acceleration/deceleration (AveAcc; m/s2), and average metabolic power (Pmet) for a range of durations (1–10 min). Differences between positions and durations were described using a magnitude-based network.

Results:

Peak running intensity increased as the length of the moving average decreased. There were likely small to moderate increases in relative distance and AveAcc for outside backs, halfbacks, and loose forwards compared with the tight 5 group across all moving-average durations (effect size [ES] = 0.27–1.00). Pmet demands were at least likely greater for outside backs and halfbacks than for the tight 5 (ES = 0.86–0.99). Halfbacks demonstrated the greatest relative distance and Pmet outputs but were similar to outside backs and loose forwards in AveAcc demands.

Conclusions:

The current study has presented a framework to describe the peak running intensities achieved during international rugby competition by position, which are considerably higher than previously reported whole-period averages. These data provide further knowledge of the peak activity profiles of international rugby competition, and this information can be used to assist coaches and practitioners in adequately preparing athletes for the most demanding periods of play.

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Philo U. Saunders, Amanda J. Cox, Will G. Hopkins and David B. Pyne

It is unclear whether physiological measures monitored in an incremental treadmill test during a training season provide useful diagnostic information about changes in distance running performance.

Purpose:

To quantify the relationship between changes in physiological measures and performance (peak running speed) over a training season.

Methods:

Well-trained distance runners (34 males; VO2max 64 ± 6 mL⋅kg-1⋅min-1, mean ± SD) completed four incremental treadmill tests over 17 wk. The tests provided values of peak running speed, VO2max, running economy, and lactate threshold (as speed and %VO2max). The physiological measures were included in simple and multiple linear regression models to quantify the relationship between changes in these measures and changes in peak speed.

Results:

The typical within-subject variation in peak speed from test to test was 2.5%, whereas those for physiological measures were VO2max (mL⋅min-1⋅kg-1) 3.0%, economy (m⋅kg⋅mL–1) 3.6%, lactate threshold (%VO2max) 8.7%, and body mass 1.8%. In simple models these typical changes predicted the following changes in performance: VO2max 1.4%, economy 0.8%, lactate threshold –0.3%, and body mass –0.2% (90% confidence limits ~±0.7%); the corresponding correlations with performance were 0.57, 0.33, –0.05, and –0.13 respectively (~±0.20). In a multiple linear regression model, the contribution of each physiological variable to performance changed little after adjustment for the other variables.

Conclusion:

Change in VO2max in an incremental test during a running season is a good predictor of change in peak running speed, change in running economy is a moderate predictor, and lactate threshold and body mass provide little additional information.