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

from low-standard players within multiple team sports. 1 , 2 Despite the importance of one’s physical qualities to their playing standard, physical fitness tests also have the ability to predict team selection. 2 , 3 Compared with nonselected players, selected junior rugby league players were faster

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Nick Dobbin, Jamie Highton, Samantha Louise Moss and Craig Twist

, practitioners should look to increase body mass and factors that influence sprinting ability (ie, force, velocity, power) concurrently. Dated studies on the physical qualities of senior players 29 , 30 and the recent practice of grouping players (eg, outside backs, adjustable, and hit-up forwards) 5 have

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Bruno Marrier, Julien Robineau, Julien Piscione, Mathieu Lacome, Alexis Peeters, Christophe Hausswirth, Jean-Benoît Morin and Yann Le Meur

Peaking for major competition is considered critical for maximizing team-sport performance. However, there is little scientific information available to guide coaches in prescribing efficient tapering strategies for team-sport players.

Purpose:

To monitor the changes in physical performance in elite team-sport players during a 3-wk taper after a preseason training camp.

Methods:

Ten male international rugby sevens players were tested before (Pre) and after (Post) a 4-wk preseason training camp focusing on high-intensity training and strength training with moderate loads and once each week during a subsequent 3-wk taper. During each testing session, midthigh-pull maximal strength, sprint-acceleration mechanical outputs, and performance, as well as repeated-sprint ability (RSA), were assessed.

Results:

At Post, no single peak performance was observed for maximal lower-limb force output and sprint performance, while RSA peaked for only 1 athlete. During the taper, 30-m-sprint time decreased almost certainly (–3.1% ± 0.9%, large), while maximal lower-limb strength and RSA, respectively, improved very likely (+7.7% ± 5.3%, small) and almost certainly (+9.0% ± 2.6%, moderate). Of the peak performances, 70%, 80%, and 80% occurred within the first 2 wk of taper for RSA, maximal force output, and sprint performance, respectively.

Conclusions:

These results show the sensitivity of physical qualities to tapering in rugby sevens players and suggest that an ~1- to 2-wk tapering time frame appears optimal to maximize the overall physical-performance response.

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Tyler L. Goodale, Tim J. Gabbett, Trent Stellingwerff, Ming-Chang Tsai and Jeremy M. Sheppard

Purpose:

To investigate the physical qualities that differentiate playing minutes in international-level women’s rugby sevens players.

Methods:

Twenty-four national-level female rugby sevens players underwent measurements of anthropometry, acceleration, speed, lower- and upper-body strength, lower-body power, and aerobic fitness. Playing minutes in international competition were used to differentiate players into 2 groups, a high- or low-playing-minutes group. Playing minutes were related to team selection, which was determined by the coaching staff. Playing minutes were therefore used to differentiate performance levels.

Results:

Players in the high-playing-minutes group (≥70 min) were older (mean ± SD 24.3 ± 3.1 vs 21.2 ± 4.3 y, P = .05, effect size [ES] = 0.77 ± 0.66, 90% confidence limit) and had greater experience in a national-training-center environment (2.4 ± 0.8 vs 1.7 ± 0.9 y, P = .03, ES = 0.83 ± 0.65), faster 1600-m time (374.5 ± 20.4 vs 393.5 ± 29.8 s, P = .09, ES = –0.70 ± 0.68), and greater 1-repetition-maximum upper-body strength (bench press 68.4 ± 6.3 vs 62.2 ± 8.1 kg, P = .07, ES = 0.80 ± 0.70, and neutral-grip pull-up 84.0 ± 8.2 vs 79.1 ± 5.4 kg, P = .12, ES = 0.68 ± 0.72) than athletes who played fewer minutes. Age (rs = .59 ± ~.28), training experience (rs = .57 ± ~.29), bench press (r = .44 ± ~.36), and 1600-m time (r = –.43 ± ~.34) were significantly associated with playing minutes. Neutral-grip pull-up and bench press contributed significantly to a discriminant analysis. The average squared canonical correlation was .46. The discriminant analysis predicted 7 of 9 and 6 of 10 high- and low-playing-minutes athletes, respectively.

Conclusions:

Age, training experience, upper-body strength, and aerobic fitness differentiated athlete playing minutes in international women’s rugby sevens.

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Peter Le Rossignol, Tim J. Gabbett, Dan Comerford and Warren R. Stanton

Purpose:

To investigate the relationship between selected physical capacities and repeated-sprint performance of Australian Football League (AFL) players and to determine which physical capacities contributed to being selected for the first competition game.

Methods:

Sum of skinfolds, 40-m sprint (with 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-m splits), repeated-sprint ability (6 × 30-m sprints), and 3-km-run time were measured during the preseason in 20 AFL players. The physical qualities of players selected to play the first match of the season and those not selected were compared. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the relationship among variables, and a regression analysis identified variables significantly related to repeated-sprint performance.

Results:

In the regression analysis, maximum velocity was the best predictor of repeated-sprint time, with 3-km-run time also contributing significantly to the predictive model. Sum of skinfolds was significantly correlated with 10-m (r = .61, P < .01) and 30-m (r = .53, P < .05) sprint times. A 2.6% ± 2.1% difference in repeated-sprint time (P < .05, ES = 0.88 ± 0.72) was observed between those selected (25.26 ± 0.55 s) and not selected (25.82 ± 0.80 s) for the first game of the season.

Conclusions:

The findings indicate that maximum-velocity training using intervals of 30–40 m may contribute more to improving repeated-sprint performance in AFL players than short 10- to 20-m intervals from standing starts. Further research is warranted to establish the relative importance of endurance training for improving repeated-sprint performance in AFL football.

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Nick Dobbin, Jamie Highton, Samantha L. Moss and Craig Twist

battery that provides normative data on physical qualities for youth, academy, and senior rugby league players from multiple clubs. To this end, a reliable testing battery was recently introduced that allowed youth, academy, and senior players to be assessed efficiently using the same procedures with

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Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Cristian Alvarez, Felipe García-Pinillos, Paulo Gentil, Jason Moran, Lucas A. Pereira and Irineu Loturco

, 39 ). However, the carry-over effects of DJ gains to physical performance of young athletes have not yet been described ( 20 – 22 , 54 ). The study of the transference effect of DJ training to relevant physical qualities of soccer players may help practitioners to select the most appropriate drills

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Jake Schuster, Dan Howells, Julien Robineau, Anthony Couderc, Alex Natera, Nick Lumley, Tim J. Gabbett and Nick Winkelman

possible practicing their sport, equipped with the physical capacities to play their sport in the style desired by the head coach. Although rugby sevens players are exceptional athletes in many areas of physical ability, it is presumed that few could perform at an elite level in any single physical quality

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Michael J.A. Speranza, Tim J. Gabbett, David A. Greene, Rich D. Johnston and Andrew D. Townshend

’s physical qualities, playing position, or playing ability. Consistent with previous research, “good” under-the-ball tacklers were involved in a smaller proportion of missed tackles during match play compared with “poor” under-the-ball tacklers. 4 , 5 , 8 Furthermore, although not statistically significant

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Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez, Eduardo Sáez De Villarreal, David Sanz-Rivas and Manuel Moya

Objectives:

The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of an 8-week (conducted biweekly for a total of 16 sessions) plyometric training program (PT) (e.g., upper- and lower-body exercises) combined with regular tennis training on physical qualities in young tennis players.

Design:

Sixty tennis players between the ages of 12 and 13 years (age 12.5 ± 0.3 years, weight 44.2 ± 7.0 kg, height 156.6 ± 7.1 cm) were allocated to either the control group (standard in-season regimen) (CG; n = 30) or the experimental group, which received an additional PT (TG; n = 30) for 30–60 min as a substitute for some tennis training within the usual 90-min practice.

Methods:

Pre- and posttests included: anthropometric measures; vertical countermovement jump (CMJ); standing long jump (SLJ); 20 m sprint time (with 5 and 10 m splits); a modified 505 agility test; overhead medicine ball throw; and serve velocity test.

Results:

After the training intervention, the TG showed significant (p < .01) improvements in all the parameters analyzed, with percentages of change and effect sizes ranging from 3.1% to 10.1% and 0.4 (small) to 1.3 (moderate), respectively. No significant changes were observed in the CG after the training intervention.

Conclusions:

PT was shown as an important stimulus for enhancing explosive actions in young tennis players.