Special Issue "2nd Edition: Fitness Assessment, Athlete’s Monitoring Cycle and Training Interventions in Team Sports"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Exercise and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, School of Sport and Leisure, 4960-320 Melgaço, Portugal
Interests: football; soccer; match analysis; performance analysis; network analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fitness assessment and player’s monitoring are two key support strategies to improve the individualization of a training intervention in team sports. In the last decade, research interest in fitness assessment and monitoring has being quickly growing, in a number of publications, and also in the practical implementation in sports science departments supporting the teams. Now, athletic and technical/tactical tests performed periodically are part of the schedule, while using different training load monitoring, well-being, or readiness tests are part of daily or weekly approaches to be conducted with team sports players. Those processes ensure a better understanding of the status of the players and allow individual training approaches in case of need.

Naturally, the training process is a determinant of performance. For that reason, fitness assessment and monitoring are just parts of the process. The training design and plan are the big contributors for preparing the players for the competition, and particular attention should be paid to individualization processes, dose-response relationships or analyses of the heterogeneity of the effect of a given training intervention.

Therefore, and following the first following Special Issue “Fitness Assessment, Athlete’s Monitoring Cycle and Training Interventions in Team Sports”, we are launching the second edition that looks for articles covering the topics of fitness assessment, monitoring, and training intervention in team sports. In particular, we are interested in receiving high-quality and novel original articles, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses that may provide important information about (but not exclusively) the following topics:

(i) adjustment of a training intervention to a fitness assessment and monitoring;
(ii) individual and group effects of training interventions for sports performance or injury risk reduction;
(iii) individualized training approaches for sports players in return-to-play;
(iv) data treatment and workload measures for team sports analysis; and
(v) integration of covariables that may constrain the sports performance.

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
Dr. Hugo Sarmento
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • team sports
  • athletic performance
  • technical performance
  • tactical performance
  • match analysis
  • performance analysis
  • load monitoring
  • training intervention
  • sports training
  • return-to-play

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Talent Selection Based on Sport-Specific Tasks Is Affected by the Relative Age Effects among Adolescent Handball Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11418; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182111418 - 29 Oct 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Talent selection is often affected by the relative age effects (RAEs), resulting in the overrepresentation of relatively older (vs. relatively younger) players among those selected. The use of sport-specific tasks is suggested to reduce RAEs during talent selection. Purpose: To test the hypothesis [...] Read more.
Talent selection is often affected by the relative age effects (RAEs), resulting in the overrepresentation of relatively older (vs. relatively younger) players among those selected. The use of sport-specific tasks is suggested to reduce RAEs during talent selection. Purpose: To test the hypothesis that talent selection including only sport-specific tasks is not affected by the RAEs and to analyse the body size and biological maturity of the top selection level according to relative age. Methods: Participants were U14 female (n = 5428) and U15 (n = 4408) male handball players participating in four programs consisting of four selection levels (local, county, regional, and national) grouped in bi-annual age. Handball-specific generic skills, position-specific technical drills and in-game performance were the selection criteria evaluated by experts and coaches. Body dimensions were measured and bone age, as an indicator of maturity, was estimated. The relative age quartile distributions within the bi-annual cohorts were examined using Chi-square and Odds Ratios. Results: In terms of all the registered players no RAEs were evident. However, the RAEs of moderate effect size were evident at the county level; χ2 = 53.2 (girls) and 66.4 (boys), OR = 2.5 and 3.3, respectively. The RAEs of a large effect size were found at the regional level; χ2 = 139.5 (girls) and 144.9 (boys), OR = 8.2 and 5.2, respectively. At national level, RAEs were still present, but with no further increase in the effect size. At the highest selection level, there were no differences in the anthropometric measures between the relatively older and younger players. Conclusion: The findings provide support to the hypothesis that the selection process exacerbates RAEs even when using only sport-specific selection criteria. The performance metrics in technical skills, but also coaching assessments are likely involved. In addition, an advanced maturity and/or an above-average body size increases the selection odds for relatively younger players. Full article
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Article
Effects of a 10-Week Combined Coordination and Agility Training Program on Young Male Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10125; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph181910125 - 26 Sep 2021
Viewed by 773
Abstract
The current literature has shown how working on coordination and agility produces effects on specific aspects in team sports. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a ten-week coordination training program applied to soccer on different tests that evaluate [...] Read more.
The current literature has shown how working on coordination and agility produces effects on specific aspects in team sports. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a ten-week coordination training program applied to soccer on different tests that evaluate speed (30 m speed test), agility (Illinois Agility Test (IAT)) and lower body strength (countermovement jump (CMJ)). Forty U16 male soccer players from two nonprofessional teams (twenty in the control group (CG) (aged = 14.70 ± 0.47, body weight = 60.15 ± 8.07 kg, height = 1.71 ± 0.06 m) and twenty in the experimental group (EG) (aged = 14.50 ± 0.51, body weight = 58.08 ± 9.78 kg, height = 1.69 ± 0.06 m)) performed a combined coordination and agility program during 10 min every training day (3 days a week) for 10 weeks. The results of this study showed that coordination training produced adaptations in the power (CMJ of EG (p = 0.001)) and agility capacities (IAT of EG (p = 0.002)) of young soccer players, but not on speed performance at longer distances (CG, p = 0.20 and EG, p = 0.09). Despite the benefits of the training program, a combination of training methods that includes power, agility, speed, and strength can enhance such improvements. Full article
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Article
Successful Reboot of High-Performance Sporting Activities by Japanese National Women’s Handball Team in Tokyo, 2020 during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Initiative Using the Japan Sports–Cyber Physical System (JS–CPS) of the Sports Research Innovation Project (SRIP)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9865; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18189865 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1318
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted sporting activities across the world. However, practical training strategies for athletes to reduce the risk of infection during the pandemic have not been definitively studied. The purpose of this report was to provide an overview of the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted sporting activities across the world. However, practical training strategies for athletes to reduce the risk of infection during the pandemic have not been definitively studied. The purpose of this report was to provide an overview of the challenges we encountered during the reboot of high-performance sporting activities of the Japanese national handball team during the 3rd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Tokyo, Japan. Twenty-nine Japanese national women’s handball players and 24 staff participated in the study. To initiate the reboot of their first training camp after COVID-19 stay-home social policy, we conducted: web-based health-monitoring, SARS-CoV-2 screening with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, real-time automated quantitative monitoring of social distancing on court using a moving image-based artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, physical intensity evaluation with wearable heart rate (HR) and acceleration sensors, and a self-reported online questionnaire. The training camp was conducted successfully with no COVID-19 infections. The web-based health monitoring and the frequent PCR testing with short turnaround times contributed remarkably to early detection of athletes’ health problems and to risk screening. During handball, AI-based on-court social-distance monitoring revealed key time-dependent spatial metrics to define player-to-player proximity. This information facilitated appropriate on- and off-game distancing behavior for teammates. Athletes regularly achieved around 80% of maximum HR during training, indicating anticipated improvements in achieving their physical intensities. Self-reported questionnaires related to the COVID management in the training camp revealed a sense of security among the athletes that allowed them to focus singularly on their training. The challenges discussed herein provided us considerable knowledge about creating and managing a safe environment for high-performing athletes in the COVID-19 pandemic via the Japan Sports–Cyber Physical System (JS–CPS) of the Sports Research Innovation Project (SRIP, Japan Sports Agency, Tokyo, Japan). This report is envisioned to provide informed decisions to coaches, trainers, policymakers from the sports federations in creating targeted, infection-free, sporting and training environments. Full article
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Article
Wearable Inertial Measurement Unit to Accelerometer-Based Training Monotony and Strain during a Soccer Season: A within-Group Study for Starters and Non-Starters
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 8007; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18158007 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to analyze the intragroup differences in weekly training monotony (TM) and training strain (TS) between starter and non-starter male professional soccer players at accelerometry based variables throughout the periods of a season. TM and TS of different [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to analyze the intragroup differences in weekly training monotony (TM) and training strain (TS) between starter and non-starter male professional soccer players at accelerometry based variables throughout the periods of a season. TM and TS of different accelerations and decelerations zones for twenty-one players were followed for forty-eight weeks. Regardless of group, players obtained the highest mean TM (starters = 3.3 ± 0.6, non-starters = 2.2 ± 1.1, in arbitrary unit, AU) and TS (starters = 1288.9 ± 265.2, non-starters = 765.4 ± 547.5, AU) scores in the pre-season for accelerations at Zone 1 (<2 m/s2). The results also indicated that both groups exhibited similar TM and TS scores in accelerations at Zones 2 (2 to 4 m/s2) and 3 (>4 m/s2) across the entire season. While the starters showed the highest TM and TS scores at deceleration Zone 1 (<−2 m/s2) in the end-season, the non-starters exhibited the highest scores at the deceleration Zone 1 in pre-season. It seems that in pre-season, coaches applied higher levels of training with greater emphasis on deceleration for non-starters. This tendency was reduced over time for non-starters, while starters presented higher values of deceleration Zone 1. These results highlight the variations in TM and TS across the different periods of a full season according to match starting status among professional soccer players, and the results suggest that non-starter players should receive higher levels of load to compensate for non-participation in matches throughout a soccer season. Full article
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Article
Comparison of Official and Friendly Matches through Acceleration, Deceleration and Metabolic Power Measures: A Full-Season Study in Professional Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5980; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115980 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1127
Abstract
Soccer is a popular team sport and highly demanding activity that requires high effort and long-term training plans. The goals of this study were to compare the accelerations, decelerations and metabolic power between official and friendly full matches, between the first and second [...] Read more.
Soccer is a popular team sport and highly demanding activity that requires high effort and long-term training plans. The goals of this study were to compare the accelerations, decelerations and metabolic power between official and friendly full matches, between the first and second halves of the matches, and between both halves of official and friendly matches. Twelve professional soccer players (age, 28.6 ± 2.7 years; height, 182.1 ± 8.6 cm; body mass, 75.3 ± 8.2 kg; BMI, 22.6 ± 0.7 kg/m2) participated in this study. A total of 33 official and 10 friendly matches were analyzed from the Iranian Premier League. All matches were monitored using GPSPORTS systems Pty Ltd. The following variables were selected: total duration of the matches, metabolic power, accelerations Zone1 (<2 m·s−2) (AccZ1), accelerations Zone2 (2 to 4 m·s−2) (AccZ2), accelerations Zone3 (>4 m·s−2) (AccZ3), decelerations Zone1 (<−2 m·s−2) (DecZ1), decelerations Zone2 (−2 to −4 m·s−2) (DecZ2) and decelerations Zone3 (>−4 m·s−2) (DecZ3). The major finding was shown in metabolic power, where higher values occurred in friendly matches (p < 0.05 with small effect size). Furthermore, total duration, AccZ3, DecZ1, DecZ2, and DecZ3 were revealed to be higher in official matches, while AccZ1 and AccZ2 were higher in friendly matches. The second half of the official matches revealed higher values for total duration compared to friendly matches (p < 0.05, moderate effect size). In conclusion, this study observed higher values of metabolic power in friendly matches compared to official matches. AccZ3, DecZ1, DecZ2, and DecZ3 were higher in official matches, while AccZ1 and AccZ2 were higher in friendly matches. Full article
Article
The Effect of Contextual Variables on Match Performance across Different Playing Positions in Professional Portuguese Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5175; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105175 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 700
Abstract
This study investigated the position-specific physical demands of professional Portuguese players. The effects of situational variables on the physical performance demands were also analysed (match location, match half and match result). Match performance observations were collected using Global Navigation Satellite System devices across [...] Read more.
This study investigated the position-specific physical demands of professional Portuguese players. The effects of situational variables on the physical performance demands were also analysed (match location, match half and match result). Match performance observations were collected using Global Navigation Satellite System devices across 11 matches during a competitive season (2019–2020). Data were analysed according to five playing positions: goalkeepers (n = 11), central defenders (n = 42), wide defenders (n = 31), central midfielders (n = 34), open attackers (n = 28), and centre forwards (n = 14). Central midfield players completed the greatest total distance (10,787 ± 1536 m), while central defenders covered the least distance (9272 ± 455; p < 0.001). Open attackers covered the greatest high and very-high-speed distance (1504 ± 363 m), number of high-speed decelerations per match (11 ± 4) and were the fastest players (30.6 ± 1.5 km/h), along with center forwards (30.6 ± 2.0 km/h), versus all other positions (p < 0.05). Greater distances were performed in teams that were winning (9978 ± 1963 m) or drawing (10,395 ± 875 m) versus losing (9415 ± 2050) p = 0.036 and p = 0.006, respectively. Increases in distance covered at walking speeds were observed during the 2nd half (1574 ± 179 m) compared with the 1st half (1483 ± 176; (p < 0.003). A higher number of decelerations across all speeds were performed in the 1st half (144 ± 39) versus the 2nd half (135 ± 37). The distance covered in home matches (10,206 ± 1926 m) far exceeded away matches (9471 ± 1932 m; p < 0.001). The number of faster accelerations were higher in away (7 ± 5) versus home matches (6 ± 4; p < 0.049). The data demonstrate the different physical demands of each playing position and suggest that situational variables influence physical performance. These findings suggest position-specific physical training is required to condition players for the bespoke demands of each playing position. Full article
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