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Special Issue "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: closed (30 March 2021).

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,

Team sports training is progressively growing, challenging strength and conditioning coaches and head coaches. As part of a well-prepared training strategy, it is important to establish a functional relationship among fitness assessment, load, and well-being monitoring and readiness analysis to identify the consequences of training stimulus for players. Each of these topics has to date been isolated in research; however, it is important to bridge the gap between them and establish a greater and more comprehensive approach among fitness adaptations, training monitoring, and specific interventions performed. This may help us to achieve a clearer view of the big picture in terms of the consequences for players, namely, considering their exposure to successful biological adaptations or less successful cases, such as illness or injuries.  

As it is clear that more research should be done on the relationship among these dimensions and topics, the aim of the Special Issue on "Fitness Assessment, Athlete’s Monitoring Cycle and Training Interventions in Team Sports" is to publish high-quality original investigations, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis in the research field of team sports.

We look forward to receiving contributions related (but not limited) to the following topics:

  1. performance assessment and relationships between fitness measures;
  2. training load monitoring, well-being, and readiness in team sports;
  3. training interventions;
  4. complementary strategies for performance (e.g., nutrition, supplementation, psychology, injury preventions, recovery); and
  5. determinants of illness and injuries in players. We welcome papers related to evidence of successful intervention strategies. All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

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

  • fitness assessment
  • load monitoring
  • well-being
  • readiness
  • training interventions
  • strength and conditioning
  • nutritional and supplementation strategies
  • recovery strategies
  • injury prevention
  • injuries epidemiology
  • illness
  • performance analysis

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Article
Exercise Intensity and Technical Involvement in U9 Team Handball: Effect of Game Format
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5663; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115663 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 1096
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to quantify the exercise intensity and technical involvement of U9 boys’ and girls’ team handball during different game formats, and the differences between genders. Locomotor activity (total distance, distance in speed zones, accelerations, and decelerations), heart rate [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to quantify the exercise intensity and technical involvement of U9 boys’ and girls’ team handball during different game formats, and the differences between genders. Locomotor activity (total distance, distance in speed zones, accelerations, and decelerations), heart rate (HR), and technical involvement (shots, goals, and duels) metrics were collected during various 15 min game formats from a total of 57 Danish U9 players (37 boys and 20 girls). Game formats were a small size pitch (20 × 13 m) with 3 vs. 3 players and offensive goalkeepers (S3 + 1) and 4 vs. 4 players (S4), a medium size pitch (25.8 × 20 m) with 4 vs. 4 (M4) and 5 vs. 5 (M5) players, and a large size pitch (40 × 20 m) with 5 vs. 5 (L5) players. Boys and girls covered a higher total distance (TD) of high-speed running (HSR) and sprinting during L5 games compared to all other game formats (p < 0.05; ES = (−0.9 to −2.1), (−1.4 to −2.8), and (−0.9 to −1.3) respectively). Players covered the highest amount of sprinting distance in L5 games compared to all other game formats (p < 0.01; ES = 0.8 to 1.4). In all the game formats, players spent from 3.04 to 5.96 min in 180–200 bpm and 0.03 min to 0.85 min in >200 bpm of the total 15 min. In addition, both genders had more shots in S3 + 1 than M5 (p < 0.01; ES = 1.0 (0.4; 1.7)) and L5 (p < 0.01; ES = 1.1 (0.6; 2.2)). Team handball matches have high heart rates, total distances covered, and high-intensity running distances for U9 boys and girls irrespective of the game format. Locomotor demands appeared to be even higher when playing on larger pitches, whereas the smaller pitch size and fewer players led to elevated technical involvement. Full article
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Article
Will Next Match Location Influence External and Internal Training Load of a Top-Class Elite Professional European Soccer Team?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5229; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105229 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
Background: The purpose of this study is to compare training load (TL) preceding a home versus away match in a top-class elite European team during the 2015–2016 season. Methods: Twenty elite outfield soccer players with a mean ± SD age, height and body [...] Read more.
Background: The purpose of this study is to compare training load (TL) preceding a home versus away match in a top-class elite European team during the 2015–2016 season. Methods: Twenty elite outfield soccer players with a mean ± SD age, height and body mass of 25.9 ± 4.6 years, 183.1 ± 6.6 cm and 78.6 ± 6.6 kg, respectively, participated in this study. Total distance covered, high-speed running distance (HSRD), average speed (AvS), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) multiplied by training duration (s-RPE) and Hooper index (HI) were collected. Data from 24 weeks were analyzed through match-day minus/plus approach (MD-5, -4, -3, -2, -1, MD + 1). Results: All external TL variables indicated a decrease from MD-5 until MD-1 and then an increase to MD + 1 (p < 0.01). HI decreased from MD-5 to MD-1, but s-RPE increased until MD-3 and then decreased until MD + 1. When comparing TL data that preceded home matches versus away matches, for MD-5, HSRD and muscle soreness exhibited higher values when away match neared (p < 0.05). For MD-4 and MD-3, total distance, HSRD and AvS exhibited higher values closer to an away match than a home match (p < 0.05). For MD-1, total distances covered were higher closer to a home match than an away match (p < 0.01). For MD + 1, all HI items and AvS were higher when an away match was played (p < 0.05). Conclusions: This study confirms and provides evidence regarding the influence on internal and external TL data preceding home and away matches from a team that played in European competitions. Full article
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Article
Segmental Phase Angle and Body Composition Fluctuation of Elite Ski Jumpers between Summer and Winter FIS Competitions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4741; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094741 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
(1) Background: The purpose of this study was to observe segmental phase angle (PhA) and body composition fluctuation of elite ski jumpers. (2) Methods: In the study, 12 professional ski jumpers took part. Body composition was estimated with segmental multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis. [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The purpose of this study was to observe segmental phase angle (PhA) and body composition fluctuation of elite ski jumpers. (2) Methods: In the study, 12 professional ski jumpers took part. Body composition was estimated with segmental multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis. Repeated ANOVA was used to check the parameters’ variability in time. The symmetry between the right and left side of the body was verified with the t-test for dependent samples. Pearson’s linear correlation coefficient was calculated. (3) Results: The most stable parameter was body weight. An increase in the visceral fat area was noted, the fat-free mass dropped, and significant changes were noted in the internal and external cell water parameters. Parameters connected with water between the right and left side of the body were symmetrical. Significant correlation between PhA values and body parameters with regard to fat tissue and PhA values of the legs was noticed when PhA was measured at 50 kHz. (4) Conclusions: PhA could be considered as a ski jumper body symmetry monitoring tool. The described relationship may be useful for the assessment of body fat change, which, in the case of jumpers, is crucial. Moreover, our data suggest that segmental PhA evaluation could be a good solution for ski jumpers as a confirmation if lowered body mass and low BMI are still healthy and increase the chance for longer jumps and good performance. Full article
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Article
Dose-Response Relationships between Training Load Measures and Physical Fitness in Professional Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4321; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084321 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 830
Abstract
The aim of this cohort study was two-fold: (i) to analyze within-group changes of final velocity in a 30-15 intermittent fitness test (VIFT), final velocity in a Vameval test (Vvameval), 20-m sprint and countermovement jump (CMJ); (ii) to explore [...] Read more.
The aim of this cohort study was two-fold: (i) to analyze within-group changes of final velocity in a 30-15 intermittent fitness test (VIFT), final velocity in a Vameval test (Vvameval), 20-m sprint and countermovement jump (CMJ); (ii) to explore the relationships between VIFT and Vvameval outcomes and their changes with internal and external loads. Twenty-two professional soccer players (mean ± SD; age 27.2 ± 3.4 years, height 174.2 ± 3.6 cm, body mass 69.1 ± 6.4 kg, and body fat 10.4 ± 4.1%, 3.1 ± 1.5 years in the club) participated in this study. External and internal loads were obtained using global positioning system, heart rate and rate of perceived effort (sRPE) after each training session. Players were assessed in CMJ, 20-m sprint, Vameval and 30-15 intermittent fitness test, before and after the observed period. Very large relationships were observed between VIFT and Vameval for pre- (r = 0.76), post (r = 0.80) and pooled-data (r = 0.81). Vvameval showed less sensitivity (−22.4%, [−45.0 to 9.4]), ES −0.45 [−1.05 to 0.16]) than VIFT. ∆VIFT had unclear associations with all sRPE, but had moderate correlations with objective internal and external measures, while, ∆Vvameval varied between large and very large relationships with all sRPE, but had unclear associations with all other selected training loads. Objective internal and external loads may be used to track aerobic power related changes from VIFT. Full article
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Article
Can Rules in Technical-Tactical Decisions Influence on Physical and Mental Load during Soccer Training? A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4313; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084313 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1004
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze the effects of rules limitations in pass decisions during soccer tasks on physical and mental load reported by players. Participants were 40 semiprofessional Spanish soccer players (Mage = 22.40, SD = 2.25) from two male teams. [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyze the effects of rules limitations in pass decisions during soccer tasks on physical and mental load reported by players. Participants were 40 semiprofessional Spanish soccer players (Mage = 22.40, SD = 2.25) from two male teams. Two training sessions with four tasks (same tasks with different score system: two maintaining ball possession games with goalkeepers, and two maintaining ball possession games) in counterbalanced order between teams were completed. To achieve a goal during limitation tasks, a minimum number of players had to participate in the passes before the goal. Internal (perceived effort and heart rate) and external physical load (distances), mental load (validated adaptation of the NASA-TXL) and fatigue (VASfatigue) were quantified. Paired t-test and magnitude-based inference were conducted. The results showed significantly higher mean speeds (p < 0.01), effort perception (p < 0.001), and mental fatigue (very likely positive) during possession games with restrictions. Additionally, performance satisfaction obtained significantly higher values with goalkeepers and pass restrictions (very likely positive). External physical load showed no significant differences between situations. The influence of mental fatigue on internal load and the complexity of the tasks could explain these results. Coaches can use this information to manipulate the training load in ecological conditions. Full article
Article
Muscle Damage and Performance after Single and Multiple Simulated Matches in University Elite Female Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18084134 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
The present study aimed to compare changes in muscle damage and performance parameters after playing single versus multiple soccer matches to examine fixture congestion effects on performance. Twelve elite female university soccer players performed single, three and six consecutive 90-min bouts of the [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to compare changes in muscle damage and performance parameters after playing single versus multiple soccer matches to examine fixture congestion effects on performance. Twelve elite female university soccer players performed single, three and six consecutive 90-min bouts of the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST) with ≥12-weeks between conditions in a pseudo-randomized order. Heart rate, blood lactate, rating of perceived exertion and covering distance in each LIST were examined. Changes in several types of muscle damage (e.g., maximal voluntary isometric torque of the knee extensors: MVC-KE) and performance measures (e.g., Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1: YYIR1) were taken before each LIST, 1 h, and 1–5 d after the last LIST. The total distance covered during the LIST was shorter (p < 0.05) in the 2nd–3rd, or 2nd–6th LISTs when compared with the 1st LIST. Changes (p < 0.05) in all measures were observed after the LIST, and the greatest changes were observed after the six than after the three LISTs followed by one LIST (e.g., largest changes in MVC-KE: −26 > −20 > −14%; YYIR1: −31 > −26 > −11%). Many of the variables did not recover to the baseline for 5 d after six LISTs. These suggest that fixture congestion induces greater muscle damage and performance decline than a single match. Full article
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Article
Match Day-1 Reactive Strength Index and In-Game Peak Speed in Collegiate Division I Basketball
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3259; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18063259 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 861
Abstract
Basketball is a game of repeated jumps and sprints. The objective of this study was to examine whether repeated jump assessments the day prior to competition (MD-1) could discriminate between fast and slow in-game performances the following day. Seven NCAA Division I Basketball [...] Read more.
Basketball is a game of repeated jumps and sprints. The objective of this study was to examine whether repeated jump assessments the day prior to competition (MD-1) could discriminate between fast and slow in-game performances the following day. Seven NCAA Division I Basketball athletes (4 guards and 3 forwards; 20 ± 1.2 years, 1.95 ± 0.09 m, and 94 ± 15 kg) performed a repeated-hop test on a force platform before and after each practice MD-1 to assess Reactive Strength Index (RSI) and Jump Height (JH). Peak speed was recorded during games via spatial tracking cameras. A median split analysis classified performance into FAST and SLOW relative to individual in-game peak speed. Paired T-tests were performed to assess post- to pre-practices differences. An independent sample T-test was used to assess the differences between FAST and SLOW performances. Cohen’s d effect sizes (ES) were calculated to determine the magnitude of the differences. Statistical significance was set for p ≤ 0.05. Post-practice RSI and JH were significantly higher than pre-training values prior to the FAST but not the SLOW in-game performances. A significant difference was found for MD-1 RSI when comparing FAST and SLOW conditions (p = 0.01; ES = 0.62). No significant between-group differences were obtained in JH (p = 0.07; ES = 0.45). These findings could have implications on the facilitation of reactive strength qualities in conjunction with match-play. Practitioners should evaluate the placement of stimuli to potentiate athlete readiness for competition. Full article
Article
Data Mining to Select Relevant Variables Influencing External and Internal Workload of Elite Blind 5-a-Side Soccer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3155; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18063155 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
(1) Background: Data mining has turned essential when exploring a large amount of information in performance analysis in sports. This study aimed to select the most relevant variables influencing the external and internal load in top-elite 5-a-side soccer (Sa5) using a data mining [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Data mining has turned essential when exploring a large amount of information in performance analysis in sports. This study aimed to select the most relevant variables influencing the external and internal load in top-elite 5-a-side soccer (Sa5) using a data mining model considering some contextual indicators as match result, body mass index (BMI), scoring rate and age. (2) Methods: A total of 50 top-elite visually impaired soccer players (age 30.86 ± 11.2 years, weight 77.64 ± 9.78 kg, height 178.48 ± 7.9 cm) were monitored using magnetic, angular and rate gyroscope (MARG) sensors during an international Sa5 congested fixture tournament.; (3) Results: Fifteen external and internal load variables were extracted from a total of 49 time-related and peak variables derived from the MARG sensors using a principal component analysis as the most used data mining technique. The principal component analysis (PCA) model explained 80% of total variance using seven principal components. In contrast, the first principal component of the match was defined by jumps, take off by 24.8% of the total variance. Blind players usually performed a higher number of accelerations per min when losing a match. Scoring players execute higher DistanceExplosive and Distance21–24 km/h. And the younger players presented higher HRAVG and AccMax. (4) Conclusions: The influence of some contextual variables on external and internal load during top elite Sa5 official matches should be addressed by coaches, athletes, and medical staff. The PCA seems to be a useful statistical technique to select those relevant variables representing the team’s external and internal load. Besides, as a data reduction method, PCA allows administrating individualized training loads considering those relevant variables defining team load behavior. Full article
Article
Comparison of Running Distance Variables and Body Load in Competitions Based on Their Results: A Full-Season Study of Professional Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 2077; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18042077 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1319
Abstract
The aims of this study were to compare the external workload in win, draw and defeat matches and to compare first and second halves in the Iranian Premier League. Observations on individual match performance measures were undertaken on thirteen outfield players (age, 28.6 [...] Read more.
The aims of this study were to compare the external workload in win, draw and defeat matches and to compare first and second halves in the Iranian Premier League. Observations on individual match performance measures were undertaken on thirteen outfield 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) competing in the Iranian Premier League. High-speed activities selected for analysis included total duration of matches, total distance, average speed, high-speed running distance, sprint distance, maximal speed and GPS-derived body load data. In general, there were higher workloads in win matches when compared with draw or defeat for all variables; higher workloads in the first halves of win and draw matches; higher total distance, high-speed running distance and body load in the second half in defeat matches. Specifically, lower average speed was found in matches with a win than with draw or defeat (p < 0.05). Sprint distance was higher in the first half of win than defeat matches and high-speed running distance was lower in draw than defeat matches (all, p < 0.05). In addition, first half presented higher values for all variables, regardless of the match result. Specifically, high-speed running distance was higher in the first half of matches with a win (p = 0.08) and total distance was higher in the first half of matches with a draw (p = 0.012). In conclusion, match result influences the external workload demands and must be considered in subsequent training sessions and matches. Full article
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Article
Greater Power but Not Strength Gains Using Flywheel Versus Equivolumed Traditional Strength Training in Junior Basketball Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1181; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18031181 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1353
Abstract
The main aim of the present study was to compare the effects of flywheel strength training and traditional strength training on fitness attributes. Thirty-six well trained junior basketball players (n = 36; 17.58 ± 0.50 years) were recruited and randomly allocated into: Flywheel [...] Read more.
The main aim of the present study was to compare the effects of flywheel strength training and traditional strength training on fitness attributes. Thirty-six well trained junior basketball players (n = 36; 17.58 ± 0.50 years) were recruited and randomly allocated into: Flywheel group (FST; n = 12), traditional strength training group (TST; n = 12) and control group (CON; n = 12). All groups attended 5 basketball practices and one official match a week during the study period. Experimental groups additionally participated in the eight-week, 1–2 d/w equivolume intervention conducted using a flywheel device (inertia = 0.075 kg·m−2) for FST or free weights (80%1 RM) for TST. Pre-to post changes in lower limb isometric strength (ISOMET), 5 and 20 m sprint time (SPR5m and SPR20m), countermovement jump height (CMJ) and change of direction ability (t-test) were assessed with analyses of variance (3 × 2 ANOVA). Significant group-by-time interaction was found for ISOMET (F = 6.40; p = 0.000), CMJ (F = 7.45; p = 0.001), SPR5m (F = 7.45; p = 0.010) and T test (F = 10.46; p = 0.000). The results showed a significantly higher improvement in CMJ (p = 0.006; 11.7% vs. 6.8%), SPR5m (p = 0.001; 10.3% vs. 5.9%) and t-test (p = 0.045; 2.4% vs. 1.5%) for FST compared to the TST group. Simultaneously, th FST group had higher improvement in ISOMET (p = 0.014; 18.7% vs. 2.9%), CMJ (p = 0.000; 11.7% vs. 0.3%), SPR5m (p = 0.000; 10.3% vs. 3.4%) and t-test (p = 0.000; 2.4% vs. 0.6%) compared to the CON group. Players from the TST group showed better results in CMJ (p = 0.006; 6.8% vs. 0.3%) and t-test (p = 0.018; 1.5% vs. 0.6%) compared to players from the CON group. No significant group-by-time interaction was found for sprint 20 m (F = 2.52; p = 0.088). Eight weeks of flywheel training (1–2 sessions per week) performed at maximum concentric intensity induces superior improvements in CMJ, 5 m sprint time and change of direction ability than equivolumed traditional weight training in well trained junior basketball players. Accordingly, coaches and trainers could be advised to use flywheel training for developing power related performance attributes in young basketball players. Full article
Article
Accelerometry-Workload Indices Concerning Different Levels of Participation during Congested Fixture Periods in Professional Soccer: A Pilot Study Conducted over a Full Season
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18031137 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1150
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyze the variations of acute load (AL), acute: chronic workload ratio (ACWR), training monotony (TM), and training strain (TS) of accelerometry-based GPS measures in players who started in three matches (S3M), two matches (S2M), and one [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyze the variations of acute load (AL), acute: chronic workload ratio (ACWR), training monotony (TM), and training strain (TS) of accelerometry-based GPS measures in players who started in three matches (S3M), two matches (S2M), and one match (S1M) during congested weeks. Nineteen elite professional male players from a Portuguese team (age: 26.5 ± 4.3 years) were monitored daily using global positioning systems (GPSs) over a full season (45 weeks). Accelerometry-derived measures of high metabolic load distance (HMLD), high accelerations (HA), and high decelerations (HD) were collected during each training session and match. Seven congested weeks were classified throughout the season, and the participation of each player in matches played during these weeks was codified. The workload indices of AL (classified as ACWR, TM, and TS) were calculated weekly for each player. The AL of HMLD was significantly greater for S2M than S1M (difference = 42%; p = 0.002; d = 0.977) and for S3M than S1M (difference = 44%; p = 0.001; d = 1.231). Similarly, the AL of HA was significantly greater for S2M than S1M (difference = 25%; p = 0.023; d = 0.735). The TM of HD was significantly greater for S2M than S3M (difference = 25%; p = 0.002; d = 0.774). Accelerometry-based measures were dependent on congested fixtures. S2M had the greatest TS values, while S3M had the greatest TM. Full article
Article
Usefulness of Linear Mixed-Effects Models to Assess the Relationship between Objective and Subjective Internal Load in Team Sports
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 392; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020392 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1393
Abstract
Internal load can be objectively measured by heart rate-based models, such as Edwards’ summated heart rate zones, or subjectively by session rating of perceived exertion. The relationship between internal loads assessed via heart rate-based models and session rating of perceived exertion is usually [...] Read more.
Internal load can be objectively measured by heart rate-based models, such as Edwards’ summated heart rate zones, or subjectively by session rating of perceived exertion. The relationship between internal loads assessed via heart rate-based models and session rating of perceived exertion is usually studied through simple correlations, although the Linear Mixed Model could represent a more appropriate statistical procedure to deal with intrasubject variability. This study aimed to compare conventional correlations and the Linear Mixed Model to assess the relationships between objective and subjective measures of internal load in team sports. Thirteen male youth beach handball players (15.9 ± 0.3 years) were monitored (14 training sessions; 7 official matches). Correlation coefficients were used to correlate the objective and subjective internal load. The Linear Mixed Model was used to model the relationship between objective and subjective measures of internal load data by considering each player individual response as random effect. Random intercepts were used and then random slopes were added. The likelihood-ratio test was used to compare statistical models. The correlation coefficient for the overall relationship between the objective and subjective internal data was very large (r = 0.74; ρ = 0.78). The Linear Mixed Model using both random slopes and random intercepts better explained (p < 0.001) the relationship between internal load measures. Researchers are encouraged to apply the Linear Mixed Models rather than correlation to analyze internal load relationships in team sports since it allows for the consideration of the individuality of players. Full article
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Article
The Relationship between Dynamic Balance and Jumping Tests among Adolescent Amateur Rugby Players. A Preliminary Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 312; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18010312 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1367
Abstract
Rugby is a demanding contact sport. In light of research, poor balance, reduced jumping ability, muscle strength, and incorrect landing patterns might contribute to the increased risk of injury in athletes. Investigating the relationship between tests assessing these abilities might not only allow [...] Read more.
Rugby is a demanding contact sport. In light of research, poor balance, reduced jumping ability, muscle strength, and incorrect landing patterns might contribute to the increased risk of injury in athletes. Investigating the relationship between tests assessing these abilities might not only allow for the skillful programming of preventive training but also helps in assessing the risk of injury to athletes. Thus, the main purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between dynamic balance, vertical and horizontal jumps, and jump-landings movement patterns. Thirty-one healthy amateur adolescent rugby players (age: 14.3 ± 1.6 years, height 171.4 ± 9.7 cm, body mass 80 ± 26 kg) participated in the study. Data were collected by the Y-balance Test (YBT), Counter Movement Jump (CMJ), Single Leg Hop for Distance (SLHD), and Landing Error Score System (LESS). Significant positive correlations were found between SLHD both legs (SLHDb) and YBT Composite both legs (COMb) (r = 0.51, p = 0.0037) and between SLHDb and CMJ (r = 0.72, p < 0.0001). A relationship was also observed between the CMJ and YBT COMb test (r = 0.51, p = 0.006). Moderate positive correlations were found between the dominant legs in SLHD and the posterolateral (r = 0.40, p = 0.027), posteromedial (r = 0.43, p = 0.014), and composite (r = 0.48, p = 0.006) directions of the YBT. These results indicate that variables that are dependent on each other can support in the assessment of injury-risk and in enhancing sports performance of young athletes. Full article
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Article
Influence of Players’ Maximum Running Speed on the Team’s Ranking Position at the End of the Spanish LaLiga
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8815; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238815 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 939
Abstract
The maximum running speed that a football player can attain during match play has become one of the most popular variables to assess a player’s physical talent. However, the influence of a player’s maximum running speed on football performance has not yet been [...] Read more.
The maximum running speed that a football player can attain during match play has become one of the most popular variables to assess a player’s physical talent. However, the influence of a player’s maximum running speed on football performance has not yet been properly investigated. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of a player’s peak/maximum running speed on the team’s ranking position at the end of a national league. A second aim was to investigate differences in maximum running speed among playing positions. To fulfil this aim, the peak/maximum running speeds of 475 male professional football players were recorded for 38 fixtures of the Spanish first-division league (LaLiga) from the 2017–2018 season (7838 data points). Players’ peak running speeds in each match were assessed with a validated multicamera tracking system and associated software (Mediacoach®). Players’ maximum running speed was established as the fastest running speed they attained during the entire season. Most players (53.5% of the total) had a maximum running speed in the range of 32.0–33.9 km/h, with only three players (0.6%) with a maximum running speed of over 35.0 km/h. Overall, forwards were faster than defenders and both types of players were faster than midfielders (33.03 ± 1.35 > 32.72 ± 1.32 > 32.08 ± 1.63 km/h; p < 0.001). There was no association between teams’ maximum running speed and ranking position at the end of the league (r = −0.356, p = 0.135). The correlations between teams’ maximum speeds and ranking position were low for defenders (r = −0.334, p = 0.163), midfielders (r = 0.125, p = 0.610), and forwards (r = −0.065, p = 0.791). As a result, the variance in the ranking position at the end of the season explained by a team’s maximum speed was of only 7.5%. Finally, as an average for all teams, players’ peak running speeds remained stable at ~30.7 ± 0.6 km/h throughout the whole season. These results suggest that successful and less successful football teams have squads with players able to obtain similar maximum running speeds during match play throughout the season. Hence, players’ maximum running speeds have a poor association with the team’s ranking position at the end of the Spanish professional national league. Full article
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Article
Heart Rate Variability Responses to a Training Cycle in Female Youth Rowers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8391; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228391 - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 834
Abstract
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a reputable estimate of cardiac autonomic function used across multiple athletic populations to document the cardiac autonomic responses to sport demands. However, there is a knowledge gap of HRV responses in female youth rowers. Thus, the purpose of [...] Read more.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a reputable estimate of cardiac autonomic function used across multiple athletic populations to document the cardiac autonomic responses to sport demands. However, there is a knowledge gap of HRV responses in female youth rowers. Thus, the purpose of this study was to measure HRV weekly, over a 15-week training period, covering pre-season and up to competition in youth female rowers, in order to understand the physiological response to long-term training and discern how fluctuations in HRV may relate to performance in this population. Measures of heart rate and heart rate variability were recorded before training each Friday over the monitoring period in seven athletes. Analysis of heart rate variability focused on time domain indices, the standard deviation of all normal to normal R–R wave intervals, and the root mean square of successive differences as markers of cardiac parasympathetic modulation. Training load was quantified by multiplying the rating of perceived exertion of the weeks training and training duration. A decrease was identified in cardiac parasympathetic modulation as the season progressed (Effect Size (Cohen’s d) = −0.34 to −0.8, weeks 6 and 11–15), despite no significant relationship between training load and heart rate variability. Factors outside of training may further compound the reduction in heart rate variability, with further monitoring of external stressors (e.g., school) in adolescent athletes. Full article
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Article
Effects of Unloaded vs. Ankle-Loaded Plyometric Training on the Physical Fitness of U-17 Male Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7877; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17217877 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
The aim of this study was to compare the impact of two differing plyometric training programs (loaded plyometrics (with 2.5% of body mass placed above the ankle joint) vs. unloaded plyometrics), performed biweekly for 10 weeks, on the physical fitness of elite junior [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to compare the impact of two differing plyometric training programs (loaded plyometrics (with 2.5% of body mass placed above the ankle joint) vs. unloaded plyometrics), performed biweekly for 10 weeks, on the physical fitness of elite junior male soccer players. Participants aged 16.0 ± 0.5 years were randomly assigned between unloaded plyometrics (UP; n = 12), loaded plyometrics (LP; n = 14) and control (C; n = 12) groups. Two-way analyses of performance (group x time) were assessed by 40-m sprint times; 9–3–6–3–9 m sprints with 180° turns (S180°); 9–3–6–3–9 m sprints with backward and forward running (SBF); and 4 × 5 m sprints (S4 × 5 m); four jump tests; measures of static and dynamic balance; repeated change of direction tests and the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test. Both LP and UP enhanced sprinting performance relative to C (p < 0.05) but performance increased more in LP relative to UP (p < 0.05) in all sprints except 40 m. Change of direction times were also significantly shortened by LP relative to UP (p < 0.05) and C (p < 0.01) in all tests, with no significant differences between UP and C. Jumps heights increased similarly in both LP and UP relative to C (p < 0.05), with no significance between LP and UP. LP and UP also enhanced repeated change of direction scores relative to C (p < 0.01) with greater changes in LP than in UP (p < 0.01). Finally, LP enhanced some balance scores relative to UP (p < 0.05) and C (p < 0.05). We conclude that the introduction of 10 weeks of in-season loaded plyometrics into the regimen of U17 male soccer players yields gains in several physical performance scores relative to either unloaded plyometrics or the control training regimen. Full article
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Article
Relationship between Anthropometric Parameters and Throwing Speed in Amateur Male Handball Players at Different Ages
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7022; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17197022 - 25 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1107
Abstract
The objectives of this study were: (i) to analyse anthropometric parameters and throwing speed from seven meters in amateur male handball players of different ages; (ii) to know the relationship between anthropometric parameters and throwing. One hundred seventy-six male handball players (16.5 ± [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were: (i) to analyse anthropometric parameters and throwing speed from seven meters in amateur male handball players of different ages; (ii) to know the relationship between anthropometric parameters and throwing. One hundred seventy-six male handball players (16.5 ± 5.1 years old) participated in the study, classified according to their age: senior (n = 35), U18 (n = 30), U16 (n = 37), U14 (n = 50) and U12 (n = 24). All participants were evaluated by anthropometric measurements (height, weight, body mass index, arm span, hand width) and throwing speed from 7 m standing. A one-way analysis of variance with a Bonferroni post hoc test was used to establish the differences between teams. Pearson’s simple correlation coefficients were calculated between analyse anthropometric parameters and throwing speed. Multiple linear regression was used to predict the throwing speed. Only BMI was related with throwing speed in all age groups (0.506 > r < 0.813, p < 0.05). Throwing speed was predicted (24–72%) with only one or two variables in each model. The selected variables were: BMI, arm span in U16 model and height U14 model, and the BMI, arm span and height are proved to be good predictors of TS in male handball players. Full article
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Article
Comparisons of Accelerometer Variables Training Monotony and Strain of Starters and Non-Starters: A Full-Season Study in Professional Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6547; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17186547 - 09 Sep 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 1140
Abstract
The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to describe weekly average values for training monotony (TM) and training strain (TS) and their variations across the full soccer season, based on the number of accelerations and decelerations; (2) to analyze the differences between [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was two-fold: (1) to describe weekly average values for training monotony (TM) and training strain (TS) and their variations across the full soccer season, based on the number of accelerations and decelerations; (2) to analyze the differences between starter and non-starter players on weekly average TM and TS values for the pre-season and three in-season periods. In total, 21 professional soccer players were evaluated over 48 weeks during the full-season. The TM and TS were calculated based on the number of accelerations and decelerations at zone 1, zone 2 and zone 3, respectively. The results revealed that starters presented higher values compared to non-starters throughout the full season for all variables analyzed (all, p < 0.05). Generally, there were higher values in the pre-season. Specifically, accelerations at zones 1, 2 and 3 revealed moderate to very large significance of the starters compared to non-starters over the full-season. Decelerations at zone 1, 2 and 3 presented moderate to nearly optimally significant greater weekly averages for starters compared to non-starters during the full season. In conclusion, the TM and TS values were higher for starters compared to non-starters through the full-season, which confirms that the training session does not provide a sufficient load to non-starter soccer players during the full-season. Full article
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Article
Power, Muscle, and Take-Off Asymmetry in Young Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6040; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17176040 - 19 Aug 2020
Viewed by 985
Abstract
(1) Background: The objective of the study was to check the relationship between laterality, amount of muscle mass (MM), and selected strength parameters on lower extremities and assessment of asymmetry like a result of training. (2) Methods: The screened sample consisted of soccer [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The objective of the study was to check the relationship between laterality, amount of muscle mass (MM), and selected strength parameters on lower extremities and assessment of asymmetry like a result of training. (2) Methods: The screened sample consisted of soccer players (n = 65, age = 16.0 ± 1.2 years). The legs were assessed for MM, height of reflection on a force plate, and power over 30 s Wingate anaerobic test (WAnT). The relationships between the individual parameters and age dependence were assessed using a correlation analysis. The differences between the dominant and non-dominant leg were assessed using the t-test. (3) Results: A relationship between the jump height and the mean 30 s power in WAnT (r = 0.375, p ˂ 0.01) and between the amount of MM and the absolute power of the individual legs in WAnT (r = 0.695–0.832, p ˂ 0.01) was proved. A relationship between the take-off force and the MM, or between the MM and the relative power during a velocity force load was not found. (4) Conclusions: The amount of MM in young soccer players does not affect take-off force or strength power in WAnT. The more specific the movement is, the lower the effect on the achieved power output of the concerned MM. Differences in the performance between the dominant and non-dominant leg decrease with duration of the training. Full article
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Article
Repeated Sprint Ability Demands in U16 to U19 Highly Trained Handball Players Concerning Playing Position
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5959; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17165959 - 17 Aug 2020
Viewed by 834
Abstract
The aim of the study was to determine anaerobic capacity and characterize changes in repeated sprint ability (RSA) within youth elite handball players. For this study, 142 male athletes (17.1 ± 0.9 years) were recruited from a handball sports high school and performed [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to determine anaerobic capacity and characterize changes in repeated sprint ability (RSA) within youth elite handball players. For this study, 142 male athletes (17.1 ± 0.9 years) were recruited from a handball sports high school and performed the RSA test on a cycle ergometer, including five 6 s all-out efforts separated by 24 s passive breaks. Maximal (Pmax) and mean (Pmean) power, highest (Wmax), and total work (Wtot) as well as power (Pdec) and work (Wdec) decrement were measured. Significant differences in RSA were noted in relation to age (greater values of Pmax, Pmean, Wtot, Wdec, and Pdec in U19 than U17 as well as greater values of Pmax, Wtot, Wmax, Wdec, and Pdec in U19 than U16 (p < 0.05)) and playing position (wing players had greater Wtot than pivot, 269 vs. 243 (J/kg) (p < 0.05), and wing players differed significantly in absolute and relative power from athletes of other positions). RSA depends on playing position and age in groups of youth handball players and the RSA test can be helpful in the selection of athletes for a playing position. The article introduces normative values for elite youth handball players, empowering coaches in the evaluation of anaerobic abilities and selection. Full article
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Article
Effects of Match-Related Contextual Factors on Weekly Load Responses in Professional Brazilian Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5163; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17145163 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
This study aimed to quantify the weekly training load distributions according to match location, opponent standard, and match outcome in professional soccer players. Rate-of-perceived-exertion-based training load (sRPE) and distance- and accelerometry-based measures were monitored daily during 52 training sessions and 11 matches performed [...] Read more.
This study aimed to quantify the weekly training load distributions according to match location, opponent standard, and match outcome in professional soccer players. Rate-of-perceived-exertion-based training load (sRPE) and distance- and accelerometry-based measures were monitored daily during 52 training sessions and 11 matches performed by 23 players. Athletes who played ≥ 60 min during non-congested weeks were considered for data analysis. The training days close to away matches (e.g., one day before the match = MD-1) presented greater sRPE, distance-based volume measures, and mechanical work (player load) compared to the training days close to home matches (p = 0.001–0.002; effect size (ES) = medium−large). The most distant days of the home matches (e.g., five days before the match = MD-5) presented higher internal and external loads than before away matches (p = 0.002–0.003, ES = medium). Higher sRPE, distance-based volume measures, and mechanical work were found during the middle of the week (e.g., three days before the match, MD-3) before playing against bottom vs. medium-ranking teams (p = 0.001–0.01, ES = small−medium). These metrics were lower in MD-5 before matches against bottom vs. medium-ranking opponents (p = 0.001, ES = medium). Higher values of all external load measures were observed during the training session before winning matches (MD-1) compared to a draw or loss (p < 0.001–0.001, ES = medium−large). In conclusion, the training load distribution throughout the week varied considerably according to match-contextual factors. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Effects of Strength vs. Plyometric Training Programs on Vertical Jumping, Linear Sprint and Change of Direction Speed Performance in Female Soccer Players: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 401; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020401 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2520
Abstract
The main purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to compare the effects of strength training (ST) and plyometric training (PT) on vertical jump, linear sprint and change of direction (COD) performance in female soccer players. A systematic search of the PubMed, [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to compare the effects of strength training (ST) and plyometric training (PT) on vertical jump, linear sprint and change of direction (COD) performance in female soccer players. A systematic search of the PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar and SportDiscus databases revealed 12 studies satisfying the inclusion criteria. The inverse-variance random-effects model for meta-analyses was used. Effect sizes (ES) were represented by the standardized mean difference and presented alongside 95% confidence intervals (CI). The magnitude of the main effect was small to moderate (vertical jump (ES 0.53 (95% CI—0.11, 0.95), Z = 2.47 (p = 0.01); linear sprint (ES −0.66 (95% CI—2.03, −0.21), Z = 2.20 (p = 0.03); COD (ES −0.36 (95% CI—0.68, −0.03), Z = 2.17 (p = 0.03)). Subgroup analyses were performed (i.e., ST and PT duration, frequency, session duration and total number of sessions), revealing no significant subgroup differences (p = 0.12–0.88). In conclusion, PT provides better benefits than ST to improve vertical jump, linear sprint and COD performance in female soccer players. However, significant limitations in the current literature prevent assured PT and ST prescription recommendations being made. Full article
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