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Sports, Volume 12, Issue 2 (February 2024) – 25 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This paper presents a study focusing on the training characteristics and performance markers of elite young female endurance athletes, specifically three U23 triathletes. The aim was to analyze the training load, anthropometric values, and performance evolution over the course of the 2021 season. Training intensity distribution was highlighted using the triphasic model, while training load was based on the ECO model. The athletes showed improvements in VO2max, power, speed, and swimming speed associated with lactate thresholds. They maintained a high weekly training volume, with a polarized training intensity distribution. The study suggests a combination of traditional and block periodization models for optimal performance enhancement. View this paper
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10 pages, 377 KiB  
Article
Maturity Status and Relative Age of Elite Taekwondo Youth Competitors—Case Study on Croatian National Team
by Ana Kezic, Matej Babic and Drazen Cular
Sports 2024, 12(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020062 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 972
Abstract
This study examines the maturity status and relative age effect in elite youth taekwondo Croatian National Team athletes. Measurements of biological age, maturity offset, and body composition were taken from a sample of 17 junior athletes. Differences in maturity status were observed among [...] Read more.
This study examines the maturity status and relative age effect in elite youth taekwondo Croatian National Team athletes. Measurements of biological age, maturity offset, and body composition were taken from a sample of 17 junior athletes. Differences in maturity status were observed among athletes of the same chronological age, with variations in sitting height and age at peak height velocity. Male athletes generally exhibited higher values in body height, percentage of body fat, muscle mass, and total body water. No significant relative age effect was found. These findings highlight the importance of considering individual biological age and maturity status for talent development and training program adjustments. Further research involving athletes from different countries is recommended to validate these results and enhance the understanding of youth taekwondo athlete development. Full article
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18 pages, 2619 KiB  
Article
Analyzing Injury Patterns in Climbing: A Comprehensive Study of Risk Factors
by Markéta Kovářová, Petr Pyszko and Kateřina Kikalová
Sports 2024, 12(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020061 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1846
Abstract
Climbing, a sport with increasing popularity, poses diverse risks and injury patterns across its various disciplines. This study evaluates the incidence and nature of climbing-related injuries, focusing on how different disciplines and climbers’ personal characteristics affect these injuries. Data on injury incidence, severity, [...] Read more.
Climbing, a sport with increasing popularity, poses diverse risks and injury patterns across its various disciplines. This study evaluates the incidence and nature of climbing-related injuries, focusing on how different disciplines and climbers’ personal characteristics affect these injuries. Data on injury incidence, severity, and consequences, as well as climbers’ personal attributes, were collected through a questionnaire and analyzed using generalized linear models and generalized linear mixed models, Cochran–Armitage tests, and multivariate analysis. Our findings indicate a direct correlation between time spent on bouldering and lead climbing and increased injury frequency, while injury incidence decreases with time in traditional climbing. Interestingly, personal characteristics showed no significant impact on injury incidence or severity. However, distinct patterns emerged in individual disciplines regarding the recent injuries in which age and weight of climbers play a role. While the phase of occurrence and duration of consequences show no significant variation across disciplines, the intensity of the required treatment and causes of injury differ. This research provides insights into climbing injuries’ complex nature, highlighting the need for tailored preventive strategies across climbing disciplines. It underscores the necessity for further investigation into the factors contributing to climbing injuries, advocating for more targeted injury prevention and safety measures in this evolving sport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sport Injuries, Rehabilitation and New Technologies)
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13 pages, 964 KiB  
Article
Biomechanical Factors Predisposing to Knee Injuries in Junior Female Basketball Players
by Néstor Pérez Mallada, María Jesús Martínez Beltrán, María Ana Saenz Nuño, Ana S. F. Ribeiro, Ignacio de Miguel Villa, Carlos Miso Molina, Ana María Echeverri Tabares, Andrés Paramio Santamaría and Hugo Lamas Sánchez
Sports 2024, 12(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020060 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1422
Abstract
This cross-sectional observational study aims to determine isokinetic normality data at different speeds, and isometric data of ankle and knee joints, in healthy basketball players aged 15–16 years old. The participants were recruited through non-probabilistic convenience sampling. Sociodemographic, anthropometric, and biomechanical variables were [...] Read more.
This cross-sectional observational study aims to determine isokinetic normality data at different speeds, and isometric data of ankle and knee joints, in healthy basketball players aged 15–16 years old. The participants were recruited through non-probabilistic convenience sampling. Sociodemographic, anthropometric, and biomechanical variables were collected. The study involved 42 participants. Right-leg dominance was higher in women (85.7%) than in men (78.6%). Men had a higher weight, height, and body mass index compared to women. Statistically significant differences were observed between sex and height (p < 0.001). Significant differences were found between sexes in knee flexor and extensor strength at different isokinetic speeds (30°, 120°, and 180°/s), except for the maximum peak strength knee flexion at 180°/s in the right leg. In the ankle, the variables inversion, eversion, and work strength values at different isokinetic speeds and full RoM, by sex, were not significantly different, except for the right (p = 0.004) and the left (p = 0.035) ankle full RoM. The study found lower knee extensor strength in women, indicating the need to improve knee flexor/extensor strength in women to match that of men, as seen in other joints. The results can guide the development of preventive and therapeutic interventions for lower limb injuries in basketball players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sport Injuries, Rehabilitation and New Technologies)
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19 pages, 2777 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Physical and Mental Fatigue on Time Perception
by Reza Goudini, Ali Zahiri, Shahab Alizadeh, Benjamin Drury, Saman Hadjizadeh Anvar, Abdolhamid Daneshjoo and David G. Behm
Sports 2024, 12(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020059 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1331
Abstract
The perception of time holds a foundational significance regarding how we elucidate the chronological progression of events. While some studies have examined exercise effects on time perception during exercise periods, there are no studies investigating the effects of exercise fatigue on time perception [...] Read more.
The perception of time holds a foundational significance regarding how we elucidate the chronological progression of events. While some studies have examined exercise effects on time perception during exercise periods, there are no studies investigating the effects of exercise fatigue on time perception after an exercise intervention. This study investigated the effects of physical and mental fatigue on time estimates over 30 s immediately post-exercise and 6 min post-test. Seventeen volunteers were subjected to three conditions: physical fatigue, mental fatigue, and control. All participants completed a familiarization session and were subjected to three 30 min experimental conditions (control, physical fatigue (cycling at 65% peak power output), and mental fatigue (Stroop task)) on separate days. Time perception, heart rate, and body temperature were recorded pre-test; at the start of the test; 5, 10, 20, 30 seconds into the interventions; post-test; and at the 6 min follow-up. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was recorded four times during the intervention. Physical fatigue resulted in a significant (p = 0.001) underestimation of time compared to mental fatigue and control conditions at the post-test and follow-up, with no significant differences between mental fatigue and control conditions. Heart rate, body temperature, and RPE were significantly (all p = 0.001) higher with physical fatigue compared to mental fatigue and control conditions during the intervention and post-test. This study demonstrated that cycling-induced fatigue led to time underestimation compared to mental fatigue and control conditions. It is crucial to consider that physical fatigue has the potential to lengthen an individual’s perception of time estimates in sports or work environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance)
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14 pages, 1920 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between Dynamic Balance, Jumping Ability, and Agility with 100 m Sprinting Performance in Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities
by Ghada Jouira, Dan Iulian Alexe, Dragoș Ioan Tohănean, Cristina Ioana Alexe, Răzvan Andrei Tomozei and Sonia Sahli
Sports 2024, 12(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020058 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1302
Abstract
Sprinting is a competitive event in athletics that requires a combination of speed, power, agility, and balance. This study investigated the relationship between dynamic balance, jumping ability, and agility with 100 m sprinting performance in athletes with intellectual disabilities, addressing an underexplored connection. [...] Read more.
Sprinting is a competitive event in athletics that requires a combination of speed, power, agility, and balance. This study investigated the relationship between dynamic balance, jumping ability, and agility with 100 m sprinting performance in athletes with intellectual disabilities, addressing an underexplored connection. A sample of 27 sprinters with intellectual disabilities participated in this study and completed 100 m sprint and various tests, including the Y Balance Test (YBT), the Crossover hop test, squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), and t-test to evaluate their dynamic balance, jumping ability, and agility, respectively. The findings revealed significant negative correlations between the YBT, Crossover hop test, SJ, and CMJ and 100 m sprint performance (r range: −0.41 to −0.79, p < 0.05). Regression analysis identified these variables as significant predictors (R2 = 0.69; p < 0.01). SJ exhibited the strongest association with 100 m sprint performance, (R2 = 0.62, p < 0.01). The agility t-test did not show a significant association. The combination of the YBT ANT and SJ demonstrated a predictive capability for 100 m sprint performance (R2 = 0.67, p < 0.001). In conclusion, this study revealed predictive capabilities between dynamic balance, jumping ability, and 100 m sprint performance in sprinters with intellectual disabilities. Full article
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22 pages, 357 KiB  
Review
Cognitive Fitness: Harnessing the Strength of Exerkines for Aging and Metabolic Challenges
by Mona Saheli, Mandana Moshrefi, Masoumeh Baghalishahi, Amirhossein Mohkami, Yaser Firouzi, Katsuhiko Suzuki and Kayvan Khoramipour
Sports 2024, 12(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020057 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1273
Abstract
Addressing cognitive impairment (CI) represents a significant global challenge in health and social care. Evidence suggests that aging and metabolic disorders increase the risk of CI, yet promisingly, physical exercise has been identified as a potential ameliorative factor. Specifically, there is a growing [...] Read more.
Addressing cognitive impairment (CI) represents a significant global challenge in health and social care. Evidence suggests that aging and metabolic disorders increase the risk of CI, yet promisingly, physical exercise has been identified as a potential ameliorative factor. Specifically, there is a growing understanding that exercise-induced cognitive improvement may be mediated by molecules known as exerkines. This review delves into the potential impact of aging and metabolic disorders on CI, elucidating the mechanisms through which various exerkines may bolster cognitive function in this context. Additionally, the discussion extends to the role of exerkines in facilitating stem cell mobilization, offering a potential avenue for improving cognitive impairment. Full article
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11 pages, 1031 KiB  
Article
The Role of Concussion History and Biological Sex on Pupillary Light Reflex Metrics in Adolescent Rugby Players: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Connor McKee, Mark Matthews, Alan Rankin and Chris Bleakley
Sports 2024, 12(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020056 - 11 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1141
Abstract
Background: Concussion examination is based primarily on clinical evaluation and symptomatic reporting. Pupillary light reflex (PLR) metrics may provide an objective physiological marker to inform concussion diagnosis and recovery, but few studies have assessed PLR, and normative data are lacking, particularly for adolescents. [...] Read more.
Background: Concussion examination is based primarily on clinical evaluation and symptomatic reporting. Pupillary light reflex (PLR) metrics may provide an objective physiological marker to inform concussion diagnosis and recovery, but few studies have assessed PLR, and normative data are lacking, particularly for adolescents. Aim: To capture PLR data in adolescent rugby players and examine the effects of concussion history and biological sex. Design: Cross-sectional. Methods: Male and female adolescent rugby union players aged 16 to 18 years were recruited at the start of the 2022–2023 playing season. PLR was recorded using a handheld pupillometer which provided seven different metrics relating to pupil diameter, constriction/dilation latency, and velocity. Data were analysed using a series of 2 × 2 ANOVAs to examine the main effects of independent variables: biological sex, concussion history, and their interactions, using adjusted p-values (p < 0.05). Results: 149 participants (75% male) were included. A total of 42% reported at least one previous concussion. Most metrics were unaffected by the independent variables. There were however significant main effects for concussion history (F = 4.11 (1); p = 0.05) and sex (F = 5.42 (1); p = 0.02) in end pupil diameters, and a main effect for sex in initial pupil diameters (F = 4.45 (1); p = 0.04). Although no significant interaction effects were found, on average, females with a concussion history presented with greater pupillary diameters and velocity metrics, with many pairwise comparisons showing large effects (SMD > 0.8). Conclusions: Pupillary diameters in adolescent athletes were significantly affected by concussion history and sex. The most extreme PLR metrics were recorded in females with a history of concussion (higher pupillary diameters and velocities). This highlights the importance of establishing baseline PLR metrics prior to interpretation of the PLR post-concussion. Long-standing PLR abnormalities post-concussion may reflect ongoing autonomic nervous system dysfunction. This warrants further investigation in longitudinal studies. Full article
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14 pages, 828 KiB  
Article
The Acute and Long-Term Effects of Olympic Karate Kata Training on Structural and Functional Changes in the Body Posture of Polish National Team Athletes
by Eliza Gaweł and Anna Zwierzchowska
Sports 2024, 12(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020055 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1179
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess the acute and long-term effects of karate kata training on body posture (range of motion (ROM)) and musculoskeletal pain in elite karate athletes. Twelve kata athletes from the Polish national team participated in the study. [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess the acute and long-term effects of karate kata training on body posture (range of motion (ROM)) and musculoskeletal pain in elite karate athletes. Twelve kata athletes from the Polish national team participated in the study. A cross-sectional study protocol was used, with direct participatory observation (NMQ-7/6 questionnaire, spinal curvatures and spinal ROM testing, ROM of joints) and natural experiment (225 min of kata training) methods of assessment. Age and number of weekly kata sessions were found to correlate with ROM of the lumbar spine (R = (−0.6), p < 0.05). High increase in the prevalence of lumbar hypolordosis and posterior pelvic tilt was noted after karate training sessions. ROM of the inclination in the sagittal plane differed significantly between the first and second trials, by 10.0 degrees on average. Kata stances and their movement pattern seem to be related to the occurrence of disturbances in the ROM of the internal and external rotations of the hip joints and decreased depth of the lumbar lordosis, pelvic tilt, and their ROM. The locations of the long-term musculoskeletal complaints (NMQ-6) seem to result from compensatory changes that occur in the musculoskeletal structures as a result of elite-level kata training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Connecting Health and Performance with Sports Sciences)
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11 pages, 1433 KiB  
Article
Excessive Knee Internal Rotation during Grand Plié in Classical Ballet Female Dancers
by Aspasia Fotaki, Athanasios Triantafyllou, Panagiotis Koulouvaris, Apostolos Z. Skouras, Dimitrios Stasinopoulos, Panagiotis Gkrilias, Maria Kyriakidou, Sophia Stasi, Dimitrios Antonakis-Karamintzas, Charilaos Tsolakis, Olga Savvidou and Georgios Papagiannis
Sports 2024, 12(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020054 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
Classical ballet dancers are exposed daily to physically demanding movements. Among these, the Grand Plié stands out for its biomechanical complexity, particularly the stress applied to the knee joint. This study investigates the knee kinematics of healthy professional classical ballet dancers performing the [...] Read more.
Classical ballet dancers are exposed daily to physically demanding movements. Among these, the Grand Plié stands out for its biomechanical complexity, particularly the stress applied to the knee joint. This study investigates the knee kinematics of healthy professional classical ballet dancers performing the Grand Plié. Twenty dancers were evaluated with a motion analysis system using a marker-based protocol. Before measurements, the self-reported Global Knee Functional Assessment Scale was delivered for the knees’ functional ability, and the passive range of knee motion was also assessed. The average score on the Global Knee Functional Assessment Scale was 94.65 ± 5.92. During a complete circle of the Grand Plié movement, executed from the upright position, the average maximum internal rotation of the knee joint was 30.28° ± 6.16°, with a simultaneous knee flexion of 134.98° ± 4.62°. This internal rotation observed during knee flexion exceeds the typical range of motion for the joint, suggesting a potential risk for knee injuries, such as meniscal tears. The findings provide an opportunity for future kinematic analysis research, focusing on the movement of the Grand Plié and other common ballet maneuvers. These data have the potential to yield valuable information about the knee kinematics concerning meniscus damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Sports Performances)
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15 pages, 2423 KiB  
Article
Training Characteristics, Performance, and Body Composition of Three U23 Elite Female Triathletes throughout a Season
by Sergio Sellés-Pérez, Hector Arévalo-Chico, José Fernández-Sáez and Roberto Cejuela
Sports 2024, 12(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020053 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 3071
Abstract
(1) Background: There is a lack of data on the long-term training characteristics and performance markers of elite young female endurance athletes. The aim of this study was to present the training load (ECOs), as well as the evolution of the anthropometric values [...] Read more.
(1) Background: There is a lack of data on the long-term training characteristics and performance markers of elite young female endurance athletes. The aim of this study was to present the training load (ECOs), as well as the evolution of the anthropometric values and performance of three elite U23 female triathletes over a season. (2) Methods: General training data and performance data relating to the swimming, cycling, and running legs of the 2021 season were described. The training intensity distribution (TID) was presented using the triphasic model, while the training load was based on the ECO model. An anthropometric analysis was also conducted in accordance with the ISAK standards. (3) Results: Triathletes increased their VO2max in cycling (6.9–10%) and running (7.1–9.1%), as well as their power and speed associated with the VO2max (7.7–8.6% in cycling and 5.1–5.3% in running) and their swimming speed associated with the lactate thresholds (2.6–4.0% in LT2 and 1.2–2.5% in LT1). The triathletes completed more than 10 h of weekly average training time, with peak weeks exceeding 15 h. The average TID of the three triathletes was 82% in phase 1, 6% in phase 2, and 12% in phase 3. A decrease in the sum of skinfolds and fat mass percentage was observed during the season in the three triathletes, although the last measurement revealed a stagnation or slight rise in these parameters. (4) Conclusions: The triathletes performed a combination of two training periodization models (traditional and block periodization) with a polarized TID in most of the weeks of the season. Improvements in performance and physiological parameters were observed after the general preparatory period as well as a positive body composition evolution throughout the season, except at the end, where the last measurement revealed stagnation or a slight decline. This study can be useful as a general guide for endurance coaches to organize a training season with female U23 triathletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sport Physiology and Physical Performance)
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13 pages, 1077 KiB  
Article
The Evolution of Physical Performance throughout an Entire Season in Female Football Players
by Francisco Reyes-Laredo, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, Guillermo López-Lluch and Elisabet Rodríguez-Bies
Sports 2024, 12(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020052 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1874
Abstract
Research on the evolution of performance throughout a season in team sports is scarce and mainly focused on men’s teams. Our aim in this study was to examine the seasonal variations in relevant indices of physical performance in female football players. Twenty-seven female [...] Read more.
Research on the evolution of performance throughout a season in team sports is scarce and mainly focused on men’s teams. Our aim in this study was to examine the seasonal variations in relevant indices of physical performance in female football players. Twenty-seven female football players were assessed at week 2 of the season (preseason, PS), week 7 (end of preseason, EP), week 24 (half-season, HS), and week 38 (end of season, ES). Similar to the most common used conditioning tests in football, testing sessions consisted of (1) vertical countermovement jump (CMJ); (2) 20 m running sprint (T20); (3) 25 m side-step cutting maneuver test (V-CUT); and (4) progressive loading test in the full-squat exercise (V1-LOAD). Participants followed their normal football training procedure, which consisted of three weekly training sessions and an official match, without any type of intervention. No significant time effects were observed for CMJ height (p = 0.29) and T20 (p = 0.11) throughout the season. However, significant time effects were found for V-CUT (p = 0.004) and V1-LOAD (p = 0.001). V-CUT performance significantly improved from HS to ES (p = 0.001). Significant increases were observed for V1-LOAD throughout the season: PS-HS (p = 0.009); PS-ES (p < 0.001); EP-ES (p < 0.001); and HS-ES (p = 0.009). These findings suggest that, over the course of the season, female football players experience an enhancement in muscle strength and change of direction ability. However, no discernible improvements were noted in sprinting and jumping capabilities during the same period. Full article
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12 pages, 1230 KiB  
Article
Comparative Effects of Two High-Intensity Intermittent Training Programs on Sub-Elite Male Basketball Referees’ Fitness Levels
by David Suárez-Iglesias, Alejandro Rodríguez-Fernández, Alejandro Vaquera, José Gerardo Villa-Vicente and Jose A. Rodríguez-Marroyo
Sports 2024, 12(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020051 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1249
Abstract
This study aimed to compare the effects of an 8-week short-term training program, comprising repeated sprints or running-based high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT), on the aerobic fitness and repeated sprint ability (RSA) performance of sub-elite basketball referees. Twenty male referees participated in supervised training [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare the effects of an 8-week short-term training program, comprising repeated sprints or running-based high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT), on the aerobic fitness and repeated sprint ability (RSA) performance of sub-elite basketball referees. Twenty male referees participated in supervised training sessions twice a week. They were randomly assigned to either the RSA-based group (RSAG) or the running-based HIIT group (HIITG). The RSAG conducted 3–4 sets of 8 × 20-m all-out sprints, while the HIITG performed 2–3 sets of 6 × 20-s runs at 90% of their maximal velocity achieved in the 30–15 intermittent fitness test (30–15IFT). Referees underwent a graded exercise test on a treadmill, the 30–15IFT, and an RSA test before and after the training program. Both groups showed significant improvement (~3%) in the fastest (22.6 ± 1.4 vs. 23.4 ± 1.7 and 22.0 ±1.9 vs. 22.4 ± 1.7 km·h−1 in RSAG and HIITG, respectively) and mean (21.5 ± 1.2 vs. 22.4 ± 1.4 and 21.3 ± 1.8 vs. 21.7 ± 1.6 km·h−1 in RSAG and HIITG, respectively) sprint velocity of the RSA test (p < 0.05). Moreover, positive changes (p < 0.05) were observed in the 30–15IFT maximal velocity (18.6 ± 1.1 vs. 19.3 ± 1.0 and 19.4 ± 0.9 vs. 20.5 ± 0.9 km·h−1 in RSAG and HIITG, respectively). In conclusion, an 8-week training intervention using either RSA or running-based HIIT led to similar improvements in referees’ RSA performance and specific aerobic fitness measures. These findings could assist in devising tailored training programs for basketball referees. Full article
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16 pages, 1860 KiB  
Article
Strike 3 … Out! Investigating Pre-Game Moods, Performance, and Mental Health of Softball Umpires
by Ronald J. Houison, Andrea Lamont-Mills, Michael Kotiw and Peter C. Terry
Sports 2024, 12(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020050 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1262
Abstract
Mood research in sports typically focuses on athletes, with sports officials being largely overlooked. In the current study, mood profiling was used to determine if softball umpires reported an identifiable and consistent mood profile and if mood was predictive of umpiring performance and/or [...] Read more.
Mood research in sports typically focuses on athletes, with sports officials being largely overlooked. In the current study, mood profiling was used to determine if softball umpires reported an identifiable and consistent mood profile and if mood was predictive of umpiring performance and/or reflective of positive mental health. Eleven male and five female participants aged 25–68 years (M = 48.5 ± 15.5 years) each completed the Brunel Mood Scale on multiple occasions prior to officiating games at the 2020 U18 National Softball Championships. A total of 185 mood profiles were analysed. Performance was assessed using Softball Australia’s official umpire assessment tool. Overall, participants reported an iceberg mood profile, which tends to be associated with positive mental health and good performance. Umpiring performances (pass/fail) were correctly classified in 75.0% of cases from tension, depression, and confusion scores (p = 0.003). Participant sex explained 25.7% of the variance in mood scores (p < 0.001); age, 25.8% of the variance (p < 0.001); position on the diamond, 10.5% of the variance (p = 0.003); and accreditation level, 14.3% of the variance (p < 0.001). Australian softball umpires typically reported mood profiles associated with positive mental health, and none reported profiles associated with risk of mental ill-health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sport Psychology)
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28 pages, 1442 KiB  
Article
The Impact of an Outdoor Motor–Cognitive Exercise Programme on the Health Outcomes of Older Adults in Community Settings: A Pilot and Feasibility Study
by Katharina Zwingmann, Torsten Schlesinger and Katrin Müller
Sports 2024, 12(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020049 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1188
Abstract
Physical and cognitive exercises can prevent or at least mitigate the symptoms of certain diseases and help older adults perform a range of daily functions. Yet, most seniors do not meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended guidelines for physical activity. The objective of [...] Read more.
Physical and cognitive exercises can prevent or at least mitigate the symptoms of certain diseases and help older adults perform a range of daily functions. Yet, most seniors do not meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended guidelines for physical activity. The objective of this study is to promote and maintain the physical and cognitive capacity of older adults by implementing a feasible and effective low-threshold, age-appropriate, motor–cognitive training outdoors. In the German city of Chemnitz, citizens aged 60 years and older participated in a quasi-randomised intervention trial. Exercises to train coordination, strength, endurance, and cognition were integrated into a 12-week outdoor motor–cognitive exercise programme. Both the physical (e.g., 6MWT) and cognitive skills (e.g., TMT B) of the intervention group (n = 41) and control group (no intervention, n = 58) were measured before (T1) and after (T2) completion of the exercise programme. Some of the participants’ physical and all their cognitive measures improved. Neurocognitive performance (DSST) showed a significant time × group interaction effect (F(1,95) = 6.943, p = 0.010, ηp2 = 0.068). Sex and age were found to be influencing factors. We consider our exercise programme to be successfully implemented, well received by the participants, and feasible and useful to promote the continued exercise of daily functions as part of healthy aging in community-dwelling older adults. Full article
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11 pages, 2688 KiB  
Article
A Comparison of Leg Muscle Oxygenation, Cardiorespiratory Responses, and Blood Lactate between Walking and Running at the Same Speed
by Alexandros Stathopoulos, Anatoli Petridou, Nikolaos Kantouris and Vassilis Mougios
Sports 2024, 12(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020048 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1266
Abstract
It is not known whether different gait modes, or movement patterns, at the same speed elicit differences in muscle oxygen oxygenation, expressed as muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2). Thus, the aim of this study was to compare the oxygenation of two leg [...] Read more.
It is not known whether different gait modes, or movement patterns, at the same speed elicit differences in muscle oxygen oxygenation, expressed as muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2). Thus, the aim of this study was to compare the oxygenation of two leg muscles (vastus lateralis and gastrocnemius medialis), as well as the heart rate, respiratory gases, and blood lactate between two gait modes (walking and running) of the same speed and duration. Ten men walked and ran for 30 min each at 7 km/h in a random, counterbalanced order. SmO2, heart rate, and respiratory gases were monitored continuously. Blood lactate was measured at rest, at the end of each exercise, and after 15 min of recovery. Data were analyzed by two-way (gait mode × time) or three-way (gait mode × muscle × time) ANOVA, as applicable. Heart rate and oxygen consumption were higher when running compared to walking. SmO2 was lower during exercise compared to rest and recovery, in gastrocnemius medialis compared to vastus lateralis, and in running compared to walking. Blood lactate increased during exercise but did not differ between gait modes. In conclusion, running caused higher deoxygenation in leg muscles (accompanied by higher whole-body oxygen uptake and heart rate) than walking at the same speed (one that was comfortable for both gait modes), thus pointing to a higher internal load despite equal external load. Thus, preferring running over walking at the same speed causes higher local muscle deoxygenation, which may be beneficial in inducing favorable training adaptations. Full article
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9 pages, 211 KiB  
Article
The Attitudes of Patients with Cardiovascular Diseases towards Online Exercise with the Mobile Monitoring of Their Health-Related Vital Signs
by Apostolia Ntovoli, Maria Anifanti, Georgia Koukouvou, Alexandros Mitropoulos, Evangelia Kouidi and Kostas Alexandris
Sports 2024, 12(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020047 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1066
Abstract
The health care cost of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in the EU is estimated to be today over 282 billion euros. It is well documented today that exercise training is one of the main strategies for secondary disease prevention and the follow-up integration of [...] Read more.
The health care cost of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in the EU is estimated to be today over 282 billion euros. It is well documented today that exercise training is one of the main strategies for secondary disease prevention and the follow-up integration of these patients. This study aimed to examine patients’ attitudes towards online exercise with mobile monitoring of their vital signs. More specifically, the research objectives were as follows: (a) to examine patients’ attitudes and expectations of online exercise, (b) cluster patients in high- and low-attitude groups and examine their intention to participate in online exercise, and (c) to examine age and gender differences in terms of their intention to exercise online. The final goal of this project was to develop a real application that could be of use to patients and professionals. Data were collected from fifty patients in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece. The results revealed that most patients were positive about exercising online if the programs were perceived as fun and, especially, safe. The use of an online monitoring application with the distant supervision of health professionals could both motivate them and strengthen their feeling of safety. Full article
18 pages, 275 KiB  
Review
The Best Current Research on Patellar Tendinopathy: A Review of Published Meta-Analyses
by Rafael Llombart, Gonzalo Mariscal, Carlos Barrios and Rafael Llombart-Ais
Sports 2024, 12(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020046 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1820
Abstract
Patellar tendinopathy is a frequent overuse injury in sports that can cause significant pain and disability. It requires evidence-based guidelines on effective prevention and management. However, optimal treatments remain uncertain. We aimed to analyze available meta-analyses to summarize treatment recommendations, compare therapeutic modalities, [...] Read more.
Patellar tendinopathy is a frequent overuse injury in sports that can cause significant pain and disability. It requires evidence-based guidelines on effective prevention and management. However, optimal treatments remain uncertain. We aimed to analyze available meta-analyses to summarize treatment recommendations, compare therapeutic modalities, examine included trials, and offer methodological suggestions to improve future systematic reviews. Meta-analyses were systematically searched for in PubMed (PROSPERO: CRD42023457963). A total of 21 meta-analyses were included. The AMSTAR-2 scale assessed study quality, which was low, with only 23.8% of the meta-analyses being of moderate quality, and none were considered to be of high quality. Heterogeneous outcomes are reported. Multiple platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections appear superior to eccentric exercises and provide lasting improvements compared to eccentric exercises when conservative treatments fail. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) also seems superior to non-operative options and similar to surgery for patellar tendinopathy in the long term. However, evidence for eccentric exercise efficacy remains unclear due to inconclusive findings. Preliminary findings also emerged for genetic risk factors and diagnostic methods but require further confirmation. This review reveals a lack of high-quality evidence on optimal patellar tendinopathy treatments. While PRP and ESWT show promise, limitations persist. Further rigorous meta-analyses and trials are needed to strengthen the evidence base and guide clinical practice. Methodological enhancements are proposed to improve future meta-analyses. Full article
12 pages, 3383 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Wearable Resistance Placements on Running Stability
by Arunee Promsri, Siriyakorn Deedphimai, Petradda Promthep and Chonthicha Champamuang
Sports 2024, 12(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020045 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1129
Abstract
Stability during running has been recognized as a crucial factor contributing to running performance. This study aimed to investigate the effects of wearable equipment containing external loads on different body parts on running stability. Fifteen recreational male runners (20.27 ± 1.23 years, age [...] Read more.
Stability during running has been recognized as a crucial factor contributing to running performance. This study aimed to investigate the effects of wearable equipment containing external loads on different body parts on running stability. Fifteen recreational male runners (20.27 ± 1.23 years, age range 19–22 years) participated in five treadmill running conditions, including running without loads and running with loads equivalent to 10% of individual body weight placed on four different body positions: forearms, lower legs, trunk, and a combination of all three (forearms, lower legs, and trunk). A tri-axial accelerometer-based smartphone sensor was attached to the participants’ lumbar spine (L5) to record body accelerations. The largest Lyapunov exponent (LyE) was applied to individual acceleration data as a measure of local dynamic stability, where higher LyE values suggest lower stability. The effects of load distribution appear in the mediolateral (ML) direction. Specifically, running with loads on the lower legs resulted in a lower LyE_ML value compared to running without loads (p = 0.001) and running with loads on the forearms (p < 0.001), trunk (p = 0.001), and combined segments (p = 0.005). These findings suggest that running with loads on the lower legs enhances side-to-side local dynamic stability, providing valuable insights for training. Full article
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18 pages, 497 KiB  
Review
Poor Motor Competence Affects Functional Capacities and Healthcare in Children and Adolescents with Obesity
by Matteo Vandoni, Luca Marin, Caterina Cavallo, Alessandro Gatti, Roberta Grazi, Ilaria Albanese, Silvia Taranto, Dario Silvestri, Eleonora Di Carlo, Pamela Patanè, Vittoria Carnevale Pellino, Gianvincenzo Zuccotti and Valeria Calcaterra
Sports 2024, 12(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020044 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1504
Abstract
Background: From a young age, children learn different motor skills known as fundamental motor skills. The acquisition of these skills is crucial for the future development of context-tailored actions that could improve adherence to physical activity (PA) practice. Motor competence and function deficits [...] Read more.
Background: From a young age, children learn different motor skills known as fundamental motor skills. The acquisition of these skills is crucial for the future development of context-tailored actions that could improve adherence to physical activity (PA) practice. Motor competence and function deficits have been associated with pediatric obesity. We reviewed the literature data regarding motor competence in pediatrics and impaired motor performance in children and adolescents with obesity. Methods: We assessed the abstracts of the available literature (n = 110) and reviewed the full texts of potentially relevant articles (n = 65) that were analyzed to provide a critical discussion. Results: Children and adolescents with obesity show impaired motor performance, executive functions, postural control, and motor coordination. Children’s age represents a crucial point in the development of motor skills. Early interventions are crucial to preventing declines in motor proficiency and impacting children’s PA and overall fitness levels. Conclusions: To involve children, the PA protocol must be fun and tailored in consideration of several aspects, such as clinical picture, level of physical fitness, and motor skills. A supervised adapted exercise program is useful to personalized PA programs from an early pediatric age. Full article
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12 pages, 882 KiB  
Article
Comparison of 10% vs. 30% Velocity Loss during Squat Training with Low Loads on Strength and Sport-Specific Performance in Young Soccer Players
by Andrés Rojas-Jaramillo, Gustavo León-Sánchez, África Calvo-Lluch, Juan José González-Badillo and David Rodríguez-Rosell
Sports 2024, 12(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020043 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1892
Abstract
The aim of this study was to compare the effects of two velocity-based resistance training (RT) programs using moderate loads (45–60% 1RM) but different magnitudes of velocity loss (VL) limits (10% vs. 30%) on the changes in physical performance in young soccer players. [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to compare the effects of two velocity-based resistance training (RT) programs using moderate loads (45–60% 1RM) but different magnitudes of velocity loss (VL) limits (10% vs. 30%) on the changes in physical performance in young soccer players. Twenty young soccer players were randomly allocated into two groups: VL10% (n = 10) and VL30% (n = 10). All participants were assessed before and after the 8-week RT program (twice a week) involving the following tests: 20 m running sprint (T20), countermovement jump (CMJ), kicking a ball (KB), and progressive loading test in the full squat (SQ) exercise. The RT program was conducted using only the SQ exercise and movement velocity was monitored in all repetitions. Significant ‘time × group’ interaction (p < 0.05) was observed for sprint performance, KB and 1RM in the SQ exercise in favor of VL10%. No significant changes between groups at post-test were observed. The VL10% resulted in significant (p < 0.05–0.001) intra-group changes in all variables analyzed, except for KB, whereas VL30% only showed significant (p < 0.05) performance increments in a sprint test and 1RM in the SQ exercise. The percentage of change and the intra-group’s effect size were of greater magnitude for VL10% in all variables analyzed compared to VL30%. In conclusion, our results suggest that, for non-trained young soccer players, squat training with low to moderate relative loads and 10%VL is sufficient to elicit significant increases in muscle strength and sport-specific actions compared to 30%VL in the set. Full article
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9 pages, 891 KiB  
Article
Foot Placement in the Basic Position on the Start Block OSB12 of Young Competitive Swimmers
by Ivan Matúš, Bibiana Vadašová, Tomáš Eliaš, Łukasz Rydzik, Tadeusz Ambroży and Wojciech Czarny
Sports 2024, 12(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020042 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1151
Abstract
Background: The basic position on the starting block can influence the performance at the start, as it is the initial phase on which the other phases depend, as well as the swimming performance in sprint events in all swimming styles. The aim of [...] Read more.
Background: The basic position on the starting block can influence the performance at the start, as it is the initial phase on which the other phases depend, as well as the swimming performance in sprint events in all swimming styles. The aim of our study is to analyze the effect of the foot in the base position on the block start on performance in the 5 m distance start. Material and Methods: Fifteen performance swimmers aged 17 ± 2 years were tested in their preferred wide and narrow starting positions, performing a total of six starts during which angular, temporal, and length changes were monitored in block, flight, and underwater phases. Fisher individual tests for differences of means were used to determine differences in kinematic parameters of the kick start to the 5 m distance. Differences in the position of the feet in kinematic parameters of the kick start to the 5 m distance were determined using the two-sample t-test with equal variance and effect size by Cohen’s d. Results: Swimmers were found to have significant differences (p < 0.05) between foot widths in block time (0.02 s), time to 2 m (0.05 s), flight and glide time and distance, maximal depth, and time to 5 m (0.08) in favor of the narrow baseline position. Conclusions: We recommend marking the center of the start block on the OSB or OSB platform for the competitors, as well as the center of the backrest, for better orientation and assuming the correct basic foot position on the start block. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competition and Sports Training: A Challenge for Public Health)
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10 pages, 1048 KiB  
Article
Interest and Perseverance Are Not Enough to Be Physically Active: The Importance of Self-Efficacy toward Healthy Eating and Healthy Weight to Move More in Adolescents
by María Marentes-Castillo, Isabel Castillo, Inés Tomás and Octavio Álvarez
Sports 2024, 12(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020041 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1936
Abstract
(1) Background: Insufficient physical activity in adolescents remains an important issue for health promotion. Given the current relevance of understanding the adoption and maintenance of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA), the aim of this study was to analyze, in a sample of [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Insufficient physical activity in adolescents remains an important issue for health promotion. Given the current relevance of understanding the adoption and maintenance of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA), the aim of this study was to analyze, in a sample of adolescents, the role of grit personality as an antecedent of healthy eating and healthy weight (HEW) self-efficacy and its implications for the practice of MVPA. (2) Methods: Participants were 987 adolescents (597 girls, 390 boys) aged between 15 and 19 years from Mexico and Spain. The Spanish versions of the grit personality scale, the healthy eating and weight self-efficacy scale and the global physical activity questionnaire were used to measure the variables of interest. (3) Results: Mediated regression analysis showed that grit personality was not directly related to MVPA practice. However, the results indicate the significant relationship between grit personality and HEW self-efficacy, as well as the positive and significant relationship of this self-efficacy on MVPA practice. HEW self-efficacy totally mediated the relationship between grit personality and MVPA in both boys and girls. (4) Conclusions: These results suggest that having a grit personality (i.e., having interest and perseverance) is not enough for adolescents to be physically active, but that perceiving oneself as effective in having a healthy diet and healthy weight may be the key for adolescents to move more. At the intervention level, we suggest targeting an enhancement of young people’s competence to eat healthily and regulate their weight as a strategy to enhance the performance of more MVPA, with a possible transfer between healthy behaviors (spill over). Full article
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21 pages, 2280 KiB  
Article
Agreement between Ventilatory Thresholds and Bilaterally Measured Vastus Lateralis Muscle Oxygen Saturation Breakpoints in Trained Cyclists: Effects of Age and Performance
by Karmen Reinpõld, Indrek Rannama and Kristjan Port
Sports 2024, 12(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020040 - 28 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1445
Abstract
This study focused on comparing metabolic thresholds derived from local muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2) signals, obtained using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), with global pulmonary ventilation rates measured at the mouth. It was conducted among various Age Groups within a well-trained cyclist population. [...] Read more.
This study focused on comparing metabolic thresholds derived from local muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2) signals, obtained using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), with global pulmonary ventilation rates measured at the mouth. It was conducted among various Age Groups within a well-trained cyclist population. Additionally, the study examined how cycling performance characteristics impact the discrepancies between ventilatory thresholds (VTs) and SmO2 breakpoints (BPs). Methods: Junior (n = 18) and Senior (n = 15) cyclists underwent incremental cycling tests to assess their aerobic performance and to determine aerobic (AeT) and anaerobic (AnT) threshold characteristics through pulmonary gas exchange and changes in linearity of the vastus lateralis (VL) muscle SmO2 signals. We compared the relative power (Pkg) at ventilatory thresholds (VTs) and breakpoints (BPs) for the nondominant (ND), dominant (DO), and bilaterally averaged (Avr) SmO2 during the agreement analysis. Additionally, a 30 s sprint test was performed to estimate anaerobic performance capabilities and to assess the cyclists’ phenotype, defined as the ratio of P@VT2 to the highest 5 s sprint power. Results: The Pkg@BP for Avr SmO2 had higher agreement with VT values than ND and DO. Avr SmO2 Pkg@BP1 was lower (p < 0.05) than Pkg@VT1 (mean bias: 0.12 ± 0.29 W/kg; Limits of Agreement (LOA): −0.45 to 0.68 W/kg; R2 = 0.72) and mainly among Seniors (0.21 ± 0.22 W/kg; LOA: −0.22 to 0.63 W/kg); there was no difference (p > 0.05) between Avr Pkg@BP2 and Pkg@VT2 (0.03 ± 0.22 W/kg; LOA: −0.40 to 0.45 W/kg; R2 = 0.86). The bias between two methods correlated significantly with the phenotype (r = −0.385 and r = −0.515 for AeT and AnT, respectively). Conclusions: Two breakpoints can be defined in the NIRS-captured SmO2 signal of VL, but the agreement between the two methods at the individual level was too low for interchangeable usage of those methods in the practical training process. Older cyclists generally exhibited earlier thresholds in muscle oxygenation signals compared to systemic responses, unlike younger cyclists who showed greater variability and no significant differences in this regard in bias values between the two threshold evaluation methods with no significant difference between methods. More sprinter-type cyclists tended to have systemic VT thresholds earlier than local NIRS-derived thresholds than athletes with relatively higher aerobic abilities. Full article
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16 pages, 1136 KiB  
Systematic Review
Estimated Energy Expenditure in Youth While Playing Active Video Games: A Systematic Review
by Cíntia França, Sadaf Ashraf, Francisco Santos, Mara Dionísio, Andreas Ihle, Adilson Marques, Marcelo de Maio Nascimento and Élvio Rúbio Gouveia
Sports 2024, 12(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020039 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1350
Abstract
Sedentary behavior and inadequate energy expenditure are serious global public health concerns among youngsters. The exponential growth in technology emerges as a valuable opportunity to foster physical activity, particularly through active video games. We performed a systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items [...] Read more.
Sedentary behavior and inadequate energy expenditure are serious global public health concerns among youngsters. The exponential growth in technology emerges as a valuable opportunity to foster physical activity, particularly through active video games. We performed a systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines in PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane, and Scopus to provide a comprehensive view of the literature on energy expenditure levels among adolescents while playing active video games. Among the 574 manuscripts identified at the first screening stage, 23 were retained for analysis. Ten studies were characterized by longitudinal and thirteen by cross-sectional designs. The results showed that short-term active video games elicited energy expenditure values comparable to moderate-intensity physical activity (3–6 METs). However, in intervention programs (with at least six weeks) the results indicate no significant effects of active video games on youngsters’ energy expenditure levels and physical activity profiles between baseline and follow-up assessments. Overall, active video games based on sports and dance were the most used, and boys tended to achieve higher energy expenditure than girls. The diversity of methods implemented limits comparing results and drawing generalized conclusions. However, considering its attractiveness to youth, active video games might emerge as a complementary tool to traditional physical activities promoted in schools and local communities. Details regarding gender differences and contradictory results of longitudinal approaches should be considered in future research based on standardized methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sport Psychology)
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12 pages, 217 KiB  
Article
Psychological Determinants in Biathlon Performance: A U23 National Team Case Study
by Frank Eirik Abrahamsen, Andreas Kvam and Stig Arve Sæther
Sports 2024, 12(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020038 - 23 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1467
Abstract
Background: The present investigation examined what psychological factors athletes perceived to impact their competition performance and what training strategies and focus the athletes considered to be the most important. Methods: We recruited six participants (three females, three males) from the Norwegian Biathlon Federation’s [...] Read more.
Background: The present investigation examined what psychological factors athletes perceived to impact their competition performance and what training strategies and focus the athletes considered to be the most important. Methods: We recruited six participants (three females, three males) from the Norwegian Biathlon Federation’s national U23 and junior teams, and all participated. We used semi-structured interviews to gather the data and used thematic analyses to examine our findings. Results: The findings centered around the intricate relationship between psychological factors, particularly self-efficacy, anxiety, attention control, and performance, in biathlon shooting. Conclusions: Implementing a holistic approach to biathlon training entails harmonizing physical and psychological elements with personalized psychological training regimens. Full article
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