Ecological View on Training and Testing Athletic Performance: The Role of Sports Kinesiology

A special issue of Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology (ISSN 2411-5142). This special issue belongs to the section "Athletic Training and Human Performance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 March 2024 | Viewed by 11592

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dario Novak
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of General and Applied Kinesiology, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: applied kinesiology; athlete training; functional performance testing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Comenius University in Bratislava, 814 69 Bratislava, Slovakia
Interests: athlete performance development; motor control and learning; sports kinesiology; sport-specific exercise testing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecological dynamics is a contemporary, transdisciplinary theory of human performance development, which investigates interactions between the performer(s) and the environment to better understand skill acquisition and adaptation. This is a new approach aimed at overcoming the traditional way of rehearsal and learning of movement technique in isolated drills. It provides foundation for adapting movement patterns throughout the lifespan in interaction with dynamic environment. This requires to study human movement from different perspectives. Sports kinesiology, which addresses functional anatomy, exercise physiology, sports biomechanics, psychomotor behaviour, and other relevant fields, may play an important role in understanding movement challenges from childhood to old age. This, together with the application of novel assessment methods tailored to individual needs can strengthen the learning environment to enhance athlete performance. An ecological perspective on athlete performance training and testing may help sports scientists and practitioners to build the functional relationship with the sporting environment. However, there is still little evidence to support such a connection and suggest that the appropriate experiments remain to be conducted. Within this topic, contributions in the form of reviews, original research articles or case reports are welcomed. 

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Adapting sport-specific skill to the environment
  • Integrating various methodologies to strengthen the learning environment
  • Motor learning and talent development in sport
  • The acquisition of age-specific skills throughout the lifespan
  • An ecological dynamic approach to athlete performance development
  • An ecological dynamic approach to athlete performance assessment
  • Sports kinesiology in understanding human function and movement

Dr. Dario Novak
Prof. Dr. Erika Zemková
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1600 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

  • athlete-environment relationship
  • human function and movement
  • skill acquisition and adaptation
  • motor learning and performance
  • applied kinesiology
  • sport-specific training
  • functional performance testing
  • age-related performance changes
  • children and adolescents
  • middle-aged and elderly individuals

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

11 pages, 858 KiB  
Article
Effect of COVID-19 on Key Performance Indicators of Spanish Professional Soccer League
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2024, 9(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk9010035 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 396
Abstract
The unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis severely disrupted global sports in 2020, prompting lengthy suspensions followed by resumed competitions under abnormal behind-closed-doors conditions without fans. These disruptions necessitated tactical adaptations by coaches and teams, attempting to still achieve successful outcomes. This study investigates the [...] Read more.
The unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis severely disrupted global sports in 2020, prompting lengthy suspensions followed by resumed competitions under abnormal behind-closed-doors conditions without fans. These disruptions necessitated tactical adaptations by coaches and teams, attempting to still achieve successful outcomes. This study investigates the pandemic’s impacts on performance metrics and indicators within Spanish professional soccer. Utilizing systematic notational analysis, 760 match cases from the 2019–2020 La Liga season were examined, comprising 27 matchdays from the pre-COVID context and 11 after resumption. Multivariate tests identified significant pre/post differences and interactions for various technical indicators including shots, cards, corners, and offside calls. The pandemic was associated with a reduction from 12 to just 5 identifiable playing styles, suggestive of increased conservatism featuring more passive play, limited attacking depth, and horizontal ball movement. Such tactical changes appear provoked by condensed fixture scheduling post-lockdown, the lack of supportive crowds, and compromised player fitness/recovery. By quantifying these COVID-precipitated changes, the analysis provides tangible evidence for coaches to make informed adjustments in training and preparation for functioning effectively in disrupted environments. The findings emphasize that versatility and flexibility will be vital to optimize performance during times of unprecedented uncertainty. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

9 pages, 250 KiB  
Article
The Effects of a Short Virtual Reality Training Program on Dynamic Balance in Tennis Players
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(4), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8040168 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1407
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze the effects of a 5 min virtual reality training program (VR) on dynamic balance in tennis players. Fifty-eight college tennis players (mean age 22.9 ± 3.1 years, weight 73.9 ± 10.8 kg, height 176.6 ± 8.4 cm) were [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyze the effects of a 5 min virtual reality training program (VR) on dynamic balance in tennis players. Fifty-eight college tennis players (mean age 22.9 ± 3.1 years, weight 73.9 ± 10.8 kg, height 176.6 ± 8.4 cm) were allocated to either the control group (placebo) (CG, n = 20) or the right-handed experimental group (RTG, n = 20) and left-handed experimental group (LTG, n = 18), both of which took part in the 5 min VR intervention program. Pre-tests included anthropometric measures and the Y Balance Test (YBT), and the post-test was the Y Balance Test (YBT). Three YBT trials were performed in anterior (ANT), posterolateral (PL), and posteromedial (PM) directions. After the training intervention, in the right-handed experimental group (RTG), significant differences were observed for two variables: anterior reach (right foot) (p = 0.00) and posterior medial reach (right foot) (p = 0.03). In other analyzed variables, there were no significant differences. Additionally, the effect size was small. In the left-handed experimental group (LTG), statistically significant improvements were identified in five out of six analyzed variables: anterior reach (left foot) (p = 0.00), posterior medial reach (left foot) (p = 0.00), posterior lateral reach (left foot) (p = 0.00), posterior medial reach (right foot) (p = 0.00), and posterior lateral reach (right foot) (p = 0.00). The effect size ranged between small and medium. No significant changes were observed in the control group (CG) after the training intervention. Moreover, for all variables, the time*group interaction is determined. Anterior reach (left foot), posterior medial reach (left foot), posterior medial reach (right foot), and posterior lateral reach (right foot) showed significant interactions (F = 3.04, p = 0.05; F = 3.50, p = 0.03; F = 6.08, p = 0.00; and F = 4.69, p = 0.01). The outcome of this study leads us to a further understanding that if a player were to partake in VR activity, it could show a positive effect on their dynamic balance performance. Full article
11 pages, 1450 KiB  
Article
The Kneeling Isometric Plantar Flexor Test: Preliminary Reliability and Feasibility in Professional Youth Football
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(4), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8040164 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2127
Abstract
Calf injuries are common in professional football; thus, the establishment of reliable and time-efficient methods of measuring the peak force capabilities of the plantar flexors with equipment that is accessible to football practitioners is valuable. In this study, we determined the preliminary reliability [...] Read more.
Calf injuries are common in professional football; thus, the establishment of reliable and time-efficient methods of measuring the peak force capabilities of the plantar flexors with equipment that is accessible to football practitioners is valuable. In this study, we determined the preliminary reliability and feasibility of a new test, termed the kneeling isometric plantar flexion test (KIPFT), for footballers. Twenty-one male youth footballers (age = 17.8 ± 1.1 years, height = 182 ± 5 cm, weight = 77.6 ± 5.9 kg) from English League One football clubs completed three trials of the KIPFT on a wireless force plate at the end (2022–2023) and start (2023–2024) of the season. The within-session reliability of the peak force (relative to body weight) was good–excellent for both limbs and both occasions. On average, performance of the KIPFT took just over 1 min per limb and ~2 min to set up. The peak force values were larger for the non-dominant limbs only at the start versus the end of the season, but there were no between-limb differences. From these results, it was determined that (1) the KIPFT is feasible, (2) a minimum of 32 footballers would be required to establish its between-session reliability with ≥80% statistical power and (3) large-cohort normative data for the KIPFT may be best collected at the start of the football season. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Influence of Cognitive and Ecological Dynamics Approaches on Countermovement Jumping Enhancement: A Comparative Training Study
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(3), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8030133 - 12 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1168
Abstract
Countermovement jumping (CMJ) and free-arm countermovement jumping (CMJFA) express the explosive-elastic force of the lower limbs. Strategies to enhance performance in both types of jumping can be categorized into cognitive and ecological-dynamic approaches. However, the effectiveness of these approaches in improving CMJ and [...] Read more.
Countermovement jumping (CMJ) and free-arm countermovement jumping (CMJFA) express the explosive-elastic force of the lower limbs. Strategies to enhance performance in both types of jumping can be categorized into cognitive and ecological-dynamic approaches. However, the effectiveness of these approaches in improving CMJ and CMJFA remains incompletely understood. This study aims to investigate the impact of training protocols based on the two approaches to improving CMJ. Thirty-six subjects with an average age of 26 years were selected and divided into two groups: the ecological-dynamic group (EDG) and the cognitive group (CG). For 12 weeks, both groups followed separate protocols of three weekly one-hour sessions. EDG group followed a protocol focused on circle time. The CG group followed an instructor-led training protocol. Incoming and outgoing flight heights were measured. Pre and post-intervention differences within and between groups were assessed using t-tests for dependent and independent samples, respectively (p ≤ 0.05). CG demonstrated a 12.2% increase in CMJ and a 7.8% improvement in CMJFA, while EDG showed a 10.2% increase in CMJ and 19.5% progress in CMJFA. No statistically significant differences (p > 0.05) were observed between the groups in the improvement of CMJ; statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) were found in the improvement of CMJFA in favor of EDG. Full article
10 pages, 1267 KiB  
Article
Morphological Characteristics of Elite International Soccer Referees: Somatotype and Bioelectrical Impedance Vector Analysis
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(3), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8030100 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 795
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the physical characteristics of elite international soccer referees, compare them with other referee populations in the literature, and establish reference tolerance ellipses for the bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA) point graph. Forty-one elite international soccer referees (age 38.8 [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the physical characteristics of elite international soccer referees, compare them with other referee populations in the literature, and establish reference tolerance ellipses for the bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA) point graph. Forty-one elite international soccer referees (age 38.8 ± 3.6 years) participated in the study. The participants underwent body composition assessments, including dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, BIVA, and somatotype. The Somatotype Attitudinal Distance (SAD), the two-sample Hotelling’s T2 test and the Mahalanobis test were used to determine somatotype and bioelectrical vector differences with the literature. The average somatotype of the referees was a balanced mesomorph (2.8, 6.5, 2.8). Elite international referees significantly differed from other samples in the literature (SAD = 2.1, 2.6, 2.9 with respect to Zimbabwean, Brazilian, and South African referees, respectively). The bioelectrical vector was significantly different from the general population (T2 ≤ 76.6; F = 38.8; D = 1.44; p < 0.001) and athletes (T2 ≤ 25.3; F = 12.6; D = 0.8; p < 0.001). Somatotype values and tolerance ellipses from this study may be useful as a reference for developing training programs and improving the selection process of referees in soccer. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

9 pages, 508 KiB  
Article
What Determines the Competitive Success of Young Croatian Wrestlers: Anthropometric Indices, Generic or Specific Fitness Performance?
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8030090 - 24 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 767
Abstract
Identifying factors influencing wrestling performance is important for determining which capacities should be developed the most. This research aimed to investigate whether anthropometric indices, generic fitness, and specific fitness performance determine the competitive success of young wrestlers. This research included 49 Croatian Greco–Roman [...] Read more.
Identifying factors influencing wrestling performance is important for determining which capacities should be developed the most. This research aimed to investigate whether anthropometric indices, generic fitness, and specific fitness performance determine the competitive success of young wrestlers. This research included 49 Croatian Greco–Roman male wrestlers aged 17.75 ± 1.51 years. Variables included training and competing experience, anthropometric indices, generic fitness (countermovement jump and handgrip strength), and specific wrestling fitness test (SWFT). Wrestlers were separated into medallists and non-medallists (i.e., wrestlers who won a medal at the previous National Championship and wrestlers who did not win a medal, respectively). The t-test for independent samples was used to determine the differences between the two categories in all variables. Moreover, discriminant analysis was performed to identify differences in a multivariate manner. Medallists and non-medallists did not differ in anthropometric indices and wrestling experience. Medallists had better results in the countermovement jump (t = 2.55, p < 0.01), handgrip strength (t = 2.77, p < 0.01), and SWFT performance (t = 2.29, p < 0.05) than non-medallists. The discriminant analysis confirmed that performance categories differed in generic and specific fitness tests (Wilks’ Lambda = 0.73, p < 0.05). It could be suggested that coaches should develop both the generic and specific fitness of their wrestlers to become more successful at competitions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

13 pages, 655 KiB  
Review
Effectiveness of Protective Measures and Rules in Reducing the Incidence of Injuries in Combat Sports: A Scoping Review
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(4), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8040150 - 30 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1459
Abstract
In recent years, much effort has been made to reduce the injury rate in combat sports. However, the question remains to what extent these measures are effective. Analysis of studies could provide evidence of the effectiveness of measures aimed at reducing the incidence [...] Read more.
In recent years, much effort has been made to reduce the injury rate in combat sports. However, the question remains to what extent these measures are effective. Analysis of studies could provide evidence of the effectiveness of measures aimed at reducing the incidence of injuries. This scoping review aims (1) to map research articles dealing with the effectiveness of proper use of protective measures in reducing the incidence of injuries in combat sports; (2) to investigate to what extent the proper use of protective measures and compliance with sports rules help to reduce the incidence of injuries in combat sports; and (3) to identify gaps in the existing literature and suggest future research on this topic. The literature search was conducted on articles published between 2010 and 2023. The main inclusion criteria were studies investigating the effect of sports rules and protective equipment used during training or competition in combat sports on reducing the incidence of injuries. After meeting the criteria, only seven articles from boxing, karate, and taekwondo were included in this study. Results showed that mandatory head guards, along with modern thicker gloves, significantly reduced the rate of knockouts (KOs) and head injuries in boxing despite an increase in the number of head blows. However, the number of facial cuts increased significantly due to the removal of head guards as a piece of mandatory equipment. The use of mouth guards has significantly reduced the number of oral injuries. Changes in rules, such as shortening the duration of bouts, along with the introduction of greater competencies of referees in the supervision of bouts (the standing count, outclassed rule, and medical stops) have helped to reduce the rate of injuries in boxing. The application of a computerised scoring system also contributed to the rate of injuries reduction. The increase in the number of weight divisions had the same effect on U21 karate athletes. However, a higher incentive to attack the head area in taekwondo did not increase the incidence of injuries in youth athletes. It can be concluded that the proper use of protective measures (head and mouth guards) in combination with the rules established for health protection (higher competencies of referees and more weight divisions in competitions) effectively reduces the occurrence of injuries in combat sports. In all Olympic combat sports, the injury incidence should be regularly assessed using the Injury Incidence Rate (IIR) per 1000 min exposures (MEs). Nonetheless, further studies are needed to monitor how established rules (e.g., prohibited behaviour) affect the IIRs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 838 KiB  
Review
Identifying Soccer Players’ Playing Styles: A Systematic Review
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2023, 8(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8030104 - 26 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2808
Abstract
Identifying playing styles in football is highly valuable for achieving effective performance analysis. While there is extensive research on team styles, studies on individual player styles are still in their early stages. Thus, the aim of this systematic review was to provide a [...] Read more.
Identifying playing styles in football is highly valuable for achieving effective performance analysis. While there is extensive research on team styles, studies on individual player styles are still in their early stages. Thus, the aim of this systematic review was to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing literature on player styles and identify research areas required for further development, offering new directions for future research. Following the PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews, we conducted a search using a specific strategy across four databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and SPORTDiscus). Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to the initial search results, ultimately identifying twelve studies suitable for inclusion in this review. Through thematic analysis and qualitative evaluation of these studies, several key findings emerged: (a) a lack of a structured theoretical framework for player styles based on their positions within the team formation, (b) absence of studies investigating the influence of contextual variables on player styles, (c) methodological deficiencies observed in the reviewed studies, and (d) disparity in the objectives of sports science and data science studies. By identifying these gaps in the literature and presenting a structured framework for player styles (based on the compilation of all reported styles from the reviewed studies), this review aims to assist team stakeholders and provide guidance for future research endeavors. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop