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Journal: Journal of sports sciences


This paper reviews unsteady flow conditions in human swimming and identifies the limitations and future potential of the current methods of analysing unsteady flow. The capability of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been extended from approaches assuming steady-state conditions to consideration of unsteady/transient conditions associated with the body motion of a swimmer. However, to predict hydrodynamic forces and the swimmer’s potential speeds accurately, more robust and efficient numerical methods are necessary, coupled with validation procedures, requiring detailed experimental data reflecting local flow. Experimental data obtained by particle image velocimetry (PIV) in this area are limited, because at present observations are restricted to a two-dimensional 1.0 m(2) area, though this could be improved if the output range of the associated laser sheet increased. Simulations of human swimming are expected to improve competitive swimming, and our review has identified two important advances relating to understanding the flow conditions affecting performance in front crawl swimming: one is a mechanism for generating unsteady fluid forces, and the other is a theory relating to increased speed and efficiency.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Fluid mechanics, Computational fluid dynamics, Navier–Stokes equations, Swimming, Goggles, Front crawl


Abstract Although it is acknowledged that appropriate breast support during exercise is important, no published literature has assessed breast support usage in a cohort of female marathon runners. This study aimed to identify sport bra use and perceived importance of sports bra use in female marathon runners. Bra satisfaction, incidence of bra related issues and factors that influence the appropriateness of sports bras were also investigated. A 4-part, 30-question survey was administered to 1397 female runners at the 2012 London marathon registration and via an online survey. In total 1285 surveys were completed. Sports bra use and its perceived importance was high, however was lower in moderate compared to vigorous activity, and lower in participants with smaller breasts. Seventy-five per cent of participants reported bra fit issues. The most common issues were chaffing and shoulder straps digging in, with a higher incidence of issues reported by participants with larger breasts. Use of professional bra fitting was low, and perceived knowledge of breast health was poor. Engagement with sports bra use is high although sports bra design could be improved to alleviate bra fit issues experienced by female runners. Educational initiatives are needed to ensure females are informed regarding the importance of breast support and appropriate bra fit during activity.

Concepts: Lactation, Breast, Cleavage, London, Brassiere, Shoulder strap, Sports bra, Brassieres


Abstract Although coaches and players recognise the importance of leaders within the team, research on athlete leadership is sparse. The present study expands knowledge of athlete leadership by extending the current leadership classification and exploring the importance of the team captain as formal leader of the team. An online survey was completed by 4,451 participants (31% females and 69% males) within nine different team sports in Flanders (Belgium). Players (N = 3,193) and coaches (N = 1,258) participated on all different levels in their sports. Results revealed that the proposed additional role of motivational leader was perceived as clearly distinct from the already established roles (task, social and external leader). Furthermore, almost half of the participants (44%) did not perceive their captain as the principal leader on any of the four roles. These findings underline the fact that the leadership qualities attributed to the captain as the team’s formal leader are overrated. It can be concluded that leadership is spread throughout the team; informal leaders rather than the captain take the lead, both on and off the field.

Concepts: Management, Leadership, Coaching, Fiedler contingency model


Abstract The aims of this study were to examine the 1) individual playing area, 2) length and width of the rectangle encompassing the individual playing area and 3) distance between the goalkeepers and their nearest team-mates during professional soccer matches and compare these to previously reported pitch sizes for small-sided games (SSGs). Data were collected from four Spanish La Liga matches of the 2002-03 season, and notated post-event using the Amisco® system. The pitch sizes obtained from real matches were smaller and different from those used previously for SSGs. In addition, the current pitch sizes show significant (P < 0.001) effect of ball location in all variables examined. For example, overall individual playing area (F [5, 2562] = 19.99, P < 0.001, η(2 )= 0.04) varied significantly across six different zones of the pitch. Based on these empirical results, pitch sizes with individual playing areas ranging from 65 m(2) to 110 m(2) and length to width ratio of 1:1 and 1:1.3 are generally recommended for training tactical aspects according to different phases of play. It is possible to design SSGs with a more valid representation of the tactical conditions experienced in full-size matches and their use may improve the training effect of tactical aspects of match performance in soccer.

Concepts: Height, Distance, La Liga, Real Sociedad, Real Madrid C.F., Real Zaragoza, Real Valladolid, Real Oviedo


The aim of this study was to define and categorise different styles of play in elite soccer and associated performance indicators by using factor analysis. Furthermore, the observed teams were categorised using all factor scores. Data were collected from 97 matches from the Spanish La Liga and the English Premier League from the seasons 2006-2007 and 2010-2011 using the Amisco® system. A total of 19 performance indicators, 14 describing aspects of attacking play and five describing aspects of defensive play, were included in the factor analysis. Six factors, representing 12 different styles of play (eight attacking and four defensive), had eigenvalues greater than 1 and explained 87.54% of the total variance. Direct and possession styles of play, defined by factor 1, were the most apparent styles. Factor analysis used the performance indicators to cluster each team’s style of play. Findings showed that a team’s style of play was defined by specific performance indicators and, consequently, teams can be classified to create a playing style profile. For practical implications, playing styles profiling can be used to compare different teams and prepare for opponents in competition. Moreover, teams could use specific training drills directed to improve their styles of play.

Concepts: Factor analysis, Premier League, Association football, Team, La Liga, UEFA, UEFA Champions League, Serie A


This study examined the mechanomyographic (MMGRMS) amplitude-force relationships for 5 (age = 19.20 ± 0.45 years) aerobically trained (AT), 5 (age = 25 ± 4.53 years) resistance-trained (RT) and 5 (age = 21.20 ± 2.17 years) sedentary (SED) individuals. Participants performed an isometric trapezoidal muscle action at 60% maximal voluntary contraction of the leg extensors that included linearly increasing, steady force, and linearly decreasing muscle actions. MMG and skinfold thickness were recorded from the vastus lateralis. b and a terms were calculated from the natural log-transformed MMGRMS-force relationships (linearly increasing and decreasing segments) for each participant. An average of MMGRMS was calculated for the entire steady force segment. The b terms for the RT (0.727 ± 0.334) and SED (0.622 ± 0.281) were significantly greater (P < 0.05) than the AT (0.159 ± 0.223) and were greater during the linearly increasing (0.622 ± 0.426) than decreasing (0.383 ± 0.269) segments when collapsed across segments and training status, respectively. MMGRMS during the steady force segment and skinfold thicknesses were not different among training statuses (P = 0.106, P = 0.142). Motor unit (MU) activation strategies were influenced as a function of exercise training status and muscle action. Future research is needed to fully understand the implications of these changes in MU control strategies as a result of chronic exercise training on exercise and athletic performance.

Concepts: Monotonic function, Function, Convex function, Adipose tissue, Muscle contraction, Vastus lateralis muscle, Segment, Order theory


Abstract The purpose of this article was to examine the effect of equipment scaling, through the modification of tennis ball compression, on elite junior tennis players (aged 10 years) within a match-play context. The two types of ball compressions that were compared were the standard compression (the normal ball) and 75% compression (termed the modified ball). Ten boys and 10 girls participated in the study. Participants were stratified into pairs based on their Australian Age Ranking and gender. Each pair played two two-set matches: one match with standard compression balls and one match with modified balls. The characteristics of each match were analysed and compared. The results showed that the use of the modified ball increased rally speed, allowed players to strike the ball at a lower (more comfortable) height on their groundstrokes and increased the number of balls played at the net. Ball compression had no effect on the relative number of winners, forehands, backhands, first serves in and double faults. The results are discussed in relation to skill acquisition for skilled junior tennis players.

Concepts: Skill, Learning, Data compression, Baseball, Tennis, Dreyfus model of skill acquisition, Balls, Junior tennis


Abstract We aimed to analyse the effects of combined strength and power training during the competitive season on physical fitness in high-level amateur football players. Sixteen male players (22.5 (SD 2.5) years, 1.79 (0.05) m, 76.8 (6.1) kg) from one team were randomly assigned to either a strength training (ST, N = 8) or a control (CON, N = 8) group. ST conducted lower extremity resistance exercises combined with plyometrics and/or sprints 2 × 30 min per week for 7 weeks. CON performed technical-tactical training during the same time period. Before and after training several physical fitness parameters were assessed: one-repetition maximum (1-RM, half squat), isometric peak strength and rate of force development (RFD, leg press), jump height (countermovement, CMJ, drop jump, DJ), sprint times, agility, and intermittent endurance. Large significant test × group interactions were found for 1-RM, CMJ, and DJ reactivity index with increases in CT relative to CON(+11 to 18%). Although not significant (P < 0.20), likely practically relevant effects were observed for isometric peak strength and RFD (+24 to 29%). We found no relevant interaction effects for agility, sprint times, and intermittent endurance. A 7-week in-season combined strength and power training program can improve relevant strength and jump parameters in high-level amateur football players.

Concepts: Physical exercise, Exercise, Interaction, Strength training, Weight training, Resistance training, Bodybuilding, Physical strength


Abstract The purpose of the study was to assess the average physical intensity and energy expenditure during a single round of golf on hilly and flat courses in a heterogeneous group of healthy men and women of varying age and golf handicap. Forty-two males and 24 females completed an incremental cycle-ergometer exercise test to determine exercise performance markers. The heart rate (HR), duration, distance, walking speed, ascent and descent were measured via a global positioning system (GPS)/HR monitor during the game and energy expenditure was calculated. Playing 9 or 18-holes of golf, independent of the golf course design, the average HR was not significantly different between sexes or the subgroups. The intensities were light with respect to the percentage of maximal HR and metabolic equivalents of task (METs). Total energy expenditure of all participants was not significantly different for hilly (834 ± 344 kcal) vs. flat courses (833 ± 295 kcal) whereas male players expended significantly greater energy than female players (926 ± 292 vs. 556 ± 180 kcal), but did not have significantly greater relative energy expenditure (2.8 ± 0.8 vs. 2.2 ± 0.7 METs). As a high volume physical activity, playing golf is suggested to yield health benefits. Since the intensity was well below recommended limits, golf may have health related benefits unrelated to the intensity level of the activity.

Concepts: Male, Female, Energy, Light, Gender, Sex, Physical quantities, Golf


Abstract This study investigated the acute effects of different sizes of paddles on the force-time curve during tethered swimming and swimming velocity in front-crawl stroke. Fourteen male swimmers (20.0 ± 3.7 years; 100-m best time: 53.70 ± 0.87 s) performed two 10-s maximal efforts in tethered swimming to obtain peak force, average force, impulse, rate of force development, stroke duration and time to peak force. Swimming velocity, stroke rate and stroke length were obtained from two 25-m maximal swims. Both tests were repeated in five conditions: free swimming, wearing small (280 cm (2) ), medium (352 cm (2) ), large (462 cm (2) ) and extra-large (552 cm (2) ) hand paddles. Compared to free swimming, paddles provided significant increases of peak force (medium: 11.5%, large: 16.7%, extra-large: 21.7%), impulse (medium: 15.2%, large: 22.4%, extra-large: 30.9%), average force (medium: 5.1%, large: 7.5%), rate of force development (extra-large: 11.3%), stroke duration (medium: 9.3%, large: 11.8%, extra-large: 18.5%), time to peak force (medium: 11.1%, large: 15.9%, extra-large: 22.1%), swimming velocity (medium: 2.2%, large: 3.2%, extra-large: 3.7%) and stroke length (medium: 9.0%, large: 9.0%, extra-large: 14.8%), while stroke rate decreased (medium: -6.2%, large: -5.5%, extra-large: -9.5%). It is concluded that medium, large and extra-large paddles influence the force-time curve and change swimming velocity, suggesting these sizes may be useful for force development in water.

Concepts: Time, Acute accent, Swimming, Human swimming