A 2-year longitudinal follow-up of performance characteristics in Chinese male elite youth athletes from swimming and racket sports.
ABSTRACT: Training in elite sport aims at the optimization of the athletic performance, and to control the athletes`progress in physiological, anthropometrical and motor performance prerequisites. However, in most sports, the value of longitudinal testing is unclear. This study evaluates the longitudinal development and the influence of intense training over 2-years on specific physiological performance prerequisites, as well as certain body dimensions and motor abilities in elite youth athletes. Recruited between 11-13 years of age at Shanghai Elite Sport school, the sample of student-athletes (N = 21) was categorized as the swimming group (10 athletes), and the racket sports group (11 players: 7 table tennis and 4 badminton players). The performance monitoring took place over two years between September 2016 and September 2018 and included 5 test waves. In all the test waves, the athletes were assessed by means of three physiological measurements (vital capacity, hemoglobin concentration, heart rate at rest), three anthropometric parameters (body height, body weight, chest girth), and two motor tests (back strength, complex reaction speed). Seven out of eight diagnostic methods exhibit medium to high validity to discriminate between the different levels of performance development in the two sports groups. The investigated development of the performance characteristics is attributed partly to the inherited athletic disposition as well as to the different sport-specific training regimens of the two sports groups.
Project description:Several talent selection programs in elite sport schools are based on motor diagnostics for the purpose of recommending or transferring promising talents to general groups of sports; game sports, combat sports or endurance sports, and to more concrete sports such as gymnastics, skiing, or tennis. However, the predictive value of such testing is unclear. This study evaluated the concurrent validity of physiological performance prerequisites, body dimensions, as well as specific motor performances. The sample consisted of <i>N</i> = 97 youth athletes from all ninth grade classes of a Shanghai Elite Sport school belonging to six different sports including basketball (<i>n</i> = 7), fencing (<i>n</i> = 23), judo (<i>n</i> = 20), swimming (<i>n</i> = 10), table tennis (<i>n</i> = 15), and volleyball (<i>n</i> = 22). The performance diagnosis took place between September 2016 and March 2017, and comprised five physiological measurements of the heart rate at rest, vital capacity, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and hemoglobin concentration in the blood, eighteen anthropometric parameters, and two motor tests on back strength and complex reaction speed. The aim of the study was to investigate whether U15 age group athletes participating in six different sports already at this age show a sport specific anthropometric, motor performance, and physiological profile which is in line with the specific requirements of each of the sports. A discriminant analysis and a Neural Network (Multilayer Perceptron) were used to test whether it is possible to discriminate between athletes of the six sports and to assign each individual of the Under-15 athletes to his own sport on the basis of a unique profile of the morphological, motor, and physiological prerequisites. All diagnostic methods exhibited medium to high validity to discriminate between the six different sports. The relevance of the eighteen body dimensions, five physiological measures, and two motor tests for talent identification was confirmed.
Project description:Recent technological developments have led to the production of inexpensive, non-invasive, miniature magneto-inertial sensors, ideal for obtaining sport performance measures during training or competition. This systematic review evaluates current evidence and the future potential of their use in sport performance evaluation. Articles published in English (April 2017) were searched in Web-of-Science, Scopus, Pubmed, and Sport-Discus databases. A keyword search of titles, abstracts and keywords which included studies using accelerometers, gyroscopes and/or magnetometers to analyse sport motor-tasks performed by athletes (excluding risk of injury, physical activity, and energy expenditure) resulted in 2040 papers. Papers and reference list screening led to the selection of 286 studies and 23 reviews. Information on sport, motor-tasks, participants, device characteristics, sensor position and fixing, experimental setting and performance indicators was extracted. The selected papers dealt with motor capacity assessment (51 papers), technique analysis (163), activity classification (19), and physical demands assessment (61). Focus was placed mainly on elite and sub-elite athletes (59%) performing their sport in-field during training (62%) and competition (7%). Measuring movement outdoors created opportunities in winter sports (8%), water sports (16%), team sports (25%), and other outdoor activities (27%). Indications on the reliability of sensor-based performance indicators are provided, together with critical considerations and future trends.
Project description:Health is a pre-requisite for optimal performance yet the parameters which govern health and performance of elite female athletes are little understood. The aim of this study was to quantify the health status of elite female athletes, and understand sociocultural factors influencing that status. The survey addressed demographic, health and athletic performance history, training load, contraceptive use, sport-specific appearance and performance pressures, and communication barriers. Three hundred and fifty-seven elite New Zealand female athletes were recruited to complete an on-line survey. Two hundred and nineteen athletes completed the survey. Oligomenorrhea/amenorrhea had been diagnosed in only 12% of athletes compared with 50% of athletes not on hormonal contraception who reported symptoms consistent with this diagnosis. Stress fractures and iron deficiency were common and associated with oligomenorrhoea/amenorrhea (<i>P</i> = 0.002), disordered eating (<i>P</i> = 0.009) or menorrhagia (<i>P</i> = 0.026). Athletes involved in individual sports (<i>P</i> = 0.047) and with higher training volumes (<i>P</i> < 0.001) were more likely to report a medical illness. Seventy-three percent of athletes felt pressured by their sport to alter their physical appearance to conform to gender ideals with 15% engaging in disordered eating practices. Barriers to communicating female health issues included male coaches and support staff, and lack of quality information pertaining to health. Elite female athletes may fail to reach peak performance due to specific health issues and undiagnosed pathology. Sociocultural factors influence the effectiveness of support of female's health and performance. Organizational and cultural change is required if elite female athletes are to combine optimal health with best performance.
Project description:Previous studies on athletes' cognitive functions have reported superior performance on tasks measuring attention and sensorimotor abilities. However, how types of sports training shapes cognitive profile remains to be further explored. In this study, we recruited elite athletes specialized in badminton (N = 35, female = 12) and volleyball (N = 29, female = 13), as well as healthy adult controls (N = 27, female = 17) who had not receive any regular sports training. All participants completed cognitive assessments on spatial attention, sensory memory, cognitive flexibility, motor inhibition, and the attention networks. The results showed that athletes generally showed superior performance on selective cognitive domains compared to healthy controls. Specifically, compared to the healthy control, volleyball players showed superior on iconic memory, inhibitory control of action, and attentional alerting, whereas badminton players showed advantages on iconic memory and basic processing speed. Overall, volleyball players outperformed badminton players on those tasks require stimulus-driven visual attention and motor inhibition, likely due to different training modalities and characteristics of specialty that involves even more complex cognitive processes. To conclude, our findings suggest cognitive plasticity may drive by sports training in team/individual sports expertise, manifesting cognitive profile in sport expertise with distinct training modalities.
Project description:<h4>Background:</h4>Pediatric sports specialization, defined as intense year-round training in a single sport as a result of excluding other sports for more than 8 months per year, is common in the United States. There are demonstrated physical and social risks to early pediatric sports specialization (defined as before age 12 years). While thought to be needed to acquire appropriate experience and excel in a given sport, there remains little information on when athletes at the highest levels of their sport specialized. This study aimed to define when professional and collegiate ice hockey players specialized.<h4>Hypothesis:</h4>Early sports specialization before age 12 years will not be common among elite-level (professional and collegiate) ice hockey players.<h4>Study design:</h4>Retrospective cross-sectional survey study.<h4>Level of evidence:</h4>Level 3.<h4>Methods:</h4>Male professional and collegiate ice hockey players within 1 National Hockey League organization and 2 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) organizations who were 18 years of age or older completed a survey at training camp detailing their history of sports participation and specialization.<h4>Results:</h4>A total of 91 athletes participated in the study (mean age, 22.8 years; range, 18-39 years). The mean age at the start of any sports participation was 4.5 years, and the mean age of sports specialization was 14.3 years. The mean age of specialization in the professional group, the NCAA Division I group, and the NCAA Division III group was 14.1, 14.5, and 14.6 years, respectively.<h4>Conclusion:</h4>Early pediatric sports specialization is not common in elite-level (professional and collegiate) ice hockey players.<h4>Clinical relevance:</h4>Early pediatric sports specialization before age 12 years is not necessary for athletic success in professional and collegiate ice hockey. This study provides further evidence supporting the recommendations of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine against early sports specialization.
Project description:Genetic research of elite athletic performance has been hindered by the complex phenotype and the relatively small effect size of the identified genetic variants. The aims of this study were to identify genetic predisposition to elite athletic performance by investigating genetically-influenced metabolites that discriminate elite athletes from non-elite athletes and to identify those associated with endurance sports. By conducting a genome wide association study with high-resolution metabolomics profiling in 490 elite athletes, common variant metabolic quantitative trait loci (mQTLs) were identified and compared with previously identified mQTLs in non-elite athletes. Among the identified mQTLs, those associated with endurance metabolites were determined. Two novel genetic loci in FOLH1 and VNN1 are reported in association with N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate and Linoleoyl ethanolamide, respectively. When focusing on endurance metabolites, one novel mQTL linking androstenediol (3alpha, 17alpha) monosulfate and SULT2A1 was identified. Potential interactions between the novel identified mQTLs and exercise are highlighted. This is the first report of common variant mQTLs linked to elite athletic performance and endurance sports with potential applications in biomarker discovery in elite athletic candidates, non-conventional anti-doping analytical approaches and therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Enhancing performance levels of athletes during training and competition is a desired goal in sports. Quantifying training success is typically accompanied by performance diagnostics including the assessment of sports-relevant behavioral and physiological parameters. Even though optimal brain processing is a key factor for augmented motor performance and skill learning, neurodiagnostics is typically not implemented in performance diagnostics of athletes. We propose, that neurodiagnostics via non-invasive brain imaging techniques such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) will offer novel perspectives to quantify training-induced neuroplasticity and its relation to motor behavior. A better understanding of such a brain-behavior relationship during the execution of sport-specific movements might help to guide training processes and to optimize training outcomes. Furthermore, targeted non-invasive brain stimulation such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) might help to further enhance training outcomes by modulating brain areas that show training-induced neuroplasticity. However, we strongly suggest that ethical aspects in the use of non-invasive brain stimulation during training and/or competition need to be addressed before neuromodulation can be considered as a performance enhancer in sports.
Project description:The main objective of the project was to examine a proposed theoretical model of mindfulness mechanisms in sports. We conducted two studies (the first study using a cross-sectional design and the second a longitudinal design) to investigate if rumination and emotion regulation mediate the relation between dispositional mindfulness and sport-specific coping. Two hundred and forty-two young elite athletes, drawn from various sports, were recruited for the cross-sectional study. For the longitudinal study, 65 elite athletes were recruited. All analyses were performed using Bayesian statistics. The path analyses showed credible indirect effects of dispositional mindfulness on coping via rumination and emotion regulation in both the cross-sectional study and the longitudinal study. Additionally, the results in both studies showed credible direct effects of dispositional mindfulness on rumination and emotion regulation. Further, credible direct effects of emotion regulation as well as rumination on coping were also found in both studies. Our findings support the theoretical model, indicating that rumination and emotion regulation function as essential mechanisms in the relation between dispositional mindfulness and sport-specific coping skills. Increased dispositional mindfulness in competitive athletes (i.e. by practicing mindfulness) may lead to reductions in rumination, as well as an improved capacity to regulate negative emotions. By doing so, athletes may improve their sport-related coping skills, and thereby enhance athletic performance.
Project description:Functional beverages represent a palatable and efficient way to hydrate and reintegrate electrolytes, carbohydrates, and other nutrients employed and/or lost during physical training and/or competitions. Bodily hydration during sporting activity is one of the best indicators of health in athletes and can be a limiting factor for sport performance. Indeed, dehydration strongly decreases athletic performance until it is a risk to health. As for other nutrients, each of them is reported to support athletes' needs both during the physical activity and/or in the post-workout. In this study, we review the current knowledge of macronutrient-enriched functional beverages in sport taking into account the athletes' health, sports performance, and recovery.
Project description:Background:Youth athletes are under increasing pressures to excel in their chosen sport and many turn to nutritional supplements in order to enhance sports performance. However, athletes may obtain their nutritional information via illegitimate sources such as the internet, media, and other athletes, representing miscommunication between sound scientific information and anecdotal experiences. The objective of this investigation was to examine nutrition knowledge of elite youth athletes from a non-residential regional academy of sport. Methods:A previously validated two-part nutrition knowledge questionnaire (NKQ) was administered to 101 (37 male and 64 female) non-residential regional Academy of Sport elite youth athletes at an annual training camp. Part 1 of the NKQ presented demographic questions. Part 2 presented 90 sports nutrition knowledge questions in seven knowledge subcategories (1) Nutrients; (2) Dietary reference intakes (DRI); (3) Fluids/Hydration; (4) Recovery; (5) Weight gain; (6) Weight loss; and (7) Supplements. Results:The mean NKQ score of all athletes was 43.8% (± 11.4). No gender differences observed between nutritional knowledge total scores, however female athletes recorded more 'correct' responses than males (p =?0.02) in the Nutrients subcategory. Majority of athletes had difficulty identifying correct DRI with this subcategory featuring the lowest percentage of 'correct' to 'incorrect' responses (27.1% ±?2.3; p =?0.02). Supplements subcategory displayed much uncertainty with significantly more 'unsure' than 'incorrect' responses (42.4% ±?20.3; p <?0.05). Conclusions:In agreement with previous research, results of the current study indicate that elite youth athletes lack fundamental nutritional knowledge, specifically related to DRI and supplementation. These data provide further support of current recommendations that Academy of Sport youth athletes may benefit from integrated nutrition education conducted by qualified nutrition professionals.