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Volume 10, January

Sports, Volume 10, Issue 2 (February 2022) – 15 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We aimed to study different types and periodization of strength training in combination with endurance trainings on double poling performance and body composition in adolescent skiers. Ten weeks of training improved double poling ergometer performance in all three groups. However, performing low intensity-high volume strength trainings resulted in significantly increased lean mass, while no changes in lean mass were seen while performing explosive type of strength trainings. View this paper
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Article
The Influence of Muscular Strength and Local Muscular Endurance on Accuracy of Estimated Repetitions to Failure in Resistance-Trained Males
Sports 2022, 10(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020027 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 950
Abstract
This study investigated whether muscular strength and local muscular endurance (LME) influences accuracy of estimated repetitions to failure (ERF) during resistance exercise. Twenty resistance-trained males (age 26.3 ± 6.9 years) completed five sets of 10 repetitions at 70% 1RM for the bench press [...] Read more.
This study investigated whether muscular strength and local muscular endurance (LME) influences accuracy of estimated repetitions to failure (ERF) during resistance exercise. Twenty resistance-trained males (age 26.3 ± 6.9 years) completed five sets of 10 repetitions at 70% 1RM for the bench press and squat. Following the 10th repetition of each set, participants reported ERF and then continued to concentric failure. Participants were separated into one of two groups based on muscular strength and LME. There were no significant differences between strength groups for error in ERF, ERF, and actual repetitions to failure (ARF). High-LME compared to Low-LME had greater ERF for all sets of bench press (p < 0.05) and two sets of squat (p < 0.05). Greater ARF was observed in High-LME for two of five sets for bench press (p < 0.05) and squat (p < 0.05). High-LME had greater error in ERF for bench press set 1 (p < 0.01) and set 4 (p = 0.04), while for set 1 only for squat (p = 0.01). Findings indicate that LME influences accuracy of ERF during the initial set of bench press and squat as well as a latter set for the bench press. Future studies with larger sample sizes are warranted to explore whether LME affects accuracy of ERF across multiple sets. Full article
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Article
Development of a Novel Nordic Hamstring Exercise Performance Test Device: A Reliability and Intervention Study
Sports 2022, 10(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020026 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 950
Abstract
There is evidence that a knee flexor exercise, the Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE), prevents hamstring injuries. The purpose of this study was therefore to develop, and to determine the reliability of, a novel NHE test device and, further, to determine the effectiveness of [...] Read more.
There is evidence that a knee flexor exercise, the Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE), prevents hamstring injuries. The purpose of this study was therefore to develop, and to determine the reliability of, a novel NHE test device and, further, to determine the effectiveness of a 10-week low volume NHE program on NHE performance. Twenty female football (soccer) players, aged 16–30 years, participated in this study. From a kneeling position on the device, with the ankles secured under a heavy lifting sling, participants leaned forward in a controlled manner as far as possible (eccentric phase) and then returned to the starting position (concentric phase). A tape measure documented the forward distance achieved by the participants in cm. Participants completed three separate occasions to evaluate test-retest reliability. Additionally, 14 players performed a low volume (1 set of 5 repetitions) NHE program once weekly for 10 weeks. No significant test-retest differences in NHE performance were observed. The intra-class correlation coefficient was 0.95 and the coefficient of variation was 3.54% between tests. Mean improvement in the NHE performance test by the players following training was 22% (8.7 cm), p = 0.005. Our test device reliably measured NHE performance and is easy to perform in any setting. Further, NHE performance was improved by a 10-week low volume NHE program. This suggests that even a small dose (1 set of 5 repetitions once weekly) of the NHE may enhance NHE performance. Full article
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Article
An Index of Non-Linear HRV as a Proxy of the Aerobic Threshold Based on Blood Lactate Concentration in Elite Triathletes
Sports 2022, 10(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020025 - 18 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1521
Abstract
A non-linear index of heart rate (HR) variability (HRV) known as alpha1 of Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA a1) has been shown to change with increasing exercise intensity, crossing a value of 0.75 at the aerobic threshold (AT) in recreational runners defining a HRV [...] Read more.
A non-linear index of heart rate (HR) variability (HRV) known as alpha1 of Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA a1) has been shown to change with increasing exercise intensity, crossing a value of 0.75 at the aerobic threshold (AT) in recreational runners defining a HRV threshold (HRVT). Since large volumes of low-intensity training below the AT is recommended for many elite endurance athletes, confirmation of this relationship in this specific group would be advantageous for the purposes of training intensity distribution monitoring. Nine elite triathletes (7 male, 2 female) attended a training camp for diagnostic purposes. Lactate testing was performed with an incremental cycling ramp test to exhaustion for the determination of the first lactate threshold based on the log–log calculation method (LT1). Concurrent measurements of cardiac beta-to-beat intervals were performed to determine the HRVT. Mean LT1 HR of all 9 participants was 155.8 bpm (±7.0) vs. HRVT HR of 153.7 bpm (±10.1) (p = 0.52). Mean LT1 cycling power was 252.3 W (±48.1) vs. HRVT power of 247.0 W (±53.6) (p = 0.17). Bland–Altman analysis showed mean differences of −1.7 bpm and −5.3 W with limits of agreement (LOA) 13.3 to −16.7 bpm and 15.1 to −25.6 W for HR and cycling power, respectively. The DFA a1-based HRVT closely agreed with the LT1 in a group of elite triathletes. Since large volumes of low-intensity exercise are recommended for successful endurance performance, the fractal correlation properties of HRV show promise as a low-cost, non-invasive option to that of lactate testing for identification of AT-related training boundaries. Full article
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Systematic Review
The Efficacy of Upper-Extremity Elastic Resistance Training on Shoulder Strength and Performance: A Systematic Review
Sports 2022, 10(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020024 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1033
Abstract
Elastic resistance exercise is a popular mode of strength training that has demonstrated positive effects on whole-body strength and performance. The purpose of this work was to identify the efficacy of elastic resistance training on improving upper limb strength and performance measures for [...] Read more.
Elastic resistance exercise is a popular mode of strength training that has demonstrated positive effects on whole-body strength and performance. The purpose of this work was to identify the efficacy of elastic resistance training on improving upper limb strength and performance measures for the shoulder. Seven online databases were searched with a focus on longitudinal studies assessing shoulder elastic training strength interventions. In total, 1367 studies were initially screened for relevancy; 24 full-text articles were included for review. Exercise interventions ranged from 4–12 weeks, assessing pre-/post-strength and performance measures inclusive of isometric and isokinetic strength, 1RM strength, force-velocity tests, and throwing-velocity tests. Significant increases in various isometric strength measures (IR:11–13%, ER:11–42%, FL: 14–36%, EXT: 4–17%, ABD: 8–16%), 1RM strength (~24% in bench press), force-velocities, throwing- and serve-velocities (12%) were all observed. Elastic resistance training elicited positive effects for both strength and performance parameters regardless of intervention duration. Similar significant increases were observed in isometric strength and 1RM strength across durations. Isokinetic strength increases were variable and dependent on the joint velocity conditions. Quantifying the dosage of appropriate exercise prescription for optimal strength and performance gains is inconclusive with this study due to the heterogeneity of the intervention protocols. Full article
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Article
Changes in Intra-to-Extra-Cellular Water Ratio and Bioelectrical Parameters from Day-Before to Day-Of Competition in Bodybuilders: A Pilot Study
Sports 2022, 10(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020023 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1103
Abstract
The present study analyzed the effects from day-before to day-of bodybuilding competition on intracellular water (ICW), extracellular water (ECW), total body water (TBW), and bioimpedance analysis (BIA) parameters (resistance, R; reactance, Xc; and derived scores) in bodybuilding athletes. We assessed anthropometry and BIA [...] Read more.
The present study analyzed the effects from day-before to day-of bodybuilding competition on intracellular water (ICW), extracellular water (ECW), total body water (TBW), and bioimpedance analysis (BIA) parameters (resistance, R; reactance, Xc; and derived scores) in bodybuilding athletes. We assessed anthropometry and BIA (foot-to-hand; tetrapolar; 50 kHz) in 11 male bodybuilders (29 ± 4 year-old; 81 ± 8 kg; 172 ± 7 cm; 27 ± 2 kg/m2) both on the pre-competition day and on the contest day. Results revealed significant increases in ICW (31.6 ± 2.9 to 33.1 ± 2.8 L), with concomitant decreases in ECW (19.8 ± 1.8 to 17.2 ± 1.4 L) and TBW (51.4 ± 4.6 to 50.3 ± 4.2 L) from the day-before competition to contest day, which resulted in relatively large increases in the ICW/ECW ratio (1.60 ± 0.03 to 1.92 ± 0.01 L). Moreover, significant increases in R (391 ± 34 to 413 ± 33 ohm), Xc (64 ± 7 to 70 ± 6 ohm), and phase angle (9.3 ± 0.6 to 9.6 ± 0.7 degree) were observed between time periods. The phase angle scores reported on show-day of 9.6 and 11.2 appear to be the highest group mean and individual values observed in the literature to date. In conclusion, the strategies carried out on the final day of peak-week bodybuilding preparation lead to changes in BIA parameters and body water, with fluids shifting from the extra- to the intracellular compartment. Full article
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Article
Tactical Masters Athletes: BMI Index Classifications
Sports 2022, 10(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020022 - 09 Feb 2022
Viewed by 656
Abstract
Understanding the nexus between aging, physical activity, and obesity has been a source of ongoing investigation. A considerable amount of research has focused on Masters athletes in this regard, suggesting a beneficial relationship between Masters sport participation and a healthy body mass index [...] Read more.
Understanding the nexus between aging, physical activity, and obesity has been a source of ongoing investigation. A considerable amount of research has focused on Masters athletes in this regard, suggesting a beneficial relationship between Masters sport participation and a healthy body mass index (BMI). Some consider Active Duty military personnel as tactical athletes. As such, it is of interest to determine if aging Active Duty military personnel (or Masters Tactical Athletes) might have a similar BMI as other Masters athletes (MA). As such, this investigation examined previously recorded data of Active Duty Enlisted United States Marines (n = 402, male, 46–50 years old). The BMI of the Marines was stratified into categories of: underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. The Marines obesity prevalence was compared to US adult males (40–59 years) as well as male North American MA who competed at the 2009 Sydney World Masters Games. The Marines obesity prevalence was significantly lower than US adult males (p < 0.001) and those MA that competed in softball (p < 0.001); however, it was similar to MA that competed in football, track/field, swimming, and volleyball (p > 0.05). The average Marine BMI = 26.7 kg/m2 was similar to MA who competed in football, swimming, and volley ball (p > 0.05); however, it was higher than MA who competed in track/field (p < 0.05) and lower than MA who played softball (p < 0.05). It should be noted that the average BMI for the Marines and all MA sport categories were classified as being overweight. Within the parameters of this investigation, Tactical MA (i.e., aging US Marines) enjoy a similar beneficial BMI as other North American MA. Full article
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Article
Accuracy and Error Trends of Commercially Available Bat Swing Sensors in Baseball
Sports 2022, 10(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020021 - 06 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1078
Abstract
In baseball, the swing speed and swing angle of the bat just before ball impact are important to increase the speed and horizontal distance of a batted ball. This study investigated the accuracies and error trends of four commercially available bat sensors to [...] Read more.
In baseball, the swing speed and swing angle of the bat just before ball impact are important to increase the speed and horizontal distance of a batted ball. This study investigated the accuracies and error trends of four commercially available bat sensors to measure these parameters. The hitting motions of seven healthy participants were measured simultaneously using the bat sensors and an optical motion capture system, and the swing speeds and swing angles were compared. The swing speed was measured with high accuracy, as indicated by the high intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) between the bat sensor and the motion capture system measurements (mean ICC = 0.78). However, the ICC for the swing angle was lower (mean ICC = 0.58) than that of the swing speed for all but one bat sensor, indicating low accuracy. Moreover, in the high swing speed range, the accuracy of the swing speed tended to decrease for three bat sensors, but the trend of the swing angle was different among bat sensors. Significant systematic biases or proportional errors were found for all bat sensors, indicating the possibility of error correction. The sensor used in this study can help to evaluate the differences between players with different competition levels and hitting motions. Coaches need to be cautious in taking measurements of players with high swing speeds and in assessing slight changes within an individual. Full article
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Sports in 2021
Sports 2022, 10(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020020 - 31 Jan 2022
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Rigorous peer-reviews are the basis of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Article
Chest Exercises: Movement and Loading of Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist Joints
Sports 2022, 10(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020019 - 31 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1261
Abstract
Injuries to the shoulder are very common in sports that involve overhead arm or throwing movements. Strength training of the chest muscles has the potential to protect the shoulder from injury. Kinematic and kinetic data were acquired in 20 healthy subjects (age: 24.9 [...] Read more.
Injuries to the shoulder are very common in sports that involve overhead arm or throwing movements. Strength training of the chest muscles has the potential to protect the shoulder from injury. Kinematic and kinetic data were acquired in 20 healthy subjects (age: 24.9 ± 2.7 years) using motion capture, force plates for the bench press exercises and load cells in the cable for the cable pulley exercises with 15% and 30% of body weight (BW). Joint ranges of motion (RoM) and joint moments at the shoulder, elbow and wrist were derived using an inverse dynamics approach. The maximum absolute moments at the shoulder joint were significantly larger for the cable pulley exercises than for the bench press exercises. The cable cross-over exercise resulted in substantially different joint angles and loading patterns compared to most other exercises, with higher fluctuations during the exercise cycle. The present results indicate that a combination of bench press and cable pulley exercises are best to train the full RoM and, thus, intra-muscular coordination across the upper limbs. Care has to be taken when performing cable cross-over exercises to ensure proper stabilisation of the joints during exercise execution and avoid joint overloading. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning and Biomechanics for Sports)
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Article
The Effect of a Handball Warm-Up Program on Dynamic Balance among Elite Adolescent Handball Players
Sports 2022, 10(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020018 - 31 Jan 2022
Viewed by 933
Abstract
This study examined the effect of the handball warm-up program (HWP) on dynamic balance among elite adolescent handball players. In this case, 24 handball players were randomly assigned into experimental warm-up and control groups. The HWP was performed over 8 weeks (3 times [...] Read more.
This study examined the effect of the handball warm-up program (HWP) on dynamic balance among elite adolescent handball players. In this case, 24 handball players were randomly assigned into experimental warm-up and control groups. The HWP was performed over 8 weeks (3 times per week). Dynamic balance before and after the intervention training programs were measured by the Biodex Balance System (BBS) and Y Balance test for the dominant (DL) and non-dominant legs (non-DL). After HWP training, BBS scores significantly improved in the overall (OSI) (30.4% and 31.1%), anterior-posterior (APSI) (44.6% and 35.2%), and medial-lateral stability indexes (MLSI) (38.8% and 43%) for both DL and non-DL. Post-training, the Y Balance test exhibited significant improvements in OSI (13.2% and 10.6%), anterior (17.2% and 12.6%), posteriolateral (12.8% and 11.3%), and posteriomedial stability indexes (9.2% and 7.9%) with DL and non-DL, respectively. In conclusion, dynamic balance improved overall after eight weeks of the HWP, with this improvement significantly greater with the trained versus the control group. Optimal balance during handball is an important factor to ensure coordinated and efficient movements and it is speculated that improved balance could positively impact injury prevention. Hence, the HWP program can be used as an alternative to a conventional warm-up program. Full article
Brief Report
The Role of Crowd Support on Home Advantage during COVID-19 Restrictions on Italian Football Competitions. Comparison between 2018–19 and 2020–21 Seasons of the Italian Serie A and Serie B Championships
Sports 2022, 10(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020017 - 30 Jan 2022
Viewed by 836
Abstract
The home advantage (HA) affects football competitions, especially due to the presence of crowd support. Even though several studies demonstrated that HA (which is influenced by the crowd) decreased in recent years, the empty stadia caused by COVID-19 restrictions offered unique situations to [...] Read more.
The home advantage (HA) affects football competitions, especially due to the presence of crowd support. Even though several studies demonstrated that HA (which is influenced by the crowd) decreased in recent years, the empty stadia caused by COVID-19 restrictions offered unique situations to explore and quantify HA. For this reason, we aimed to assess HA in two seasons of the major Italian Championships. We conducted an observational study with the data from the last three seasons of the Italian football championship A–B series, analyzing a total of 2.964 individual game scores. To quantify the HA, the number of points won at home was calculated as a percentage of the total number of points won, home and away. In every season and for every team classification, HA was found (scored points > 50% in home matches). We reported a difference in HA median score for Serie B. Additionally, a difference was found in Serie A for middle-ranking HA median scores in the two seasons compared (p-value = 0.017), which was similarly found in Serie B (p-value = 0.009). The number of penalties was lower in the season with a crowd compared to one without a crowd (p = 0.001). The HA did not disappear in empty stadiums, so there must be other contributing factors. Additionally, we found that the referees were biased by the presence of the crowd in favor of the home teams, and this result could be considered by the football association during referees’ training and formation. Full article
Article
In Pursuit of a Comprehensive Understanding of Expertise Development: A Comparison between Paths to World-Class Performance in Complex Technical vs. Endurance Demanding Sports
Sports 2022, 10(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020016 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 801
Abstract
A comprehensive understanding of skill acquisition is important for different performance domains, and has practical implications for both sport sciences and public health. The study compared important constraints for expertise development in a physically demanding sport (cross-country skiing) versus a technically demanding sport [...] Read more.
A comprehensive understanding of skill acquisition is important for different performance domains, and has practical implications for both sport sciences and public health. The study compared important constraints for expertise development in a physically demanding sport (cross-country skiing) versus a technically demanding sport (freeskiing). Eighteen world-class athletes reported the importance of different constraints for their developmental history subdivided into two age spans: (1) 7–15 years and (2) 16 years until present. The total amount of training did not differ between the groups, but from the age of 16, the cross-country skiers spend approximately 98% of their training specific to their main sport, compared to 75% for freeskiers. No differences were found between the distribution of organized versus non-organized training in main sport, but freeskiers reported a higher amount of unorganized training in other sports after the age of 16. No differences were found in perceived importance of facilities, enjoyment of performing their sport, or the need for early specialization of training. After the age of 16, the cross-country skiers reported a higher need for coach involvement compared to freeskiers. The two sports mainly share common paths to expertise but differ in the need for specific training and coach involvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Talent Identification and Development in Youth Sports)
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Article
The Effect of Different Periodization and Modes of Concurrent Strength and Endurance Training on Double Poling Performance and Body Composition in Adolescent Cross-Country Skiers
Sports 2022, 10(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020015 - 20 Jan 2022
Viewed by 952
Abstract
The aim of the study was to compare the effects of different types and periodization of strength training on body composition and maximal aerobic performance in 10-week training period in adolescent XC skiers. Twenty-eight adolescent competitive cross-country skiers, including 10 females (age 17.9 [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to compare the effects of different types and periodization of strength training on body composition and maximal aerobic performance in 10-week training period in adolescent XC skiers. Twenty-eight adolescent competitive cross-country skiers, including 10 females (age 17.9 ± 1.8 years; body mass 69.6 ± 9.7 kg; height 1.77 ± 0.1 m; training experience 8.6 ± 3.2 years) took part in this study. Pre-and post-intervention performance was measured with the incremental exercise test (Pmax) on a double poling ski ergometer. Changes in body composition were measured with DXA. In addition to regular endurance training, experimental group one (EXP1) performed maximal and explosive strength training two times per week, experimental group two (EXP2) performed maximal and explosive strength training 1–3 times per week, and the traditional (TRAD) group performed low intensity–high volume strength training 2 times per week. Increases in arm, trunk, and overall lean mass were found in TRAD (p < 0.05). Increases in arm lean-mass was found in EXP1 (p < 0.05), while no changes in body composition occurred in EXP2 (p ≥ 0.05). Pmax improved significantly in all groups (p < 0.05). Changes in body mass, overall and arm lean mass was related to changes in absolute performance (W; p < 0.05), while no relationships were found between changes in body composition parameters and relative performance (W/kg; p ≥ 0.05). In conclusion, different periodization of strength training led to similar improvements in double poling ergometer performance, but resulted in different changes in body composition (lean mass) in adolescent cross-country skiers. Full article
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Article
Coaches’ Criteria for Talent Identification of Youth Male Soccer Players
Sports 2022, 10(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020014 - 18 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1236
Abstract
Introduction: The main aim of this study was to examine which criteria coaches considered in the talent identification of youth male soccer players aged 13–16. The second aim was to describe how the coaches considered these criteria when identifying players for their club [...] Read more.
Introduction: The main aim of this study was to examine which criteria coaches considered in the talent identification of youth male soccer players aged 13–16. The second aim was to describe how the coaches considered these criteria when identifying players for their club or regional teams and how these criteria take the impact of the relative age effect into consideration. Methods: We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with six male coaches from a professional club academy or a regional team within the Norwegian Football Federation. Results: In line with earlier research, the results showed that the coaches considered the technical, tactical, and mental factors as the most important in talent identification. Further in line with earlier research, they considered that the physiological and sociological factors were of secondary importance, while anthropometric measures were considered the least important. Regarding the relative age effect, the coaches were aware of the effect and its consequences, while few of them had ways to reduce the effect and its impact on their talent identification process. Even so, the coaches highlighted the importance of considering a holistic approach to talent identification. Conclusion: The results show similarities with earlier research, but there is still a need for more longitudinal studies that investigate criteria for talent identification in youth football. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Talent Identification and Development in Youth Sports)
Article
A Multidisciplinary Investigation into the Talent Development Processes in an English Premiership Rugby Union Academy: A Preliminary Study through an Ecological Lens
Sports 2022, 10(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10020013 - 18 Jan 2022
Viewed by 962
Abstract
(1) Background: The progression of youth rugby union (RU) players towards senior professional levels can be the result of various different constraints. The aim of this study was to examine characteristics that differentiated playing positions and player rankings in an English Premiership RU [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The progression of youth rugby union (RU) players towards senior professional levels can be the result of various different constraints. The aim of this study was to examine characteristics that differentiated playing positions and player rankings in an English Premiership RU academy. (2) Methods: Thirty players (mean age = 18.5 ± 2.8 years) were divided by playing positions (forwards = 18, backs = 12) and ranked (one to thirty) by coaches based on their potential to achieve senior professional status. Players were analysed across 32 characteristics from eight overreaching factors based on task, environmental, and performer constraints. MANOVA and ANOVA were used to calculate differences among variables in players’ positions (i.e., forwards vs. backs) and ranks (i.e., top 10 vs. bottom 10), with a Welch’s t-test applied to identify individual differences amongst groups and effect sizes calculated. (3) Results: Large effect sizes were found between groups for socioeconomic, sport activity, anthropometric, physical, and psychological factors. Moreover, environmental and performer constraints differentiated playing positions, whereas task and environmental constraints discriminated player ranks. (4) Conclusion: Present findings showed that playing positions and player ranks can be distinguished according to specific constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Talent Identification and Development in Youth Sports)
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