Special Issue "Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes"

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

PD Dr. Silvio Lorenzetti
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen, SFISM, Magglingen, Switzerland
Interests: sport biomechanics; elite sport; musculoskeletal modelling; strength training
Dr. Helen Bayne
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Affiliation: Division of Biokinetics and Sport Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Interests: sport biomechanics; injury prevention; monitoring; sprinting

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Edition is dedicated to those working in the area of elite sport/high performance sports. Elite sport research is about development, performance, training, testing, injury, health, and rehabilitation throughout the entire career of the athletes. Studies can either be performed in the lab, field, or during competition. Research is often interdisciplinary, and combines disciplines such as biomechanics, medicine, nutrition, physiology, physiotherapy, psychology, sociology, and others. New technologies such as wearables, imaging, and customized measurement devices are often used to provide evidence to coaches and athletes. Working with high performance athletes has some particularities, such as the level of performance, but also a limited number of participants. Therefore, we are accepting articles, reviews, and case reports for this Special Issue.

PD Dr. Silvio Lorenzetti
Dr. Helen Bayne
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 papers will be 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. Sports is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1000 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

  • elite athlete
  • competition
  • field measurement
  • sport performance
  • training

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
SwimBIT: A Novel Approach to Stroke Analysis During Swim Training Based on Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS)
Sports 2019, 7(11), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7110238 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
In a world where technology is assuming a pervasive role, sports sciences are also increasingly exploiting the possibilities opened by advanced sensors and intelligent algorithms. This paper focuses on the development of a convenient, practical, and low-cost system, SwimBIT, which is intended to [...] Read more.
In a world where technology is assuming a pervasive role, sports sciences are also increasingly exploiting the possibilities opened by advanced sensors and intelligent algorithms. This paper focuses on the development of a convenient, practical, and low-cost system, SwimBIT, which is intended to help swimmers and coaches in performance evaluation, improvement, and injury reduction. Real-world data were collected from 13 triathletes (age 20.8 ± 3.5 years, height 173.7 ± 5.3 cm, and weight 63.5 ± 6.3 kg) with different skill levels in performing the four competitive styles of swimming in order to develop a representative database and allow assessment of the system’s performance in swimming conditions. The hardware collects a set of signals from swimmers based on an attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), and a machine learning workflow for data analysis is used to extract a selection of indicators that allows analysis of a swimmer’s performance. Based on the AHRS data, three novel indicators are proposed: trunk elevation, body balance, and body rotation. Experimental evaluation has shown promising results, with a 100% accuracy in swim lap segmentation, a precision of 100% in the recognition of backstroke, and a precision of 89.60% in the three remaining swimming techniques (butterfly, breaststroke, and front crawl). The performance indicators proposed here provide valuable information for both swimmers and coaches in their quest for enhancing performance and preventing injuries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
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Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Cyclic and Non-Cyclic Force-Velocity Characteristics in BMX Cyclists
Sports 2019, 7(11), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7110232 - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Especially for bicycle motocross (BMX) cyclists, transfer of muscular force-velocity (Fv) characteristics between common strength training exercises and cycling is important. This study investigated the relationship between Fv characteristics in a common training exercise (squat jumps) and a sport-specific task (cycling) [...] Read more.
Especially for bicycle motocross (BMX) cyclists, transfer of muscular force-velocity (Fv) characteristics between common strength training exercises and cycling is important. This study investigated the relationship between Fv characteristics in a common training exercise (squat jumps) and a sport-specific task (cycling) in high-level BMX racers by exploring the degree to which Fv and torque–cadence (Tc) characteristics correspond. Twelve BMX racers performed an Fv (multiple loaded squat jump) and two Tc tests (ramp starts and flat-ground sprints). Results revealed very large correlations between F 0 and T o r 0   s t a r t (r = 0.77) and between P m a x   j u m p and P m a x   s t a r t (r = 0.85). On the other hand, the relationships between v 0 and C a d 0   s t a r t (r = –0.25) and between S F v and S T c   s t a r t (r = –0.14) were small and negative. Similar results were observed for sprints. Based on dichotomous classifications (greater or less than group median), several discrepancies occurred, particularly for the profile slopes and high-speed variables. Thus, we recommend performing both jump-based and cycling-specific F v testing. Of additional note, T c characteristics on flat ground were similar to, but slightly different from those on the start ramp. Therefore, where possible, Tc tests should be carried out on a ramp. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
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Open AccessArticle
Is Physical Performance a Differentiating Element between More or Less Successful Football Teams?
Sports 2019, 7(10), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7100216 - 30 Sep 2019
Abstract
This study investigated the time-motion characteristics of football teams in the Spanish first division, in relation to their final competitive level as defined by league position (Champions League, Europa League, Upper mid-table, lower mid-table and relegation). Match observations (n = 9641) were [...] Read more.
This study investigated the time-motion characteristics of football teams in the Spanish first division, in relation to their final competitive level as defined by league position (Champions League, Europa League, Upper mid-table, lower mid-table and relegation). Match observations (n = 9641) were collected using a multiple-camera computerized tracking system during the 2013–2014 competitive season. The following match parameters were analyzed: total distance, relative distance (m·min−1), distance < 14 km·h−1, >14 km·h−1, between 14–21 km·h−1, >21 km·h−1, and >24 km·h−1. Total distance and distance at different velocities (>14, 21, and 24 km·h−1) in and out of ball possession were also analyzed. A repeated analysis of variance and a comparison of effect sizes were carried out to compare the performance of the teams. The analysis of the data showed differences in physical performance characteristics between competitive levels. The volume of distance covered in the variables analyzed did not relate to success in soccer. Both successful and unsuccessful teams presented the same running requirements at higher velocities. These findings provide valuable information about the physical demands of the running requirements according to their final position in the league table. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Protective American Football Headgear on Peripheral Vision Reaction Time and Visual Target Detection in Division I NCAA Football Players
Sports 2019, 7(9), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7090213 - 16 Sep 2019
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of protective football headgear on peripheral vision reaction time and visual target detection. Twenty-five Division I NCAA football players (age = 20.5 yrs ± 0.9, height = 185.9 cm ± 6.8, body mass [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of protective football headgear on peripheral vision reaction time and visual target detection. Twenty-five Division I NCAA football players (age = 20.5 yrs ± 0.9, height = 185.9 cm ± 6.8, body mass = 99.2 kg ± 19.2, BMI = 29.6 ± 4.5) participated. In a crossover counterbalanced study design, subjects participated in one visit with three conditions: Baseline (BL) without headgear, helmet only (HO), helmet with an eye shield (HE). Subjects completed a 1-min peripheral vision reaction time test for each condition separated by 3-min recovery periods. Tests were administered using a 64 light Dynavision D2 Visuomotor board. Target detection (total hit score) was higher during BL than HO (p < 0.001) and HE (p < 0.001). Average (p < 0.001), peak (p < 0.001), minimum (p < 0.001), and median (p < 0.001) peripheral reaction times were faster during BL than HO and HE. No significant differences were observed for any measures between HO and HE conditions (p > 0.05). Findings indicate that protective football headgear impaired reaction time to peripheral visual stimuli. The addition of an eye shield to the helmet had a small non-significant effect on reaction time and target detection. These results may hold important implications in helmet design and player safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
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Open AccessArticle
Individual Adaptation in Cross-Country Skiing Based on Tracking during Training Conditions
Sports 2019, 7(9), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7090211 - 12 Sep 2019
Abstract
Research on heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and blood pressure (BP) during specific training stages is less common in endurance athletes, whereas resting BP and HR are less studied in relationship to HRmax. In the current study, the objective [...] Read more.
Research on heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and blood pressure (BP) during specific training stages is less common in endurance athletes, whereas resting BP and HR are less studied in relationship to HRmax. In the current study, the objective was to conduct a medium-term HR, BP and MAP analysis while tracking individual training outcomes. The study was conducted during the 2017–2018 season, over 43 days and 1033 km of training volume, on 12 competitive male cross-country ski athletes. One VO2max test was performed 10 days before the start of the training program. After the test, training volume and intensity was preset for each subject, according to the general training methodology. Early morning HR, MAP and BP measurements were taken as part of the basic functional analysis. Training volume was correlated to both distance (p = 0.01, r = 0.85, CI95% = 0.80 to 0.88) and training HR%, namely the percentage of HRmax (p = 0.01, r = −0.47, CI95% = −0.58 to −0.34). Both the supine (sHR) and orthostatic HR (oHR) values were significantly correlated with the training intensity. We obtained a significant correlation between sHR and oHR values and the training objective (p = 0.01). An increased oHR was correlated to high intensity training activity (HIT) during the second training session (p = 0.01). Heart rate and blood pressure measurements represent predictive functional adaptation parameters over different training phases. We highlight a link between sHR, oHR, MAP data, and the athletes’ ability to perform in lower effort zones during physical exertion. However, we failed to validate MAP as a cardiovascular stress indicator following high intensity training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
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Open AccessArticle
Trunk and Upper Body Fatigue Adversely Affect Running Economy: A Three-Armed Randomized Controlled Crossover Pilot Trial
Sports 2019, 7(8), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7080195 - 19 Aug 2019
Abstract
Trunk muscle fatigue and its negative relationship with running economy (RE) is frequently recognized by practitioners but lacks evidence-based support. Thus, this three-armed randomized controlled crossover pilot trial (RCT) examined the effects of trunk and upper body fatigue protocols on RE, trunk muscle [...] Read more.
Trunk muscle fatigue and its negative relationship with running economy (RE) is frequently recognized by practitioners but lacks evidence-based support. Thus, this three-armed randomized controlled crossover pilot trial (RCT) examined the effects of trunk and upper body fatigue protocols on RE, trunk muscle isometric rate of force production, and lactate response in runners. Seven well-trained runners (2 males and 5 females) randomly underwent control (CON), trunk fatigue (TRK), and upper body fatigue (UPR) protocols on three different lab visits. Both workload-matched fatigue protocols—consisting of 24 min of a circuit weight routine—elicited comparable rates of perceived exertion, heart rate responses, and lactate accumulations. As expected, core muscle strength assessed with isometric testing immediately before and after both fatigue protocols, decreased notably. RE (VO2/kg bodyweight averaged for 1 min) was determined during a 15 min individual anaerobic threshold (IAT) run at 4, 9 and 14 min. The IAT (13.9 to 15.8 km/h) was determined on lab visit one using an incremental treadmill running protocol to volitional exhaustion. RE differed, although not significantly, between CON and both fatigue protocols by 0.75 (4th min) to 1.5 ml/min/kg (9th and 14th min) bodyweight (Time × Mode Interaction: p = 0.2, np2 = 0.40) with a moderate to large effect size. Despite no signficance, the largest RE differences were observed between TRK and CON (and underscored by the moderate to large effect size). This preliminary pilot RCT revealed that both UPR and TRK conditions might adversely impact running economy at a high intensity, steady state running pace. Future studies should elucidate if these findings are replicable in large scale trials and, in turn, whether periodized core training can beneficially preserve RE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
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Open AccessArticle
A Biomechanical Comparison of Successful and Unsuccessful Snatch Attempts among Elite Male Weightlifters
Sports 2019, 7(6), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060151 - 21 Jun 2019
Abstract
The success factor of the snatch has not been identified. Determining the success factors of the snatch among elite weightlifters might help to attain a successful snatch. This study aimed at clarifying the factors that lead to a successful snatch based on barbell [...] Read more.
The success factor of the snatch has not been identified. Determining the success factors of the snatch among elite weightlifters might help to attain a successful snatch. This study aimed at clarifying the factors that lead to a successful snatch based on barbell trajectory among elite male weightlifters. Data were collected at the 2017 World and Junior World Weightlifting Championships. We digitized the barbell trajectory of the successful and unsuccessful snatch attempts of 61 lifters—an unsuccessful lift would be as a result of a frontward barbell drop—and calculated the kinematic and kinetic parameters of the barbell. No significant difference was found in the barbell maximum height (Dy1) between the successful and unsuccessful lifts. The amount of backward displacement of the barbell in the second pull phase to the catch position (DxL) of the successful lift was significantly larger than that of the unsuccessful lift (successful: 0.11 ± 0.05 m; unsuccessful: 0.10 ± 0.06 m; p < 0.01; d = 0.278). The barbell drop distance in the catch phase (Dy3) of the successful lift was significantly smaller than that in the unsuccessful lift (successful: 0.17 ± 0.04 m; unsuccessful: 0.18 ± 0.04 m; p < 0.001, d = 0.361). These results suggest that DxL and Dy3 are factors leading to a successful snatch lift, but not Dy1. The relative position in the sagittal axis of the barbell and the lifter in the catch position, and catching the barbell when its momentum was low, are important in order to achieve a successful snatch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sport Science for Elite Athletes)
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