• Assessment of energy availability and associated risk factors in professional female soccer players

      Moss, Samantha; Randell, Rebecca; Burgess, Darren; Ridley, Stephanie; Ó Cairealláin, Cairbre; Allison, Richard; Rollo, Ian; University of Chester; Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Arsenal Football Club, Tipperary GAA, Melbourne Football Club (Taylor & Francis, 2020-08-06)
      This study aimed to assess energy availability (EA), alongside possible risk factors of reduced or low EA of professional female soccer players during a competitive season. Thirteen players (age: 23.7 ± 3.4 y, stature: 1.69 ± 0.08 m, body mass: 63.7 ± 7.0 kg) engaged in a 5-day (two rest days, one light training, heavy training and match day) monitoring period. Energy intake (EI) and expenditure during exercise (EEE) were measured. EA was calculated and categorised as optimal, reduced or low (≥45, 31-44, ≤30 kcal·kg FFM-1·day-1, respectively). Relationships between EA and bone mineral density, resting metabolic rate (RMR), plasma micronutrient status, biochemical markers and survey data were assessed. EA was optimal for 15%, reduced for 62% and low for 23% of players. Higher EA was observed on rest days compared to others (P<0.05). EA was higher for the light compared to the heavy training day (P<0.001). EEE differed significantly between days (P<0.05). EI (2124 ± 444 kcal), carbohydrate (3.31 ± 0.64 g·kg·day-1) and protein (1.83 ± 0.41 g·kg·day-1) intake remained similar (P>0.05). Survey data revealed 23% scored ≥ 8 on the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire and met criteria for low RMR (ratio <0.90). Relationships between EA and risk factors were inconclusive. Most players displayed reduced EA and did not alter EI or carbohydrate intake to training or match demands. Although cases of low EA were identified, further work is needed to investigate possible long-term effects and risk factors of low and reduced EA separately to inform player recommendations.
    • The effects of in-season, low-volume sprint interval training with and without sport-specific actions on the physical characteristics of elite academy rugby league players

      Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie M.; Moss, Samantha; Twist, Craig (Human Kinetics, 2020-05-01)
      Purpose: To determine the utility of a running and rugby-specific, in-season sprint interval interventions in professional rugby league players. Methods: Thirty-one professional academy rugby players were assigned to a rugby-specific (SITr/s, n = 16) or running (SITr, n = 15) sprint interval training group. Measures of speed, power, change of direction (CoD) ability, prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance and heart rate recovery (HRR) were taken before and after the 2-week intervention as were sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Internal, external and perceptual responses were collected during SITr/s/SITr, with wellbeing and neuromuscular function assessed before each session. Results: Despite contrasting (possible to most likely) internal, external and perceptual responses to the SIT interventions, possible to most likely within-group improvements in physical characteristics, HRR and sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1 were observed after both interventions. Between-group analysis favoured the SITr/s intervention (trivial to moderate) for changes in 10 m sprint time, CMJ, change of direction and medicine ball throw as well as sub-maximal (280-440 m) high metabolic power, PlayerLoad™ and acceleratory distance during the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Overall changes in wellbeing or neuromuscular function were unclear. Conclusion: Two-weeks of SITr/s and SITr was effective for improving physical characteristics, HRR and sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1, with no clear change in wellbeing and neuromuscular function. Between-group analysis favoured the SITr/s group, suggesting that the inclusion of sport- specific actions should be considered for in-season conditioning of rugby league players.
    • An examination of a modified Yo-Yo test to measure intermittent running performance in rugby players

      Dobbin, Nick; Moss, Samantha; Highton, Jamie M.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-17)
      This study examined how starting each shuttle in the prone position altered the internal, external and perceptual responses to the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. Using a randomized crossover design, 17 male rugby players completed the Yo-Yo IR1 and prone Yo-Yo IR1 on two separate occasions. External loads (via microtechnology), V ̇O2, heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured at 160, 280 and 440 m (sub-maximal) and when the test was terminated (peak). The pre-to-post change in blood lactate concentration (∆[La]b) was determined for both tests. All data were analysed using effect sizes and magnitude-based inferences. Between-trial differences (ES  90%CL) indicated total distance was most likely lower (-1.87  0.19), whereas other measures of peak external load were likely to very likely higher during the prone Yo-Yo IR1 (0.62-1.80). Sub-maximal RPE was likely to most likely higher (0.40-0.96) and peak RPE very likely higher (0.63  0.41) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. The change in [La]b was likely higher after the prone Yo-Yo IRl. Mean HR was possibly lower at 440 m (-0.25  0.29) as was peak HR (-0.26  0.25) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. "V" ̇E, "V" ̇O2 and "V" ̇CO2 were likely to very likely higher at 280 and 440 m (ES = 0.36-1.22), while peak values were possibly to likely higher (ES = 0.23-0.37) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Adopting a prone position during the Yo-Yo IR1 increases the internal, perceptual and external responses, placing greater emphasis on metabolically demanding actions typical of rugby.
    • Perceptions and measurement of playtime physical activity in English primary school children: The influence of socioeconomic status

      McWhannell, Nicola; Triggs, Carmel; Moss, Samantha (Sage, 2017-11-27)
      Children in areas of low socioeconomic status might face barriers to physical activity during school playtime in comparison to their high socioeconomic status counterparts. However, limited research within the area currently prevents evidence-based interventions from being targeted appropriately. This exploratory study aimed to assess and compare playtime physical activity levels and perceptions of physical activity in primary school children from two schools of different socioeconomic status. Fifty-three children wore an accelerometer during playtime for three school days while 33 children participated in single-sex focus groups to elicit their experiences of physical activity during playtime. Results revealed that children from the low socioeconomic status school spent more time in sedentary activities (P = 0.001) and spent less time in moderate and moderate to vigorous physical activity (P = 0.001) than children from the high socioeconomic status school. Despite some between-school similarities in their perceptions of physical activity, differences resonated in their reasons for taking part in physical activity, perceptions of the play environment and ideas to improve physical activity. These findings contribute to current research and provide in-depth information from active users of the play environment that could be useful to inform new interventions for schools of varying socioeconomic status.
    • Perfectionism Among Young Female Competitive Irish Dancers: Prevalence and Relationship with Injury Responses

      Pentith, Rebecca; Moss, Samantha; Lamb, Kevin; Edwards, Carmel; University of Chester
      The present study investigated the prevalence of perfectionism among young competitive Irish dancers and examined the relationships between three different types of perfectionistic tendencies and coping strategies ultilised when experiencing injury. Sixty-eight female dancers (Mage = 14 ± 2.3 years) completed the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, alongside a record of injuries incurred during their championship careers. Participants reported 189 injuries, mostly involving lower extremities. Seventy-nine percent of dancers reported perfectionistic tendencies (mixed perfectionism 40%, pure self-oriented perfectionism 29%, pure socially prescribed perfectionism 10%), and most frequently adopted planful problem-solving, seeking social support, distancing, and self-controlling strategies to cope with injury. Perfectionism and the utilisation of two coping strategies were found to be significantly (p = .03) related; planful problem-solving was used typically ‘quite a bit or a great deal’ by the mixed perfectionism group, but only ‘somewhat’ by the non-perfectionism group, whereas confrontive coping was typically not used by the non-perfectionism group, but was used ‘somewhat’ by the mixed perfectionism group. Given the high frequency and intensity of perfectionism and the simulaneous employment of problem- and emotion-focused strategies when coping with injuries, it is suggested that practitioners acknowledge such tendencies when supporting their athletes’ in order to reduce the likely negative psychological impact.
    • Physiological characteristics of female soccer players and health and performance considerations: A narrative review

      Randell, Rebecca; Clifford, Thomas; Drust, Barry; Moss, Samantha; Unnithan, Viswanath; De Ste Croix, Mark; Datson, Naomi; Martin, Daniel; Mayho, Hannah; Carter, James; et al. (Springer, 2021-04-12)
      Female soccer has seen a substantial rise in participation, as well as increased financial support from governing bodies over the last decade. Thus, there is an onus on researchers and medical departments to develop a better understanding of the physical characteristics and demands, and the health and performance needs of female soccer players. In this review we discuss the current research, as well as the knowledge gaps, of six major topics: physical demands, talent identification, body composition, injury risk and prevention, health, and nutrition. Data on female talent identification are scarce, and future studies need to elucidate the influence of relative age and maturation selection across age groups. Regarding the physical demands, more research is needed on the pattern of high-intensity sprinting during matches and the contribution of soccer-specific movements. Injuries are not uncommon in female soccer players, but targeting intrinsically modifiable factors with injury prevention programmes can reduce injury rates. The anthropometric and physical characteristics of female players are heterogenous and setting specific targets should be discouraged in youth and sub-elite players. Menstrual cycle phase may influence performance and injury risk; however, there are few studies in soccer players. Nutrition plays a critical role for health and performance and ensuring adequate energy intake remains a priority. Despite recent progress, there is considerably less research in female than male soccer players. Many gaps in our understanding of how best to develop and manage the health and performance of female soccer players remain.