The Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences has a strong and energetic research culture. In the RAE2008, a proportion of the Department’s research was considered to be “world-leading” and other esteem indicator scores designated 70% of staff submitted to the Sports-Related studies Unit of Assessment as being “ internationally excellent” or “world leading”. Its research activity can be divided into two distinct groups – Sociology of Sport and Exercise and Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences – which focus on advancing knowledge through high quality research that is of benefit to numerous recipients as a consequence of its impact on the exercising and sporting populations, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Staff and postgraduate research is positively developed in an energetic environment which provides the opportunity to disseminate and discuss research through Department research seminars. This facilitates an interdisciplinary approach to a number of research questions which have evolved from identified real life problems.

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  • Sports participation among Norwegian youth: a study of early sporting careers

    Johansen, Patrick F.; Green, Ken; Thurston, Miranda (Taylor & Francis, 2024-03-26)
    Despite a growing body of evidence suggesting that establishing sporting repertoires during youth is intimately related to ongoing participation in sport, little is known about how such repertoires develop during the crucial early teenage years, when the sporting habits that provide a basis for sporting careers take shape. The aim of the study was, therefore, to describe the structure of young people’s sporting repertoires as they move through a key formative period, as a basis for theorising their retention in sports participation. By providing a detailed analysis of a cohort of young Norwegians as they progressed through lower-secondary into upper-secondary school (13–16-year-olds), this study offers insights into how different sporting forms fluctuate during a period typically characterised by heavy drop-out and drop-off from sports participation. Data were obtained from a longitudinal cohort study of Norwegian youngsters attending 11 lower secondary schools based on annual surveys conducted from grade 8 through to grade 10 and used to describe cohort changes in sports participation rates and sporting forms over time. The noticeable movement between sporting forms alongside the marked shift towards informal sports during the period is likely to provide an important insight into how Norwegian teenagers not only maintain high levels of participation during the teenage years but also enhance their sporting repertoires in a manner likely to sustain sports participation through youth into early adulthood.
  • An Examination of the Field-Based Training Practices in European Super League’s first Quadruple Winning Champions

    Twist, Craig; Highton, Jamie; Fairbank, Matthew (University of Chester, 2023-02)
    Using a case study approach, the primary aim of this thesis was to develop an understanding of field-based training practices of a successful professional rugby league team. The research findings were applied to inform the coaching practices of the club but also offered insight that might be of interest more widely given the success of the team over an extended period. Chapter 4 quantified the types of training used during a preseason by the team. There was a 4-week increase in external load, followed by a “regeneration week” in week 5 before an increase in load during week 6. A weekly cycle also emerged with Monday primarily comprising Rugby Skill drills and Speed drills, Tuesday largely Rugby Skill based alongside Conditioning and Game-Based Training, Thursday was a mix of training types with Friday primarily consisting of Game-Based Training that also coincided with the week’s highest values for total distance, high-speed running, and high metabolic distance. Chapter 5 examined the associations between the types of training in preseason and improvements in intermittent running performance (i.e., prone Yo-Yo IR1). The intensity (r = 0.61; 95% CI 0.18, 0.84) and PlayerLoadTM (r = 0.44; 95% CI -0.05, 0.76) during Game-Based Training and high-speed running (r = 0.61; 95% CI 0.18, 0.84) in Conditioning had positive associations with the mean change in prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance (200 ± 143 m [18.1 ± 13.5%]). Total duration of Game-Based Training had a negative association with change in prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance (r = -0.57; 95% CI -0.82, -0.12). These data enable the manipulation of training practices to target specific external metrics (e.g., intensity, PlayerLoadTM, high-speed running) when improvements in intermittent running capacity of professional rugby league players is the desired goal. Chapter 6 examined the differences in external and internal load of field-based training between the three different in-season match-day microcycles and assessed the differences in external demands of matches between the microcycles. Game-Based Training contributed the most to external (total distance, high metabolic distance and PlayerLoadTM) and internal load (highest HRmax, time spent in HR band 5 and HR band 6) for the main training day in long (MD-5), medium (MD-4), and short (MD-2) turnarounds. Both short (86.7 ± 7.9 m.min-1) and medium (86.5 ± 10.9 m.min-1) turnaround matches resulted in lower intensity values than long turnarounds (89.5 ± 7.6m.min-1; P < 0.05). No other differences in external demands were observed between the 3 different match-day microcycles. The consistency in match-day external demands is a desirable outcome as the training week has effectively prepared athletes to perform in match. Additionally, the extensive use of Game-Based Training allowed for the maintenance of physical qualities whilst technically and tactically developing and preparing players for competition. Chapter 7 examined the effect altering match rules (because of COVID-19) had on the external demands of match play. There were increases in whole team high-speed running (r = 0.09; 95% CI 0.02, 0.15 c.f. r = 0.29; 95% CI 0.20, 0.38) and an increased ball-in-play time (52.16 ± 5.01 min c.f. 55.58 ± 4.04 min). These changes highlight the impact of rule changes on the movement demands of professional rugby league matches and the implications for the design of appropriate training practices to better prepare players. Chapter 8 assessed the effects altering the area size per-person of Game-Based Training and the length of Conditioning drills has on key external load metrics. The study showed that increasing the area of Game-Based Training by 10 m2 per-person resulted in athletes covering greater distance (539.3 ± 49.6 m c.f. 500.9 ± 62.9 m & 555.4 ± 55.9 m c.f. 491.4 ± 40.1 m), higher intensities (132.1 ± 12.1 m.min-1 c.f. 122.4 ± 15.4 m.min-1 & 136.8 ± 13.8 m.min-1 c.f. 121.4 ± 9.9 m.min-1), and greater high metabolic distances (122.4 ± 32.0 m c.f. 81.8 ± 22.9 m & 153.0 ± 33.0 m c.f. 120.3 ± 27.1 m). However, the smaller area Game-Based Training showed significantly greater cognitive load (dRPE-C; 73.2 ± 7.8 c.f. 56.3 ± 17.9 AU), possibly due to increased technical/tactical involvements. Increasing the length of conditioning drills resulted in an increase in all external metrics for the shuttle runs, with the linear run experiencing an increase in intensity but a reduction in total distance and PlayerLoadTM. Chapter 8 also found that the coefficient of variation (%CV) between-players during Game-Based Training was higher than previously reported in soccer, with high-speed distance found to have the highest level of variability (23 – 58%), whereas linear running Conditioning drills had much lower variability (4 – 5 %). Game-Based Training is an effective training method, however the variability experienced could leave players under or over trained if this method was solely used, highlighting the importance of using it as a part of balanced programme.
  • A formative investigation assessing menstrual health literacy in professional women’s football

    Anderson, Rosie; Rollo, Ian; Randall, Rebecca; Martin, Daniel; Twist, Craig; Grazette, Neval; Moss, Samantha; University of Chester; Gatorade Sports Science Institute; University of Lincoln; Liverpool John Moores University (Taylor & Francis, 2023-12-11)
    The aim of this study was to assess and compare menstrual health literacy in professional women’s football. A three-section questionnaire was completed by professional players (n = 25), development players (n = 22) and staff (n = 19). The mean total knowledge score (out of 19) was lower for development players (5.4 ± 2.9) than professional players (7.8 ± 3.2) and staff (9.1 ± 4.8) (p < 0.001). No group achieved >50% correct answers. For each group, knowledge of the menstrual cycle (MC) was greater than knowledge of hormonal contraceptives (HC) (p < 0.001). Previous MC and HC education did not correspond to higher knowledge scores in professional players (p = 0.823) or development players (p = 0.274). In professional and development players, comfort of communication was influenced by the sex of whom they were communicating with (p < 0.001), with a preference for females. In conclusion, results from the present study suggest refined education strategies and new approaches are required for both players and staff to improve menstrual health literacy in professional women’s football.
  • Effect of movement‐evoked and tonic experimental pain on muscle force production

    Cabral, Hélio V.; Devecchi, Valter; Oxendale, Chelsea; Jenkinson, Ned; Falla, Deborah; Gallina, Alessio; University of Birmingham; Università degli Studi di Brescia; University of Chester (Wiley, 2023-10-06)
    Introduction: When performing an exercise or a functional test, pain that is evoked by movement or muscle contraction could be a stronger stimulus for changing how individuals move compared to tonic pain. We investigated whether the decrease in muscle force production is larger when experimentally‐induced knee pain is directly associated to the torque produced (movement‐evoked) compared to a constant painful stimulation (tonic). Methods: Twenty‐one participants performed three isometric knee extension maximal voluntary contractions without pain (baseline), during pain, and after pain. Knee pain was induced using sinusoidal electrical stimuli at 10 Hz over the infrapatellar fat pad, applied continuously or modulated proportionally to the knee extension torque. Peak torque and contraction duration were averaged across repetitions and normalized to baseline. Results: During tonic pain, participants reported lower pain intensity during the contraction than at rest (p < 0.001), whereas pain intensity increased with contraction during movement‐evoked pain (p < 0.001). Knee extension torque decreased during both pain conditions (p < 0.001), but a larger reduction was observed during movement‐evoked compared to tonic pain (p < 0.001). Participants produced torque for longer during tonic compared to movement‐evoked pain (p = 0.005). Conclusion: Our results indicate that movement‐evoked pain was a more potent stimulus to reduce knee extension torque than tonic pain. The longer contraction time observed during tonic pain may be a result of a lower perceived pain intensity during muscle contraction. Overall, our results suggest different motor adaptation to tonic and movement‐evoked pain and support the notion that motor adaptation to pain is a purposeful strategy to limit pain. This mechanistic evidence suggests that individuals experiencing prevalently tonic or movement‐evoked pain may exhibit different motor adaptations, which may be important for exercise prescription.
  • It’s about inspiring the greater community to continue supporting this sector: Elite sport success as a main policy objective for disability sport promotion in ASEAN member states

    Nagata, Shinichi; Bloyce, Daniel; Sato, Takahiro; Okade, Yoshinori; University of Tsukuba; University of Chester; Nippon Sport Science University (Taylor & Francis, 2023-08-27)
    Promoting sport participation among people with disabilities is often counted as one of the policy priorities of the national government as well as a main activity of sport for development initiatives to aid the Global South. However, little is known about specific systems, policy, history, and plans for disability sport promotion understood by disability sport administrators in the Global South. The current study focused on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aimed to explore how ASEAN government officials perceive the status of sport for people with disabilities. Representatives from nine ASEAN member countries participated in individual semi-structured interviews. The results of thematic analysis generated three themes: (1) Perceived lack of disability awareness and disability sport recognition; (2) Elite sport successes address problems at hand; and (3) Elite sport success to motivate funders. These themes suggest that successes in elite sports are of central importance for sport promotion among people with disabilities in ASEAN countries because they perceive that elite sport success can raise disability awareness, popularise disability sport, and motivate funders. Also, Paralympic success is viewed as an opportunity for them to demonstrate success otherwise unattainable in the Olympics. Some of the participants’ accounts appear to go against the current knowledge generated in the Global North; however, as funding is important to develop disability sport administration, it might be inevitable for them to continue promoting elite sport success for now.
  • Understanding active travel as a public health issue in Greater Manchester: A figurational sociology study

    Bloyce, Daniel; Thurston, Miranda; White, Christopher C. (University of Chester, 2022-11-14)
    Several policies in the United Kingdom (UK) have highlighted the multifaceted benefits to be gained from active travel (AT), and in doing so, have increasingly positioned AT as a public health issue. However, little is known about the experiences and views of public health individuals in relation to AT. Accordingly, this thesis explores the realities of AT as a public health issue, focusing on public health figurations in Greater Manchester (GM). GM was identified as an area of interest because of ‘devolvement deals’ in health and transport. The devolution deals afforded GM leaders with greater powers to make decisions, separate from national government. Importantly for this study, health devolution policies focused heavily on ‘shifts’ towards ill-health prevention, where AT was described as a key activity. The study was informed by figurational sociology in order to trace the relational processes formed and maintained across participants’ figurations. Primary data consisted of 42 semi-structured interviews with people in various roles related to public health. Thematic analysis was applied to the data, generating four theoretically informed themes. Findings illustrated how various processes meant that AT work within public health figurations in GM was often more constrained than it was enabled. Constraining processes included: habitual attachments to cars and car dominated environments; enduring financial constraints; entrenched medicalised and individualistic habituses amongst figurations. These processes meant that AT programmes were regularly pushed to the peripheries of key concerns. This was strongly related to the relatively weak power of those most interested in AT to counter the stronger collective power of those who prioritised more treatment-centred work. This was exacerbated by a heavy reliance on assumptions that individuals in GM were well-placed to be ‘successful’ in implementing devolution. However, the more detailed elements of implementation were not deliberated until after the government’s financial deal. Here the realities were found to be quite different from some early, more fantasy-laden, intentions, which contributed to stagnation for ‘newer’ public health issues such as AT. A further layer of complexity was that many were, to varying degrees, dependent on councillors when seeking to make AT changes, as councillors were often closest to the centre of power dynamics in local decision-making. However, there appeared to be disparity between public health aspirations for evidence-based policy making, and the political forms of decision making that councillors had become accustomed to. In particular, councillors often placed greater importance on communication with local residents. Decisions on AT were therefore often the outcomes of blends between evidence, political and financial thinking, and various ideologies, often leading to partial stasis for AT within public health figurations.
  • The Effects of an Acute Dose of New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract on 5-km Running Performance

    Moss, Samantha; Brindley, Edward; Enright, Kevin; Highton, Jamie; Bott, Richard; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University (Human Kinetics, 2023-08-30)
    This study investigated the effects of an acute dose (900 mg) of New Zealand Blackcurrant (NZBC) extract on 5 km running performance, alongside associated physiological and metabolic responses. Sixteen trained male runners (age 26 ± 5 years, stature 173.4 ± 7.3 cm, body mass, 73.7 ± 6.9 kg, V̇O2max 55.4 ± 6.1 ml.kg-1.min-1) ingested either capsules containing NZBC extract (3 x 300 mg CurraNZTM, 315 mg anthocyanins) or a matched placebo (3 x 300 mg gluten free flour) 2 hours before exercise in a double-blind, randomised, crossover design. Performance time, physiological, and metabolic responses were assessed in a 5-km time-trial, preceded by 10 min exercise at the lactate threshold on a treadmill. NZBC extract did not alter the physiological or metabolic responses to exercise at the lactate threshold (V̇O2, RER, V̇E, carbohydrate oxidation, fat oxidation, heart rate, blood lactate or Rating of Perceived Exertion, P>0.05). The 5-km time-trial was completed in a faster time in the NZBC extract condition compared to placebo (NZBC: 1308.96 ± 122.36 s, Placebo: 1346.33 ± 124.44, P=0.001, d=-0.23, CI range=-0.46 to 0.00 s). No differences in physiological or metabolic responses were apparent between conditions for the 5-km time-trial (P>0.05). Ingesting 900 mg of NZBC extract as an acute dose improves performance in trained male runners without altering physiological or metabolic responses to exercise. Further research is needed to assess a wider range of possible mechanisms (e.g., cardiovascular function, metabolite profiles) to advance insight into improved performance following supplementation.
  • A dynamic model of the bi-exponential reconstitution and expenditure of W′ in trained cyclists

    Chorley, Alan; Marwood, Simon; Lamb, Kevin L.; University of Chester; Liverpool Hope University (Taylor & Francis, 2023-07-20)
    The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different recovery power outputs on the reconstitution of W′ and to develop a dynamic bi-exponential model of W′ during depletion and reconstitution. Ten trained cyclists (mass 71.7 ± 8.4 kg; V̇O2max 60.0 ± 6.3 ml·kg-1·min-1) completed three incremental ramps (20 W·min-1) to the limit of tolerance on each of six occasions with recovery durations of 30 s and 240 s. Recovery power outputs varied between 50 W (LOW); 60% of critical power (CP) (MOD) and 85% of CP (HVY). W′ reconstitution was measured following each recovery and fitted to a bi-exponential model. Amplitude and time constant (τ) parameters were then determined via regression analysis accounting for relative intensity and duration to produce a dynamic model of W′. W′ reconstitution slowed disproportionately as recovery power output increased (p < 0.001) and increased with recovery duration (p < 0.001). The amplitudes of each recovery component were strongly correlated to W′ reconstitution after 240 s at HVY (r = 0.95), whilst τ parameters were found to be related to the fractional difference between recovery power and CP. The predictive capacity of the resultant model was assessed against experimental data with no differences found between predicted and experimental values of W′ reconstitution (p > 0.05). The dynamic bi-exponential model of W′ accounting for varying recovery intensities closely described W′ kinetics in trained cyclists facilitating real-time decisions about pacing and tactics during competition. The model can be customised for individuals from known CP and W′ and a single additional test session.
  • ‘Now we have gym, now we have to perform’: Norwegian students’ perceptions of assessment and grading in physical education

    Green, Ken; Røset, Linda; Sigurjonsson, Thorsteinn; Tjomsland, Hege; Cale, Lorraine; Thurston, Miranda; Inland University of Applied Sciences; University of Chester; Western Norway University of Applied Sciences; Loughborough University (SAGE Publications, 2023-05-25)
    Assessment has become a routine feature of school life, internationally. Little is known, however, about the consequences for young people of assessment and grading in physical education (PE) – a subject often associated with physical recreation. This paper explores young Norwegian’s perceptions of assessment and grading in PE from a sociological perspective. In doing so, it contemplates the penetration of neo-liberal discourses as part of wider processes of globalization and Europeanization in school PE in Norway. The study utilizes data generated by 31 focus groups involving 148 youngsters from the 10th grade (15–16-year-olds) in eight purposively sampled secondary schools in Norway. Norwegian PE teachers continue to use tests in order to set grades in PE. The upshot is that students’ enjoyment of and engagement in PE, as well as their self-identities and self-esteem, can be compromised by apprehension towards assessment and grading. These processes seem likely to undermine or even erode the potential sociopsychological benefits of PE for some young people by reinforcing the impression that the subject is fast becoming just one more outcome-oriented subject on an academic treadmill. In this regard, the ascendancy of neo-liberalism – associated with the twin challenges of globalisation and European integration – appears to merely reinforce the hegemony of competitive individualism within PE in Norway, as elsewhere.
  • Physical Education Teachers on Physical Education: A Sociological Study of Philosophies and Ideologies

    Green, Ken; University of Chester (Chester Academic Press, 2003-06-30)
    This book discusses the results of a research study undertaken in the North West of England in the late 1990s, in which 35 practising PE secondary school teachers were interviewed about the nature of their subject. Their responses are analysed in terms of the theories of figurational sociology of Norbert Elias.
  • The Reconstitution and Modelling of the Work Capacity Above Critical Power Following Severe Intensity Cycling

    Lamb, Kevin; Chorley, Alan (University of Chester, 2023-04)
    The two-parameter critical power model comprising critical power (CP) and W′ is well accepted as a mathematical model representing exercise in the severe intensity domain. CP represents the maximum work rate derived from aerobic metabolism and W′ the fixed capacity of work above CP. However, within competitive cycle sport few races are performed exclusively within this domain, instead stochastic efforts where W′ is repeatedly depleted and reconstituted typify race demands. Relatively little is known about the reconstitution mechanisms and kinetics of W′ hence the initial aims of this thesis were to develop a reliable method of assessing W′ reconstruction and evaluate likely underlying physiological contributors to the rate of W′ reconstitution. Thereafter, the aim was to develop a dynamic model of W′ reconstitution and depletion which could contribute to race planning and tactics leading to improved sporting performance. A repeated ramp test developed for Study 1 to measure the amount of W′ reconstituted following its full depletion was found to produce reliable results for 2-min recoveries at 50 W (ICC ≥ 0.859; TE ≤ 559 J; CV ≤ 9.2%). A slowing of W′ reconstitution following the repeated bout was evident in this and all subsequent studies. Study 2 found that W′ reconstitution after 2-min recovery was related to measures of aerobic fitness such as V̇O2max (r = 0.81) and CP (r = 0.52) in trained cyclists, whilst the reconstitution of W′ was more related to fat mass in untrained participants (r = -0.70). Studies 1 & 2 also demonstrated existing mono-exponential models of W′ balance did not fit the results obtained after 2-min recovery periods. Therefore, Study 3 compared existing mono-exponential models to a bi-exponential model, finding the latter a much superior fit (AICc bi-exponential: 72.2 versus bi-exponential: 30.2) of the temporal profile of W′ reconstitution of trained cyclists. The resultant model demonstrated that W′ comprised distinct fast and slow components that were unrelated to each other. Study 4 assessed the likelihood of a minimum recovery power output beyond which no further improvement in the rate of W′ reconstitution was apparent. Study 5 investigated the effects of different recovery intensities on W′ reconstitution. Fitting the results of the different recovery intensities into the bi-exponential framework of Study 3 allowed a full dynamic model of W′ reconstitution and depletion to be built allowing for both duration and intensity. The model can be customised to an athlete using the known parameters of CP and W′ together with a single additional test session including a 4-min recovery at 85% of CP. The model can be applied in real time for use by cyclists in competition to aid tactical decision making and optimising race performance.
  • Effects of athletic socks with high frictional properties on in-shoe foot sliding and performance in football-specific movements

    Friedl, Felix; Smith, Grace; Lamb, Kevin L.; Worsfold, Paul R.; Palmer, Matt; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2023-05-24)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of high friction socks on in-shoe foot sliding and running performance of male footballers during change of direction movements. Twelve recreational football players (mean age 20.3±1.1 years) completed a 26 m dynamic agility course at their maximum running speed. 3D kinematic and kinetic data were collected for three maximum speed 45° side-cuts, and 180° turns in two different sock conditions. Comparisons were made between a sock with a high static coefficient of friction (GripSock) and a regular sock (CompressionS). The Gripsock condition significantly increased utilised traction (COFu) and a reduction of GRF angle (GRFα) were identified during the braking phase of the side cut (COFu: + 9.3±10 %; GRFα: - 3.1±2.9 %) but not in the side-cut propulsion, turn braking and turn propulsion phases. Speed perception was raised in the GripSock condition (+ 18±30 %). However, wearing a sock with high frictional properties did not significantly reduce in-shoe foot sliding in any examined direction nor did it significantly reduce running times over a functional traction course. Evidently, the relationship between in-shoe traction and running performance is complex and likely dependent on the overall interaction of shoe properties and the type of athletic sock.
  • Performance progression and variability in 100 m freestyle Paralympic swimmers: A comparison of medallists and para classifications

    Thomson, Edward; Milligan, Matthew; University of Chester; British Para-Swimming (Taylor & Francis, 2023-04-16)
    This study quantified the performance progression and variability of elite 100 m freestyle para swimmers according to classification and medal status. To depict progression, annual world ranking times from 2009 to 2016 were obtained for 253 male and 236 female para swimmers and expressed relative to their respective (2012 & 2016) Paralympic Games performances. Comparisons according to medalling status and para classification were made using linear mixed models. Although not always continuous, swimmers generally progressed year-on-year by≈0.53%. Medallists made significantly greater performance progressions (2.76 ± 0.63%) than non-medallists (2.15 ± 0.31%) over the years preceding a Paralympic Games. The most physically impaired swimmers (S1-S4 classes) made significantly greater performance progressions in the final 3 years before a Paralympic Games than all other subgroups (S5-S6, S7-S10 & S11-S13). Within-swimmer variation in swimmers overall, expressed as coefficient of variation, was 0.56 ± 0.39%, whilst between-swimmer variation was 0.9 ± 0.2%. In both scenarios, S1-S4 swimmers evidenced greater overall variation. These findings have implications for para swimmers, coaches and support staff when planning training and analysing competition outcomes. We also propose performance variation to be a useful metric in the identification of para swimmers warranting (re-)classification.
  • Performance analysis in soccer: A contemporary examination of its role within the coaching process

    Thomson, Edd; Bloyce, Daniel; Twist, Craig; Mulvenna, Claire (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2022)
    There is a dearth of up-to-date literature scrutinising the experiences of soccer coaches, players and analysts involved in the collection and dissemination of findings from Performance Analysis (Henceforth PA). Given the rapid expanse of PA within soccer in recent years, a comprehensive and contemporary account of how PA is delivered and utilised by coaches appears warranted. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to investigate the challenges and opportunities experienced by coaches and analysts in embedding PA within applied soccer environments. Using an interpretivist theoretical framework and qualitative research method, this thesis included three different stages of data collection and analysis. In stage one, data were collected from eight full-time performance analysts working in the English Football League and English National League, exploring the use of PA across the phases of match-play (pre-match, match-day, and post-match). Data collected from semi-structured interviews and reflective thematic analysis identified two higher-order categories (Flying solo / coach control) and four themes classified as lower-order (identifying indicators / PA pragmatism / analysis ingredients / autocratic presentations). Consequently, this study highlighted the types of PA completed by performance analysts is context-specific and dependent on multiple factors (e.g., coach and analyst relationship) which can restrict the value of the PA produced. Consequently, PA appears to be undertaken on a continuum from coach-controlled to analyst-controlled processes, pending what aspects of analysis are used, when in the relationship between analyst and coach the process is developed and when in the matchday process they are carried out. Stage two of the research investigated PA “in-situ” through a case-study approach. This allowed a contextualised process for the use of PA at half-time to be developed and studied within a soccer academy. Reflective thematic analysis of interviews with the lead coach, assistant coach, head of coach development and six players, both before and after PA was available, highlighted two higher-order themes (Opportunity knocks / Conflict of interest) and four lower-order themes (Supporting current practice / Race to the tech / Prioritising performance / The best before the rest). Meanwhile, reflective thematic analysis of six half-time team teams before and after PA was introduced, generated two higher-order themes (Coach-controlled feedback and evidence informed evaluation) and four lower-order themes (Scouting report / effort and attitude / tactical deconstruction / inspiring individuals). This stage of the research highlighted that within the Elite Player Performance Plan (Henceforth EPPP), the role of the coach, and application of PA, appears complicated and multifaceted despite an enthusiasm expressed by all stakeholders to access PA. (NB the EPPP is the talent identification and development programme initiated by the Premier League in consultation with the Football Association and English Football League [Henceforth EFL] to identify and develop male footballers in England). In the third stage of the research, twelve coaches were interviewed to identify the ways in which they engage with PA to underpin their coaching practice and utilise the findings to aid player and team development. The data analysis identified two higher-order themes (external auditors and weaponisation of PA) and five lower-order themes (tick in a box, prescription PA, continuous professional denial, collateral damage and exit strategy). The results demonstrate that talent development programmes are complex environments, and several problems were revealed in the manner coaches are prepared for, and subsequently used, PA to support their practice. Despite an enthusiasm from coaches about PA, both a lack of education regarding how best to use PA and the influence of senior coaches within an academy impacted how PA was used. Furthermore, the desire of an academy to win matches, as well as to develop the players perceived to be the ‘best’ and achieve a specific EPPP category status influenced the use of PA. The empirical findings of this thesis have revealed the complexity experienced when utilising PA within applied coaches’ practice. Despite coaches appearing enthusiastic at the prospect of implementing PA, the use of analysis is highly contextualised and reliant on several cultural and ethical issues including the coach-analyst relationship, coach education regarding the effective context-specific use of PA and the desire of a club to be seen to engage in PA to improve EPPP category status. Consequently, there appears to be several inter-related factors that contribute to PA being used sporadically by coaches within applied soccer environments. Therefore, as individuals and clubs embark upon using PA, an understanding of both the opportunities and challenges of PA should inform the development of the role of the analyst and the way in which PA is used to support coaching practice.
  • Effects of strength training on the biomechanics and coordination of short-term maximal cycling

    Burnie, Louise; Worsfold, Paul; Wheat, Jonathon; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; Northumbria University; Sheffield Hallam University; English Institute of Sport; BAE Systems Digital Intelligence; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2022-06-28)
    The aim was to investigate the effects of a gym-based strength training intervention on biomechanics and intermuscular coordination patterns during short-term maximal cycling. Twelve track sprint cyclists performed 3 × 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm, interspersed with 2 × 4 s seated sprints at 60 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer, repeating the session 11.6 ± 1.4 weeks later following a training programme that included two gym-based strength training sessions per week. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. EMG activity was measured for 9 lower limb muscles. Track cyclists ‘leg strength” increased (7.6 ± 11.9 kg, P = 0.050 and ES = 0.26) following the strength training intervention. This was accompanied by a significant increase in crank power over a complete revolution for sprints at 135 rpm (26.5 ± 36.2 W, P = 0.028 and ES = 0.29). The increase in leg strength and average crank power was associated with a change in biceps femoris muscle activity, indicating that the riders successfully adapted their intermuscular coordination patterns to accommodate the changes in personal constraints to increase crank power
  • The Change in Test Cricket Performance Following the Introduction of T20 Cricket: Implications for Tactical Strategy

    Scott, Nicholls; Lee, Pote; Edd, Thomson; Nicole, Theis; University of Chester; University of Derby; University of Gloucester (Indiana University–Purdue University, 2023-02-02)
    International cricket has evolved from predominantly Test cricket, to shorter formats of competition. With the high player overlap between formats, the introduction of Twenty20 (T20) cricket is proposed to have influenced Test cricket and therefore the tactical strategies coaches and players should attempt to implement. The aim of this study was to identify the change in specific Test cricket performance metrics following the introduction of T20 cricket across a 20-year period (2000-2020). A total of 667 matches involving the top eight International Cricket Council (ICC) Test-cricket nations were analyzed. Overall, the introduction of T20 cricket has been associated with a change in the way in which Test cricket is currently played. Results identified significantly ( p < 0.001) more runs being scored by sixes and less by fours. A significant (17.4%; p < 0.001) decrease was also present in the percentage of Test matches ending in draws (23.5% in 2000 to 6.4% in 2020). Run rates increased for five teams (India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka), remained constant for one team (West Indies), and decreased for two teams (Australia, England) across the entire period studied. However, there was no change in the number of days Test matches lasted, with the average number of days continuing to last into day five (4.5 decreasing to 4.3). Findings highlight that improving the ability to strike a greater number of sixes, increase the overall run rate, and facilitate strike rotation when batting to be a focus for coaches and players alike. Future studies should ascertain whether the introduction of T20 has had an effect on One Day International (ODI) performance variables while further considering the impact of home advantage and team quality, to facilitate enhanced tactical and strategic decision-making.
  • Importance of GNSS data quality assessment with novel control criteria in professional soccer match- play

    Shergill, Aman S.; Twist, Craig; Highton, Jamie; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2021-07-06)
    This study assessed the quality of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal during professional football match-play in different stadia with the application of a novel Data Quality Control Criteria (DQCC). DQCC was applied to GPS-files from match-play, derived using 10 Hz GNSS devices for 27 professional soccer players across a season to assess external load measures accounting for poor positioning quality (%) and horizontal dilution of precision. Performances were categorised on playing position as Wide or Central to assess proximity to stand cover on GNSS signal quality. An average reduction in total distance (11.2%), high-speed running distance (6.4%), sprint distance (7.0%), accelerations (10.3%) and decelerations (10.0%) (all P <0.01) was observed upon DQCC application. In worst cases, 90% of an external variable was affected by poor quality signal. Signal quality was worse for wide positioned players than centrally positioned (positioning quality 2.6% lower (P <0.01)), resulting in a larger reduction of external variables upon DQCC application. Large stands in football stadia affect the data quality of GNSS and is exacerbated for players positioned closer to stand cover. Viewing only data with acceptable Position Quality and HDOP meaningfully reduces measured external loads, which has implications for the application of match data.
  • Effect of varying recovery intensities on power outputs during severe intensity intervals in trained cyclists during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Chorley, Alan; Lamb, Kevin L.; University of Chester (Springer, 2023-02-16)
    Purpose: The study aimed to investigate the effects of different recovery intensities on the power outputs of repeated severe intensity intervals and the implications for W′ reconstitution in trained cyclists. Methods: 18 trained cyclists (FTP 258.0 ± 42.7 W; weekly training 8.6 ± 1.7 h∙week-1) familiar with interval training, use of the Zwift® platform throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and previously established FTP (95% of mean power output from a 20-min test), performed 5 x 3-min severe intensity efforts interspersed with 2-min recoveries. Recovery intensities were: 50 W (LOW), 50% of functional threshold power (MOD), and self-selected power output (SELF). Results: Whilst power outputs declined as the session progressed, mean power outputs during the severe intervals across the conditions were not different to each other (LOW 300.1 ± 48.1 W; MOD: 296.9 ± 50.4 W; SELF: 298.8 ± 53.3 W) despite the different recovery conditions. Mean power outputs of the self-selected recovery periods were 121.7 ± 26.2 W. However, intensity varied during the self-selected recovery periods, with values in the last 15-s being greater than the first 15-s (p <0.001) and decreasing throughout the session (128.7 ± 25.4 W to 113.9 ± 29.3 W). Conclusions: Reducing recovery intensities below 50% of FTP failed to enhance subsequent severe intensity intervals, suggesting a lower limit for optimal W′ reconstitution had been reached. As self-selected recoveries were seen to adapt in order to maintain the severe intensity power output as the session progressed, adopting such a strategy might be preferential for interval training sessions.
  • Sport, Children, and Socialization

    Green, Ken; Wheeler, Sharon; Foss Johansen, Patrick; University of Chester; Wrexham Glynd?r University; Inland University of Applied Sciences (Oxford University Press, 2022-11-21)
    This chapter explores what is meant by ‘socialization’ as well as some of the key aspects of sports socialization (such as the long-standing problematic of the process of socialization into sport, the impact of socio-economic divisions on socialization, and the relationship between socialization and lifelong participation). It also examines the main approaches to understanding socialization into sport and some of the main debates (such as the growing involvement of parents in the sporting socialization of children). All-in-all, there is now a substantial body of evidence that the foundations for lifelong participation in sport are usually laid in childhood and youth in family contexts. Participation is unlikely to endure into and through adulthood unless foundations have been laid in childhood in the family.
  • ‘Not to judge by the looks but you can tell by the looks!’ Physical capital as symbolic capital in the individualization of health among young Norwegians

    Green, Ken; Røset, Linda; Tjomsland, Hege; Cale, Lorraine; Sigurjonsson, Thorsteinn; Thurston, Miranda; University of Chester; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences; Western Norway University of Applied Sciences; Loughborough University; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (Taylor & Francis, 2022-12-28)
    In this paper we explore how 15–16-year-old Norwegians experience social and cultural norms that shape their relationship with health and physical activity (PA) in a country where participation in PA is normative, in the sense that it is not only a widely shared practice but, in having significant cultural traction, is commonly understood as a ‘normal’ part of Norwegian daily life. The study draws upon qualitative data generated from 31 focus groups involving 148 10th graders (15–16-year-olds) in eight secondary schools in Norway. A key finding was that health was primarily viewed as synonymous with physical health and physical health as closely related to PA. A symbolic marker for physical condition – and, by extension, physical health – was physical appearance and ‘looks’ (in other words, physical attractiveness), revolving around gender normative bodily ‘shape’. In this vein, the youngsters tended towards individualistic views of health – seeing health as a responsibility that lay largely in their hands. We argue that the significance of growing up and living in a wealthy, social democratic nation-state, with high living standards and high social and cultural expectations, can have profound implications for youngsters’ perceptions of health and PA, the impact of neoliberalism notwithstanding.

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