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“Merging COACHING with SPORT SCIENCE & MEDICINE” Summer 2012

Athlete Focus

Christine Sinclair and Rhian Wilkinson, Soccer Canada’s National Women’s Team and what it takes to win gold in London 2012

Sport Research Intelligence sportive


HP SIRCuit Summer 2012


HP SIRCuit Summer 2012

Editorial The circulation of the seventh issue of the HP SIRCuit will coincide with the summer Olympic and Paralympic games. We extend our very best wishes to all of the Canadian coaches and athletes during final phase preparations and in the pursuit of podium performances. Also, congratulations to all of Canada’s high performance sport community for their respective supporting roles and services which have assisted our Olympians/Paralympians throughout the entire quadrennial of training and competitions. Go - Canada - Go !! The athlete focus video for this issue highlights the women’s soccer team and their recent run of success under the leadership of head coach John Herdman, as they plan for the podium in London. Related to this video, you’ll want to also read Nancy Rebel’s excellent review ‘Building Strong Teams through Team Cohesion’. Ryan Atkins and Jason Vescovi have contributed two very informative articles related to optimizing performance. Ryan zeros in on the importance of instant technical feedback in performance analysis, while Jason focuses on the critical role assessment of energy expenditure and caloric replacement play in proactively supporting the healthy female athlete. Be sure to review Carl Petersen’s 2nd article in a three part series centered on preventative sports medicine. Carl reviews the well known ‘super compensation curve’ related to the training-recovery cycle, and highlights many practical guidelines to maximize gains. And finally, the IST journal club includes several insightful commentaries and links to peer reviewed articles which are ‘must reads’ for both coaches and high performance health science professionals. ∆

Version française HP SIRCuit is partially funded by

Editor Creative Director Design team Content Director

Debra Gassewitz David Roberts Kim Sparling Nancy Rebel

Contributing Editor Contributors Special Thanks

Dr. Jon Kolb, OTP Ryan Atkison Jason Vescovi Carl Petersen Judy Goss Leo Thornley Matt Jordan Heather Hynes Willem Meeuwisse Cara Thibault, OTP Paul Dorotich, OTP Kelly McKean, OTP Christine Sinclair Rhian Wilkinson Women’s National Team

Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) is Canada’s national sport library, established over 35 years ago. Mailing address: SIRC 180 Elgin Street, suite 1400 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 2K3 Tel: +1 (613) 231-7472 Fax: +1 (613) 231-3739 Disclaimer: Author’s opinions expressed in the articles are not necessarily those of SIRCuit, its publisher, the Editor, or the Editorial Board. SIRC makes no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness or suitability for any purpose of the content. Copyright © 2012 SIRC. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored, transmitted, or disseminated, in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission from SIRC, to whom all requests to reproduce copyright material should be directed, in writing.

Debra Gassewitz President & CEO SIRC

Jon Kolb, PhD Director, Sport Science, Medicine and Innovation, Own the Podium


Performance Performance 4 10

In the Action Health & Performance of Female Athletes

Competitive Intelligence 18

Building Strong Sport Teams through Team Cohesion

Proactive & Preventative Medicine 22

Fit to Play™High Performance Recovery Part 2

Departments 16 30 31 32 33

Athlete Focus - Soccer Canada’s Women’s National Team Stay Informed with SIRC Upcoming Events Recommended Readings from SIRC IST Journal Club


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In the Action

How instantaneous augmented feedback through video analysis enhances the performance of elite athletes Ryan Atkison, MSc, CSCS, DCT – Canadian Sport Centre Pacific - Whistler Campus


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Performance Abstract

Modern technological advances have brought performance monitoring tools, such as video analysis and inertial sensors into the daily training environment of elite sports programs. Currently, there are numerous video analysis solutions that allow instantaneous video review, each offering advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, there are many types of inertial sensors available that track athlete motion and performance variables. More sophisticated solutions allow sensor output data to be superimposed on video, providing detailed performance monitoring that until recently has been limited to a laboratory setting. This article focuses on the methodologies of providing effective augmented feedback in the daily training environment, provides examples from some of Canada’s elite winter sport teams and how they use augmented feedback to enhance their athletes’ performance, and discusses why augmented feedback can sometimes hinder athlete performance. In addition, this article introduces and compares several video and sensor solutions currently used in the daily training environment.


odern technological advances have brought performance monitoring tools into the daily training environment of elite sports programs. Because of the ubiquity of performance analysis tools, it is difficult for coaches and athletes to determine which is best and how to most effectively use these tools to improve athlete development and performance. It is also important for coaches to recognize how feedback is perceived by athletes and how it impacts their performances. This article reviews the research on augmented feedback, introduces several video analysis options that facilitate instantaneous augmented feedback in the daily training environment, and presents case studies from two of Canada’s most successful winter sport teams from the Vancouver Olympics: Canada’s Snowboardcross and Mogul teams. In this article, instantaneous augmented feedback refers to externally provided auditory, visual or tactile feedback that is provided during or immediately following a performance for the purpose of performance enhancement.

Key Points • Feedback effectiveness is highly dependent on the content, timing, frequency, accuracy and specificity of the feedback. • When delivered effectively, video feedback can be used to enhance immediate performance and/or long term skill acquisition for athletes. • There are numerous methods for providing video feedback to athletes, but for maximum value it is important to tailor the feedback method to the session tasks and goals.

Feedback Content Feedback that focuses on the positive aspects of a performance has been shown to be more beneficial than focusing on the negative aspects of performance.4-5 For example, in a golf putting task, participants who received feedback only about their more accurate trials resulted in more effective learning evidenced by improved subsequent performances, when compared with participants who received feedback only about their inaccurate trials.4 Video review is a common form of performance feedback that in numerous cases has been shown to be effective for enhancing learning and improving performances,6 especially when expert models are reviewed alongside the performer’s video.7 In addition, feedback that focuses the athlete on the effects of movement, rather than the movement itself is more beneficial for improving performance and learning.3-8

Augmented Feedback for Performance Enhancement

Augmented feedback is movement-related information about a task, intended to supplement a performer’s intrinsic feedback.1 When learning a new skill, augmented feedback has been shown to be markedly better than conventional learning techniques;2 however, the method of feedback delivery determines whether the feedback helps, hinders, or has no effect on learning or performance. Thus, a great deal of research effort has been invested to determine the effect of feedback content, timing, frequency, accuracy and specificity.3 A summary of these findings can be found in Table 1.


Table 1. Summary of effective feedback characteristics. Click image to enlarge

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Feedback Timing Augmented feedback can be provided to an athlete during a movement, and this is known as concurrent feedback.1 This type of feedback is often provided when training indoors on a cycling ergometer or during a run with a heart rate and GPS enabled wrist-watch. This type of feedback allows performance consistency, as the athlete is immediately aware when their performance level changes. For example, in a study that attempted to identify subjects’ optimal cycling cadences, a cycling group who trained for 10 days with cadence feedback was significantly better able to maintain their optimal cadence by the end of the training and during a post-training retention test.10 However, this type of feedback is often shown to be detrimental to long-term learning, as it can create a dependence on the feedback resulting in performance decrements when the feedback is removed.11 Ultimately, the decision to use concurrent feedback depends on the goal of the training: immediate performance (physiological gains, confidence building) or long-term learning (skill acquisition). Feedback provided at the end of an event, or terminal feedback, is generally accepted to be most effective for long-term learning.1 In addition, feedback is more beneficial if it is delayed several seconds after the performance rather than immediate, as this delay allows the athlete to intrinsically reflect on the factors that contributed to the performance instead of focusing solely on the outcome.13 This effect is enhanced when subjects are required to verbally estimate their performance before receiving feedback.13 Feedback Frequency Infrequent augmented feedback is at least as effective as regular feedback for skill acquisition and performances.13 For complex skills, feedback after each trial is beneficial. For simple skills, less frequent feedback is beneficial.9 Research indicates that feedback is most effective when the athlete chooses when they receive feedback.14 Feedback can also be provided as a summary of results after several trials or repetitions. This enhances long-term learning since the performer is forced to use intrinsic assessments to monitor performance accuracy and precision.15 Accuracy of Feedback For athletes who have a clear mental model of their own performance, they will be confused and set-back when


they are given inaccurate feedback.1 It is interesting to note that feedback does not always need to be accurate to enhance performance. A study that evaluated treadmill running performance found that providing inaccurate feedback about speed and distance was no different from providing accurate feedback about speed and distance, and resulted in better performances than subjects who received no feedback.16 In addition, when receiving socialcomparative feedback on a balancing task, subjects who were falsely told that they performed better than average did in fact perform better on subsequent tests when compared to groups who were told that they performed worse than average and neutral control groups.17 Specificity of Feedback Feedback can be qualitative (e.g. right, wrong, short, long, etc.) or quantitative (e.g. 2m too short, 0.35s too late, etc.). Providing specific feedback can be beneficial, especially when it includes both direction and magnitude, as it allows the athlete to know how much they need to change, and allows improvements to be more accurately assessed. However, it has been shown that feedback that contains extremely precise information about errors is ignored (e.g. 0.03s too early) and is therefore unnecessary.1 Another form of feedback specificity is bandwidth feedback, which provides a generic affirmative response when performance is within a certain range, and provides detailed feedback only when performance level falls outside of a certain bandwidth or range.1 Bandwidth feedback has been shown to be effective for complex skills when a 10% bandwidth is used (specific feedback is provided for any performance lower than 90%).18

Using Video Analysis to Provide Effective Augmented Feedback

Video feedback allows the coach to control feedback content, timing, frequency, accuracy and specificity. The primary requirement for any video analysis system used in the daily training environment is that it is mobile and can withstand the sports environment. This section covers four methods of providing video analysis in the daily training environment, highlighting the pros and cons of each method (see Table 2 for a summary). In addition, two case studies are provided that provide detailed examples of how these methods are being applied in the high performance environment. 1. Record and Playback The simplest and most widely used method of providing HP SIRCuit Summer 2012

that output a live stream (such as a high quality security camera), a digital video recorder which allows pausing and playback of the video stream while recording, and a monitor to display the video such as a TV. This type of analysis system is common in facilities that can have cameras and monitors permanently mounted, such as gymnastics facilities and gyms. These can also be semiportable, but usually are used in a dedicated facility as the equipment tends to be large. Some video analysis software can also function with time delay, allowing a portable set-up for field analysis. This requires a camera that can output a live video stream such as a DV camcorder or a high quality webcam, and a laptop computer with the necessary video software (Silicon Coach TimeWarp; Dartfish-Live, ProSuite or TeamPro) and at least 4GB of RAM to provide sufficient delay (Figure 1). Table 2. Pros and cons of four video analysis options for providing augmented feedback Click image to enlarge

augmented feedback is capturing video and playing back on the same device. Most cameras will allow you to slow the playback speed of the video and some allow frameby-frame playback as well. Video review quality can be improved by using a tripod for more stable filming and connecting the camera to an external monitor. This type of record and playback can also be done on every-day devices like smartphones and tablets that have cameras with decent image quality. This is advantageous because of convenience; however, tablet/phone limitations (no zoom, no tripod) may lead to less desirable video quality. 2. Live Delay Another way to provide video feedback is through a delayed video feed, which can playback video filmed at an earlier time, similar to the way a PVR works with your TV. This type of video replay allows an athlete to perform a skill, or a set of skills, and then watch their performance(s) after the fact, with or without coach intervention. Because you cannot slow down the playback it is not ideal for analyzing the fine details of movement. However, this means that it is minimally disruptive to a normal training session and can allow augmented feedback to be efficiently obtained during rest periods. This solution is especially beneficial if the coach is unable to operate the video controls or is working with a large group. This type of analysis set-up is very similar to a security system set-up; it requires one or more video cameras


3. Capture and analysis using Smartphone/Tablet Video can be captured and subsequently played back with full analysis features. This is by far the most common form of video analysis for performance enhancement, and is available on a wide array of devices. This type of software program allows recording of video clips, which can then be played back in slow motion or frame-by-frame, annotated using drawing and measurement tools and played side-by-side or overlaid with a model or reference video. Realistically, the more measurement tools that are used, the longer the analysis will take. Fortunately, some programs allow you to create analysis templates that you can apply to each new video. This type of analysis is useful for immediate feedback if you require more advanced tools, but should be limited to one or two athletes as it is more time-consuming.

Figure 1. Dartfish InTheAction module used for Live Delay and Simultaneous Record and Playback. Click image to enlarge

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Figure 2. iPad Excelade app used for recording and analysis of videos.

Many smartphones and tablets offer video analysis apps that allow recording and analysis within the app. Analysis functions are limited to simple drawing tools as measurement tools are not precise enough for reliable use; however, these are rarely used to provide immediate feedback anyway. The main features that make these apps worthwhile are frame-by-frame playback, side-by-side comparison, and instant tagging and uploading to cloud storage for sharing between devices and with athletes (Figure 2). 4. Simultaneous Record and Playback This method of providing video feedback is proprietary to Dartfish (Live, ProSuite, TeamPro) and is significantly better than other video options for delivering instantaneous augmented feedback in terms of functionality. Although it lacks the portability that smartphone and tablet apps provide, it is still functional in extreme environments (Figure 3). This method requires the same equipment as the Live Delay setup; a camera that can output a live video stream such as a DV camcorder (via firewire) or a high quality webcam, and a laptop computer with the DartfishLive, ProSuite or TeamPro software (Figure 1). Because recording and playback can be controlled using a remote


or iPhone, this option allows a fairly hands-off approach from the coach. Full analysis features are available during playback, including: drawing and measurement tools, side-by-side comparisons, adjustable playback speed, plus quick navigation through all recorded clips during the

Figure 3. Providing instantaneous video feedback using Dartfish’s “InTheAction” module.

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training session and subsequent sharing with other coaches and athletes. This is an optimal solution for field analysis of large teams, and for coaches who do not want to spend time handling a video camera.


Feedback content, timing, frequency, accuracy and specificity affect how feedback influences performance and longterm learning of the athlete, so it is important that coaches determine their goals and plan their feedback accordingly. Once this is established, a method of delivering feedback can be chosen to suit the needs of the group. Video analysis is a common and effective way to provide augmented feedback to athletes, and there are several ways video analysis can be integrated into training and competition to optimize feedback effectiveness. A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective, so it is important that the coach evaluates the pros and cons of each option to determine the best method for their group. ∆ Case Study 1: Using iPad for Snowboardcross Start Analysis

Case Study 2: Using Simultaneous Record and Playback to Enhance Mogul Athlete Performance

The start in Snowboardcross often determines the outcome of the race. Recently, FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) modified the racing format to include six riders in elimination rounds. With more riders in each heat, it is increasingly important to avoid congestion and early race crashes by having a fast start. However, the start in Snowboardcross is not well understood, so it has become an imminent priority to begin collecting and analyzing start data to determine how we can improve start training and technique.

For the Men’s National Mogul team, the ability to categorically archive video and simultaneously record and playback video during training and competition using Dartfish has been a game changer. Every training session is filmed and the athletes are able to watch each section, jump, or run immediately. Before providing feedback, the coach asks each athlete to provide his perceptions of the run. If speed is a focus of the training session, run times can be quickly calculated before the athlete arrives for feedback, and the same goes for jumping height. Reduced playback speed and frame-by-frame analysis allow the coaches and athletes to critically evaluate their body positioning and stability, and allow the coach to quickly judge the quality of a run. Since 50% of the overall score is based on turning, 25% on jumping and 25% on speed, it is beneficial that the analysis features allow the coaches and athletes to refine the important qualitative and quantitative aspects of their sport. Video feedback is used for more than technique refinement; video is captured during competition to determine race strategies, and to enhance the confidence of our athletes. At competitions, video footage is used to determine the fastest line and to identify “trouble spots” that should be avoided. This method of video capture allows strategic information to be collected and communicated quickly and accurately. In addition, during a competition day if an athlete does not “feel good” about his skiing it is easy to show him how good his skiing looks on video. It is easy to filter through the videos and present only the positive runs, which help to reinforce confidence.

The first step was to determine an effective way for the athletes to perform a high volume of starts in training similar to the way they would perform the start in a race. The second step was to identify a video analysis method that would be simple enough for coaches and athletes to perform during training, but also allow detailed analysis once the video was collected. The iPad was identified as a suitable tool, and an app was chosen that provides basic analysis features and allows easy sharing of videos. A protocol was established for acquiring, processing, and analyzing start footage in a consistent manner. Using the iPad, a coach films the start and provides immediate feedback to the athlete using the basic analysis tools. After the session is completed, the videos are uploaded to the cloud, where they are accessed remotely for further analysis by the Biomechanist. This process has become invaluable, as it has allowed immediate video feedback at the training site and has provided a far greater number of videos to be collected for analysis, which in turn has led to a far better understanding of start mechanics on an individual and group level. ∆

This team provides an excellent example of best practices for delivering instantaneous augmented feedback. It is not surprising that they are one of the more dominant winter sport teams in the world, which in 2012 included five of the top ten world ranked skiers, and Crystal Globe winner Mikael Kingsbury. ∆

Ryan Atkison is a Sports Biomechanist for the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific (CSCP) based out of the High Performance Training Centre in Whistler. Ryan completed both his B.Sc. (2008) and M.Sc. (2010) in Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario, specializing in sport biomechanics, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is a Dartfish Certified Technologist.

For references, click here


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Health and performance of female athletes Consequences of an energy deficit Jason D. Vescovi, Ph.D.- York University


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Performance Abstract

Health related benefits of being physically active and participating in sport are far reaching; however training to become an Olympic or World Championship medalist is focused on continued improvements in performance. The amount of daily training performed results in high calorie expenditures and when the calories consumed are inadequate to match those needs we have what has been termed an energy deficit. For female athletes there are serious consequences of an energy deficit ranging from menstrual disturbances, bone loss and cardiovascular dysfunction, in turn increasing the risk of injury and attenuating the ability to adapt to training. Left unchecked an energy deficit will have a negative impact on both performance and health related outcomes in female athletes, reducing the likelihood of maximizing performance gains and possibly achieving maximal potential. Coaches, athletes, sport scientists, and sports medicine professionals need to be aware of the overt signs related to an energy deficit and take the necessary steps to address the cause to ensure female athletes remain healthy, can train effectively and ultimately compete at their highest level.


omen’s participation in competitive sports has increased over the past several decades. Health related benefits of being physically active and participating in sport are far reaching and range from getting better grades, improving mood and self-esteem, reducing the likelihood of using alcohol, and reducing the risk of certain cancers; however training to become an Olympic or World Champion medalist is primarily focused on achieving systematic improvements in performance rather than general health. There are a variety of important factors in the ongoing development of an athlete during their career (i.e., high quality coaching, psychological attributes, etc.) – one of those factors is providing the necessary energy to sustain the physical demands experienced during training and competition. The term we use to describe this is energy balance. Maintaining energy balance is an essential element for both health and performance of female athletes. Energy balance is achieved when the amount of energy intake (i.e., calories consumed from your diet) is matched with the energy that is expended throughout the day. Energy expenditure – the amount of calories you burn – has three parts: 1) resting energy expenditure, or the amount of calories you burn over 24 hr if you were to just lay awake, resting quietly; 2) energy expenditure from physical activity which can be divided into normal daily activities, like walking to the bus stop or doing household chores; and the energy expenditure from exercise and 3) the thermic effect of food (yes, you actually burn more calories after eating compared to resting alone). The amount of calories burned as a result of training several hours each day is substantially greater


Key Points • Coaches, athletes and sport scientists should be mindful when menstrual dysfunction (often caused by energy deficit) is present as it represents altered metabolic processes and an inability to maximally adapt to training. • Achieving energy balance and maintaining adequate bone health in female athletes is important for skeletal health and for long term performance development. • Successful management should consist of strategies focused on improving energy status, while education of athletes, coaches as well as integrated support team members should be included as preventative measures.

than what most normal individuals expend (see Figure 1). When the amount of energy expenditure exceeds the amount of calories consumed we are no longer in energy balance and have what has been called an energy deficit or a negative energy balance. There are serious consequences of an energy deficit on various physiological systems – e.g., reproductive, skeletal, and cardiovascular – in turn, increasing the risk of injury and attenuating the ability to adapt to training. In other words both performance and health will suffer if an energy deficit goes on unchecked. The primary aim of this article is to describe the consequences of an energy deficit in female athletes and demonstrate how the physiological changes can limit training as well as attenuate adaptations to training. A second objective is to provide a brief overview of common treatments for female athletes with consequences of an energy deficit. To be clear, the






Figure 1. Components of energy expenditure. RMR = resting metabolic rate; TEF = thermic effect of food. Click image to enlarge

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consequences described in this article are not restricted to Senior National team athletes training to compete at major games, but can impact any young female athlete during her athletic career that is not careful to maintain her energy balance.

Consequences on the reproductive system

Following puberty women begin to have regular menstrual cycles generally lasting between 24-35 days. Women with normal menstrual cycles (eumenorrhea) will have 12-13 menstrual periods per year, however circumstances exist when menstrual cycles may be irregular (oligomenorrhea) or absent (amenorrhea) in female athletes (see Definition Box). These menstrual disturbances are more common in exercising women compared to the general population and are associated with low levels of estrogen (the primary female sex hormone) (see Figure 2). Suppressed estrogen in physically active women is related to bone loss, and more recently has been shown to increase risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease in young, otherwise healthy women (15). Thus, maintaining regular menses and more importantly normal levels of estrogen is critical for a woman’s health. Menstrual disturbances in exercising women were


originally believed to be the result of low levels of body fat, where a minimum of 22% was needed to maintain normal reproductive function (9). However, this notion has been debunked since some women with body fat levels below 22% are known to get normal monthly menstrual periods, suggesting that other factors play a role in regulating menstrual cycles. So researchers began to look for other causes of menstrual disturbances in physically active women and reported that intense exercise resulted in menstrual dysfunction. Following an elaborate series of studies at Ohio University it became evident that a disruption in the system that controls the menstrual cycle was not the result of exercise per se, but rather an energy deficit when the calories burned during exercise were not adequately replaced (13). What was discovered is that there are a host of signals from the body sent to a specific region of the brain which assesses the body’s energy status (18). This region, the hypothalamus, is responsible for interpreting the signals and then provides instructions for how the body should respond. This same region of the brain is also responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. If an energy deficit continues then eventually there is likely to be a disruption or complete cessation of menses, which occurs for a very simple reason: to conserve energy. In women reproduction is considered non-essential, meaning it is not necessary for the survival of the individual, but it is costly from an energetic perspective. Therefore, to help conserve energy, reproductive function is reduced when the brain senses an energy deficit; what is observed are the associated menstrual irregularities. High performance athletes with menstrual dysfunction do not show the same performance gains as their eumenorrhiec counterparts. In a unique study with Olympic level swimmers it was reported that an energy deficit was related to suppressed metabolic characteristics and that

Definition Box Eumenorrhea – regularly occurring menstrual cycles every 24-35 days Oligomenorrhea – irregularly occurring menstrual cycle lasting between 36-90 days, Amenorrhea – absent menstrual cycles for at least three months and/or having less than three menstrual cycles in the previous 12 months. HP SIRCuit Summer 2012

important considering that only partial restoration of bone mass is achieved when women regain regular menstrual periods (and normal levels of estrogen). In other words, simply regaining regular menstrual periods does not guarantee a return of all the lost bone that occurred during the time a woman experiences menstrual dysfunction. In addition to the indirect effects of an energy deficit on the skeleton resulting from low estrogen levels, there are also direct effects. Bone formation relies upon a sufficient supply of nutrients and an energy deficit is associated with suppressed bone formation; creating an even larger difference between the resorption-formation balance.


Figure 2. Estrogen profile for eumehorrhea (blue), oligomehorrhea (red) and amenorrhea (black). Click image to enlarge

those athletes with the least favorable metabolic profile showed the smallest gains in actual swim performance (1-2.5%). In contrast, athletes with a favorable metabolic profile showed greater performance gains (~4-6.5%) from one season to the next. Interestingly, the athletes in the high performance group were eumenorrheic whereas athletes in the low performance group displayed oligoand amenorrhea (16). The outcomes from this novel project highlight the link between a negative energy balance, menstrual status and a subsequent attenuation in performance gains. Therefore coaches, athletes and sport scientists should be mindful when menstrual dysfunction is present as it represents altered metabolic processes and an inability to maximally adapt to training.

Consequences on the skeletal system

Decreased BMD results in weaker bones and has been repeatedly shown to be associated with a greater risk of stress fractures. Low risk stress fractures could reduce training for 4-8 wk whereas high risk stress fracture could result in up to 4 months or more of missed training (5). The lost training time (especially if stress fractures are recurrent) could have a tremendous impact on the long term development of any athlete. For example, if an athlete trains 2-3 hours per day for 6 days a week, then the weekly training time that is lost would be approximately 12-18 hours. If an athlete cannot train for 8 weeks she will accumulate up to 144 hours of missed training time. This might not seem like much, and if this type of injury only occurs once during an athlete’s career, then we are not likely to have an impact on long term performance gains. If, on the other hand stress fractures repeatedly occur (in the same year or during subsequent years) then the accumulated time lost could result in delays for achieving expected performance gains. Therefore, achieving energy balance and maintaining adequate bone health in female athletes is important not only for skeletal health but also for long term performance development.

The skeleton is a metabolically active organ that continuously undergoes the cyclical process of remodeling where old bone is removed (a process called resorption) and new bone is formed (a process called formation). When resorption is elevated and/or formation is suppressed bone loss will occur. Menstrual disturbances and the associated low levels of estrogen can result in bone loss, even in young apparently healthy women (2, 7, 11, 14) largely because of an increase in the rate of bone removal. Several studies have reported large decreases in bone mineral density (BMD) in the spine and legs in athletes who were amenorrheic compared with athletes who were eumenorrheic (3, 7, 11) and the longer women remained amenorrheic the greater the amount of bone loss occurred (6). This is especially


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associated with unfavorable cholesterol profiles (15, 19). The acute effects of reduced flow-mediated dilation during exercise training in female athletes is currently unknown and so more research is needed in this area. In the meantime the unfavorable changes in cholesterol, triglycerides, and cardiovascular function should not be ignored, and recommendations to achieve energy balance and either maintain or regain normal menstrual function should be strongly encouraged to female training to be high-performance athletes.


Consequence on the cardiovascular system

Estrogen is known to have protective effects on the cardiovascular system and so menstrual disturbances resulting in low levels of estrogen can have negative consequences on the cardiovascular health. Cholesterol has a wide range of physiological functions and is often categorized as either high density lipoproteins (HDL) or low density lipoproteins (LDL). Within this classification scheme LDL is often referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ because of the association with cardiovascular disease, whereas HDL is known as ‘good cholesterol’ due to the correlation with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Amenorrheic athletes have higher levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL compared to eumenorrheic athletes (8, 15), however these women are not considered to be at high risk since the levels do not typically exceed reference ranges. In addition, physically active women with amenorrhea also present with higher levels of HDL compared to their eumenorrheic counterparts, which might help counteract any potential risk associated with the higher levels of ‘bad cholesterol’. The impact of the altered cholesterol profiles on acute metabolic responses during training as well as chronic adaptations in female athletes is currently unknown. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation is another measure of cardiovascular disease risk, which evaluates how well an artery (in this case the brachial artery in the arm) dilates in response to an increase in blood flow. A reduced response is suggestive of an impairment of cardiovascular function. Several studies have reported a reduction in flow mediated dilation in amenorrheic athletes compared to athletes with regular menstrual cycles, which was also


As a result of the association between menstrual dysfunction and reduced BMD as well as the increase risk for stress fractures in female athletes with amenorrhea, standard clinical practice has been to prescribe oral contraceptive therapy in an effort to presumably improve the low levels of estrogen and ultimately protect bone (1). In fact, a survey of members of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine found that 92% of practitioners endorsed the use of oral contraceptive therapy for amenorrheic athletes (12). However the prescription of oral contraceptive therapy in women with athletic amenorrhea fails to treat the energy deficit and thus does not address the underlying causes of menstrual dysfunction (4). In contrast, improving energy status with increased caloric intake and/or a reduction in energy expenditure can lead to the resumption of menses, result in an increase in BMD, and help restore a normal metabolic profile naturally, compared to therapies that target a variety of the hormonal consequences of an energy deficit (17). Therefore the importance of achieving an improved energy status via nutritional strategies cannot be understated. Improvements in energy status as well as the restoration of menstrual function play a critical role in helping maintain health, however the fear of weight gain or a presumed negative impact on athletic performance may deter some women from embracing a nutritional strategy that involves increased energy intake and/or reduction in energy expenditure. Having informed members of an integrated support team that can recognize clinical signs and assess important characteristics (e.g., during pre-participation medical exams) of an energy deficit is valuable for high-performance female athletes. Unfortunately, in a survey of physicians, physical therapists and athletic trainers, less than 50% were able to identify the interrelated components of an energy deficit, menstrual dysfunction and bone loss and astoundingly only 9% of the physicians felt comfortable discussing treatment for these conditions (10). Education HP SIRCuit Summer 2012

for individuals working with female athletes as well as the athletes is the cornerstone to prevention of an energy deficit and the health related consequences.


An energy deficit can induce disruptions in the menstrual cycle, which is associated with low levels of estrogen and consequently related to bone loss and unfavorable alterations in metabolic profiles as well as factors associated with cardiovascular disease. More important, the consequences of an energy deficit could result in attenuation of performance gains or contribute to an accumulation of lost training time in female athletes. Successful management should consist of strategies

focused on improving energy status, while education of athletes, coaches as well as integrated support team members should be included as preventative measures. ∆ For references, click here Dr. Jason Vescovi is a Research Associate in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University, an Applied Sports Scientist at the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario and the lead physiologist for the Canadian Women’s and Men’s National Field Hockey programs. He has spent his 15 year career dedicated to investigating various aspects related to performance and health of female athletes.

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Athlete Focus Christine Sinclair

Sport: Soccer (forward) Born: 12/06/1983 Gender: Female Birth Place: Burnaby, BC, Canada Height: 175.0 cm Stats: 13 years, 180 caps, 134 goals

Rhian Wilkinson

Sport: Soccer (defender) Born: 12/05/1982 Gender: Female Birth Place: Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada Height: 165.0 cm Stats: 10 years, 119 caps, 7 goals

Shear Determination: Soccer Canada’s WNT Christine Sinclair and Rhian Wilkinson are veteran players with Soccer Canada’s Womens National Team (WNT). Between them they have represented our country in more than 300 international competitions with skill, dedication, and considerable success. What eludes them, however, is a coveted medal at the highest level of competition, the World Cup or the Olympic Games. After suffering a major upset at the 2011 World Cup, Soccer Canada took decisive action and hired an entirely new coaching staff. Under the leadership of coach John Herdman and the watchful eye of sport scientist, Cesar Meylan, the team has established a systematic, science-supported approach to preparing for the upcoming Olympic Games in London. And the team has responded with enthusiasm. Early indications of the shift in attitude are certainly positive and their triumph at the PanAmerican Games provided an important boost in confidence. The coaches and players are working as a team with a common purpose…to win a medal in London. In the accompanying video, Sinclair and Wilkinson explain many of the steps the team has taken to enhance performance. They highlight the importance of vigilant monitoring of health status, and recovery strategies, the benefit of detailed evaluation of performance using heart rates and GPS tracking, and the utility of regular assessment of technique and tactics through video analysis. Hear their passion as they describe the challenge ahead and their determination to win a medal.


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In conversation with OTP’s Kelly McKean & Paul Dorotich, Christine Sinclair and Rhian Wilkinson explain many of the steps the team has taken to enhance performance.

Click on the video to see the full interview.

Going for Gold London 2012! Soccer Canada’s Women’s National Team heads to the Olympic Games in London, England.


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Building Strong Sport Teams through Team Cohesion A Commentary on the Literature Nancy Rebel - Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC)


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Competitive Intelligence


nowledge can give an athlete the competitive edge. Competitive intelligence equips coaches, sport scientists and practitioners with the latest information that may assist in the quest to put an athlete on the podium. SIRC receives thousands of publications from around the world each year ranging from peer reviewed journals to practical guides and our information specialists are constantly reviewing and indexing the various articles.


hy does a team have trouble working together? How can a team be successful one year and less successful the next? Why do some teams that have many talented athletes not succeed at high levels? How do teams with lesser talent succeed against the odds? These are the questions that have been examined by many sport scientists over the years. The answer comes down to team unity/team cohesion. Carron et al (1997) has defined cohesion as “a dynamic process which is reflected in the tendency for a group to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of its instrumental objectives and/or for the satisfaction of member affective needs”. In order for a team to be successful, there has to be a common bond between the athletes on the team that calls to them. It has often been stated that a team is only as successful as the sum of its individual parts. Teams are made up of individuals pulled together based upon talent and developed into a unit based upon social and psychological constructs. A team can have all the talent in the world, but if they do not have this unifying force, success will not follow. As stated by Aghazadeh & Kyei (2009), “a team must work as one unit, working to achieve a common goal”. Previous research on group dynamics shows that team compatibility is viable by group goal-setting and consistent team and individual values. As outlined by Fiore & Salas (2006) teamwork is achieved when members interact interdependently and work together toward shared and valued goals. Expert teamwork involves the adaptation of coordination strategies through communication and collective orientation to reach these goals. As the need for interaction during performance increases, team cooperation becomes more central. Team unity/Team Cohesion has long been identified as a major factor in developing successful sports teams. Team


unity exists because it builds upon the central group focus on a common goal: success. As examined by Aghazadeh & Kyei (2009), this success depends upon how well a team can coexist and the effectiveness of the factors that can help achieve it. Many have observed that team cohesion contributes to greater collective efficacy, and greater collective efficacy contributes to enhanced team performance. The following factors have been identified as contributing to team success: team unity; team cohesion; cooperation; high interaction; team stability; team homogeneity; and common goals. Group members share and contribute to a sense of oneness as it directly benefits individual members. When it comes to goal-setting, athletes need to develop congruent individual and team goals. Team unity/ cohesion facilitates conflict management, mutual support and praise, cooperation and problem solving. Using team building strategies to facilitate team cohesion leads to the development of communication, trust, leadership, problem solving and efficient teamwork.

The Coach’s Role

While there has been much talk and study into building team dynamics and cohesion, we must not forget one vital member of the team construct, the coach. The coach while not on the field of play is part of the team and thus must be a part of team unity. So what is the coach’s role? As a somewhat external force, the coach is the most important factor in team cohesion because they have the most power and the most influence over the athletes and the team as a whole. Coaches can promote higher levels of task cohesion by using training and instruction, democratic behavior, social HP SIRCuit Summer 2012

philosophy becomes compatible with the coach’s’ and when this is achieved, the results are team adherence and increased motivation leading to high levels of performance (Schinke et al, 1997).

support and positive feedback styles avoiding the use of autocractic coaching strategies (Gardner, 1996; Westre et al., 1991). Coaches can and should incorporate team building/cohesion strategies into their season-long plans. This provides the coach with a structure from which to set realistic goals and to assess individual and team progress. By incorporating team cohesion into a season long strategy, adaptations including team selection refinement, training process alterations, and goal realignment can occur.

Specific Roles:

Leadership One of the most important factors in team cohesion is the leadership role of the coach. By virtue of their position, the coach is the role model of the team. Especially of importance to team sport coaches, Yukelson (1997) suggests that leaders who are aware of and accommodate individual differences within a team are better able to blend the talents of the individuals into a cohesive, effective unit. Leadership however, is a shared responsibility in a team sport environment. In every team there are key athletes, generally more experience and/or skilled players, that provide leadership in the team context. Coaches should develop these players and encourage them to use their status to build their teammates’ confidence. These team leaders are an effective source for developing the team commitment to goals and expectations

Team chemistry One of the important roles of the coach is to maintain a positive bond between the members of the team. Coaches should work to develop strong camaraderie among the athlete to stimulate the “I will work hard so that I don’t let my teammates down” mentality. As indicated previously in the discussion on leadership, experienced athletes also play an important role in developing team chemistry through their leadership influence. Notably, Callow et al (2009) indicate that coaches perceived to be high in social support develop teams with greater levels of task cohesion or the ability of a team to work together towards a common objective. Goal-setting In the team context, group goals are more strongly associated with team success than individual goals, and member participation in goal setting helps build the team cohesion process. Practical recommendations for coaches from the literature include developing a team mission. This could be the goals for the season or it could be a motto or statement to encourage team unity. Coaches could also ask athletes to sign the team mission. When teams develop goals or a mission, athletes are more likely to be committed and take ownership of the team. Communication According to Ronglan (2007), coaches, in general, should communicate and act in ways that keep each player integrated as a team participant of full value. Quite often it is recommended that coaches set up a medium for communication and feedback through which team

Athlete selection Coaches select their teams based upon their season plan. The athlete skill levels, personal characteristics, and receptiveness to instruction are all considerations when selecting the team. Based upon this process the team


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functioning can be discussed and effectively cultivated (Pain & Harwood, 2009). Specific to team success, coaches need to be clear about team members’ roles and responsibilities, as well as practice and competition expectations.

Developing group skill related to team cohesion has proven to be highly related to success in team sports. And when it comes to developing teams that become the best of the best, we look to talent and we look to team unity. Elite athletes tend to be those who are confident in both their technical and mental skills and are focused on team success. At elite level competition, the difference between placement often lies in dealing with competitive stressors. Good team unity and clarity of group goals developed through team cohesion and team building are the keys to reducing competitive anxiety for team sport. Preparing our teams to work as a cohesive unit can only increase the potential for success. ∆

Team adversity Team adversity also contributes to team cohesion. Coaches can and should work on team-based interpretations of previous performances to give new energy to future preparations (Ronglan, 2007). This will enable the team to incorporate any negative feelings by the perceived failure or loss and turn these into positive constructs for future performance. By building this into a team process, the coach is re-establishing team constructed goals.

For references, click here

Nancy Rebel is the Director of Library Services at SIRC. Nancy is responsible for content management of SIRC’s collection and its catalog database design. Nancy has been responsible for: the content submissions for the worldrenowned SportDiscus database; aiding in the coordination of in-house and international terminology submissions and organizational structure of SIRCs internationally recognized SIRCThesaurus as Editor.


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Fit to Play™ High Performance Recovery (part 2) Carl Petersen BPE, BSc(PT) - City Sports and Physiotherapy


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Proactive & Preventative Medicine Key Points


• Due to the larger loads elite athletes need to gain performance improvements, optimum recovery strategies must be followed to minimize the potential for overtraining.

This article is the second in a three part series and will provide the reader with greater insight into the concepts of overtraining and recovery. It will further expand on the short term rules of recovery.


vertraining syndrome is a serious problem marked by decreased performance, increased fatigue, persistent muscle soreness, mood disturbances, and feeling ‘burnt out’ or ‘stale’ (Uusitalo, 2001). In general overtraining is described as an imbalance between training and recovery (Kuipers & Keizer, 1988) or an imbalance between stress and recovery- that is too much stress combined with too little regeneration (Lehman et al, 1999).

Recognizing Stressors

The body responds to the stress of training and competition in a manner known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (Selye, 1974). This three stage response to stress includes; 1) alarm 2) resistance and 3) exhaustion. The first phase (alarm) is experienced when your body comes under new or more intense stress stimuli (e.g., training longer or harder, running farther, starting strength programs etc.).This shock or alarm phase may last several days or weeks depending on the amount of stress. Athletes may feel excessive soreness, stiffness and a temporary drop in their ability to perform. The second phase (resistance) is the phase whereby your body adapts to the new loads or increased stress stimuli and becomes stronger, allowing the athlete to return to normal functioning. The body can withstand and adapt to this type of stress for an extended period of time by making various physiological adaptations in the neurological, biochemical,

• Reconnecting the core with simple exercises that either close or partially close the kinetic chain for both upper and lower extremities helps increase the 3-dimensional core stability and ensure optimal recruitment, timing, performance and injury prevention.

structural and mechanical systems that help to improve performance. This is often called super-compensation. The body tolerates greater training loads and you can increase them by manipulating training variables like frequency, duration and intensity of activity. Beginning athletes can see large performance improvements with small training loads, but more elite athletes require larger loads to elicit even small performance improvements. Therefore these athletes need to ensure optimum recovery strategies are followed to minimize the potential for overtraining. The subjective benefits of utilizing recovery techniques have been known by athletes and coaches for years. Even though there is little reputable scientific research determining the effectiveness of implementing recovery strategies the anecdotal reports from athletes, coaches, physiotherapists and others working with athletes on a daily basis is that using post recovery strategies the athletes feel better and bounce back faster. Efforts have been made to develop effective, easily transportable and administered techniques that will accelerate recovery and in turn improve performance. This quest however remains for the most part a combination of art and science along with a healthy dose of trial and error. The process of recovery should be an overall lifestyle focus where minor setbacks are learning experiences and change is implemented on an as needed basis. (See figure 2). As workloads and other associated stresses increase so does the time required for planning and implementing adequate recovery strategies. By varying or cycling the specifics of training volume, intensity, and density you can achieve

Figure 1: Super Compensation (with permission Coaching Association of Canada, 1995) Click image to enlarge

• By training on an unstable surface, balance reactions and coordination are trained at a subconscious level, facilitating these reactions to become automatic aiding in injury prevention and improved sport performance.


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peak levels of conditioning at the proper time (Petersen, 2006a). The best treatment for prevention of overstress, overtraining or overreaching is prevention (Uuistalo, 2001) with a well planned daily, weekly, monthly and yearly schedule that includes use of a variety of high performance recovery tips and strategies (Petersen, 2006b).

Short Term Rules of Recovery

Figure 2: Art + Science + Trial & Error = High Performance (Petersen & Nittinger, 2006)(with permission Racquet Tech Publishing) Click image to enlarge

Table 1: Short Term Rules of Recovery Short Term Rules of Recovery (daily)

(adapted after Petersen, 2003, Petersen & Nittinger 2007, Petersen, 2009)

Rule #1 - Re-hydration Rule #2 - Re-fuel Rule #3 - Recovery work Rule #4 - Re-align the body Rule #5 - Re-set the balance clock Rule #6 - Re-connect the core

Rule #7 - Release the soft tissue Rule #8 - Regain & maintain muscle length Rule #9 - Re-play & review your training or competition Rule #10 - Reinvigorate with recovery menu Rule #11 - Relaxation Rule #12 - Rest (passive)

* Rules #1, 2 & 3 were covered in part 1. This issue will cover Rules #4 to 7.

Rule # 4-Re-align the body Training for sports are often asymmetrical in nature and can torque the body’s muscle and fascial systems leading to an imbalance in length and strength of muscles and tendons. The flexed posture of competitive sport further adds to this imbalance. The malalignment syndrome remains one of the frontiers in medicine, unrecognized as a cause of over 50% of back and limb pain (Schamberger, 2002). The associated biomechanical changes-especially the shift in weight-bearing and the asymmetries of muscle tension, strength and joint range of motion-affect soft tissues, joints and organ systems throughout the body. Abnormal pelvic motion during training can put undue strain on a variety of structures that lead to overuse problems. Very few competitive athletes especially in swinging sports make it through an entire season without experiencing some form

of lumbar, hip, knee, thoracic or shoulder pain associated with kinetic chain weakness and/or malalignment issues (Petersen, 2010). The most common presentation of malalignment syndrome is rotational malalignment. Other conditions like upslip, pelvic inflare and outflare and other presentations can also occur but should be dealt with by an appropriately trained therapist that has had special training to recognize, diagnose and treat the malalignment syndromes (Petersen et al, 2006) As sport medicine and therapy personnel we must recognize malalignment and postural syndromes and ensure that the daily training plans and rehabilitation protocols address these syndromes in a pro-active manner (Petersen, 2006c).

Practical Application

Simple muscle energy techniques can be used to help correct. Speak to your therapist.


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Stretches following the self correction regain muscle length.

Rule # 5- Re-set the balance clock Balance training is a fundamental component of functional mobility and dynamic sports activity and should be part of everyone’s daily fitness routine whether destined for the pro-circuit or not (Petersen, 2006d). As physical therapists and fitness coaches we have long known the benefits of balance and body awareness exercises in rehabilitating injuries and in sport specific training. Fatigue associated with hard training impairs proprioceptive mechanisms and may directly trigger nociceptors (Brukner & Khan, 2002). This combination of fatigue, impaired proprioception and

potential inhibition due to pain make it imperative to try and reset the 3-dimensional balance clock of the joints before being put in a potential injury situation. Most gyms will have some balance equipment available. By training on an unstable surface, balance reactions and coordination are trained at a subconscious level, facilitating these reactions to become automatic. This helps to prevent injury and improve sport performance. Re-set your balance clock with some drills using wobble boards, foam rolls, rolled towels or the dynamic edge.

Practical Application

Balance training with the dynamic edge.

Balance training with the wobble board


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Rule # 6-Re-connect the core All athletes need a strong core to maintain balance, stability and alignment as they generate power. The abdominal musculature plays a significant role in trunk and core stability providing a mechanical link between the lower and upper limbs (Maquirrian et al, 2007). When moving in multi-planar directions, the core muscles and hip stabilizers work functionally to control movement. Upper and lower core strength provides a stable 3-dimensional power platform for the extremities to work off during multi-planar, joint and muscle activities that involve acceleration and deceleration forces (Petersen, 2005). The activities of daily living and sporting activities challenge the body to dynamically react to the moving, changing environment in which we live and play. The first muscle to be recruited prior to any upper and/ or lower body movements is the tranversus abdominus. Normally it fires in a pre-anticipation of any movement but with dysfunction there is a timing delay and studies

have shown that without efficient and optimal recruitment, subsequent spinal dysfunction can occur (Richardson & Jull, 1995). Over 35 muscles attach to the ‘lower core’ lumbo-pelvichip complex and spine and the ‘upper core’ spine, ribs and scapular region. When activated and recruited properly the stability of the upper and lower core forms the foundation or base to all movements. The importance of force closure to the joints has been well documented in the literature. (Snijders et al, 1993) (Vleeming et al, 1990). As well recent research has demonstrated that lower extremity position influences scapular muscle recruitment and muscle balance ratios in closed kinetic chain exercises (Maenhout et al, 2010) and influence scapular muscle recruitment and muscle balance ratios in open kinetic chain exercises (De Mey et al, 2009). By reconnecting the core with simple exercises that either close or partially close the kinetic chain for both upper and lower extremities helps increase the 3-dimensional core stability and ensure optimal recruitment, timing, performance and injury prevention.

Practical Application

Lying in supine with a stretch cord anchored to feet bridge hips up to spinal neutral at the same time moving the arm up into a diagonal pattern. This works upper & lower core together.

Kneeling on all fours with hands on an unstable surface and a stretch cord attached to feet. Next extend one leg into hip extension with resistance from the stretch band.


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Lying over a stability ball in a supine position perform shoulder/scapular retractions in a variety of positions.

Rule # 7-Release the soft tissue There are many well known soft tissue techniques used in treating sports injuries including longitudinal stroking, strip and stretch or active release technique, tranverse friction, tranverse gliding, sustained myofascial tension, vibrational techniques and digital ischemic pressure. Utilizing a variety of techniques based on athletes preference and experience can help promote recovery. Depending on facilities and expertise available the post training soft tissue work can be done either by a professional or by a training partner, parent, coach or by the athlete themselves. For example soft tissue techniques can be done on the upper and lower extremities when in the whirlpool. Self-massage can also be done in a relaxing atmosphere when players are in the bath, showering, watching television (Clews, 1990) or in the hot tub. Many claims are made about the benefits of sports massage and numerous research studies examining these claims have been undertaken over the last 15-20 years. But despite this there is not much evidence-based science to substantiate claims that are made about the benefits of massage (Calder, 1990). However practical experience and anecdotal evidence supports the benefits for athletes. The effectiveness of massage or soft tissue techniques as an adjunct to stretching in order to facilitate flexibility have been demonstrated in the past Witkorson-Moller et al, 1983) and have also been shown to promote mood enhancement and feelings of well-being, by reducing tension, depression, anger, fatigue, anxiety and confusion (Weinberg et al, 1988). One benefit of soft tissue techniques or massage not reported in the literature is the biofeedback


athletes obtain from massage either self administered or provided by a professional or a parent. (Calder, 2003). When administered to skeletal muscle that has been acutely damaged through exercise, massage therapy appears to be clinically beneficial by reducing inflammation and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis (Crane et al, 2012). Active trigger points that result from heavy training may reduce muscle strength. Physiotherapists use manual techniques to help decrease trigger points that are defined by Travell and Simons as an exquisitely tender point in a taut band of muscle (Travell & Simons, 1998). These problems can impair training and competition and can progress to injury if they are not resolved (Brukner & Khan, 2012). Post training soft tissue release is often better than just advice and is a positive step towards relieving symptoms of trigger points, delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle tension. The incidence of delayed onset muscle soreness is different with sex (gender), as females seem to be less susceptible to it (Tarnoplosky et al, 1990). However, practical experience dictates that both men and women benefit from soft tissue release. Post-training or competition massage may enhance recovery by promoting the removal of metabolites, while at the same time helping the athlete relax or promote passive rest (sleep). For years physiotherapists and other health professionals have suggested to patients to use a tennis ball to release sore, tight muscles. Recently, in addition to using a tennis ball, small myofascial release balls are being used to stretch and soften tight muscles. The concept is very simple: Use the ball to “iron out� tight HP SIRCuit Summer 2012


areas. By rolling on the ball along the muscle and at different angles to the muscle, you are trying to “untwist� the myofascial system. If an area is especially tight or sensitive, use the ball as a trigger point release tool and stay on the sore spot (Soleway, 2001) (Sirdevan,2004) for up to two minutes or more.

The challenge for most athletes, coaches and physiotherapists is to identify which specific capacities are fatigued and then select appropriate recovery strategies to restore the athlete to a normal functioning state. All those involved in an athletes care need to be more aware of the importance of restoration and regeneration following heavy workloads and how best to use the equipment, facilities and modalities available to facilitate recovery. ∆

Practical Application

For references, click here Carl is a partner and Director of High Performance Training. He treats and trains athletes to keep them Fit to Play for a variety of sports. Throughout his over 25 years as a physiotherapist and fitness coach he has worked with numerous gold medal winners from a variety of sports most notably alpine skiing. He traveled on the World Cup Ski Circuit from 1984-2003.

The fascia system responds best when gentle pressure is applied and sustained for two or more minutes. Also a good prone bridge exercise for re-connecting the core.

A used tennis ball as well is good for applying pressure to smaller area like the planter fascia tissue


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Stay Informed with SIRC Where Can I Find...

I’m doing a research project on Olympic athletes and how they cope with competition stress, do you have any articles that I could use? High-performance athletes deal with pressure all the time, and sometimes the difference between winning and losing depends on how an athlete can cope under stress. Is it possible to emotionally prepare for the Olympic Games? It’s not easy, but it’s possible and an important part of training. Often, the Olympic Games are the pinnacle of an athlete’s competitive career making the task of preparing for utmost concentration a challenging one. Read more

Dear SIRC...

New Books @ SIRC

Are there guidelines re: recommended rest before competing for athletes who travel, i.e. if I travel on a Sunday and have a four hour time change, what is the optimum time that I should allow before engaging in competition? In other words how early should I get to the competitive site to allow for proper adjustment?

Austin, Krista, and Seebohar, Bob. Performance Nutrition: Applying the Science of Nutrient Timing. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics, 2011.

High-performance athletes are often required to travel long distances to their competitions, crossing many time zones. This is often leads to jet-lag, which can have all kinds of symptoms such as, fatigue, headaches, low energy, and a loss of concentration. Jet lag, or circadian dyschronism, is a term used to describe the feeling of being worn out and tired due to a broken routine or sleep pattern. Read more

Benson, Roy, and Connolly, Declan. Heart Rate Training. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics, 2011.

Gardiner, Phillip F. Advanced Neuromuscular Exercise Physiology. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics, 2011.

Morrow Jr., James R., Jackson, Allen W., Disch, James G., and Mood, Dale P. Measurement and Evaluation in Human Performance. 4th edition. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics, 2011.

Did you know... Flights to the east cause more severe jet-lag than flights to the west and symptoms last longer.

Schmidt, Richard A., and Lee, Timothy D. Motor Control and Learning: A Behavioral Emphasis. 5th edition. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics, 2011.


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Calendar For more events, check out the SIRC Conference Calendar.

August 2012 1-4 4 12-14

Expert Scientific Meeting (ESM) 2012 Aalborg, Denmark

2012 BayCare Sports Medicine Conference St. Petersburg, FL Sport Nutrition Conference 2012 London, England

September 2012 2-5 19-22


Asia Pacific Coaching Conference Singapore

Social (and Human) Sciences, Sport and Physical Culture: 4th conference of the International Society for the Social Sciences of Sport Kranjska Gora, Slovenia XXXII FIMS World Congress of Sports Medicine Rome, Italy

October 2012 1-3 4-5 19-20 24-28


The SPIN Summit Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sports & Performance Nutrition 2012 Conference Cologne, Germany

11th International Symposium for Olympic Research Ivey-Spencer Leadership Centre in London, Ontario The 8th International Congress on Strength Training (ICST 2012) Oslo, Norway Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference Kanata, Ontario, Canada

November 2012 7-9 8-10 8-11 9-11


Modern University Sport Science Moscow, Russia

Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Conference Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Congress of Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine 2012 Jaipur, India 2012 ASCA International Conference on Applied Strength and Conditioning Outrigger Hotel/Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia Sport Science in the Heart of the Arab Spring Conference Luxor, Egypt


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Recommended Readings from SIRC When 30,000 articles cross your desk each year, you start to notice trends as well as the research that seems particularly strategic. We are pleased to highlight some of the key articles in various topics that have attracted our attention.



Strength Training for Athletes: Does It Really Help Sports Performance? McGuigan M, Wright G, Fleck S. International Journal Of Sports Physiology & Performance. March 2012;7(1):2-5

The Relationship Among Femoral Neck Angle and BMD, and Lower Extremity Injury Incidence in Elite Athletes: Based Upon Gender. Nam-Ku L, Jong-Kyu K, Mi-Sook L, et al. International Journal Of Applied Sports Sciences. December 2011;23(2):383-393.

Endurance ability characteristics of professional sportsmen. Rozenstoka S. Journal Of Human Sport & Exercise. January 2012;7(1):S166-S172



Self-admitted behavior and perceived use of performance-enhancing vs psychoactive drugs among competitive athletes. Uvacsek M, Nepusz T, Naughton D, Mazanov J, Ránky M, Petróczi A. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports. April 2011;21(2):224-234.

The interdependence of coaches’ and athletes’ perceptions and satisfaction with performance. Lorimer R. International Journal Of Coaching Science. July 2011;5(2):69-80.

β2 Agonists and Physical Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pluim B, de Hon O, Scholten R, et al. Sports Medicine. January 2011;41(1):39-57.

Developmental pathways of Singapore’s highperformance basketball coaches. Koh K, Mallett C, Wang C. International Journal Of Sport & Exercise Psychology. December 2011;9(4):338353.



Diagnosis of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction: eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea challenges identify previously undiagnosed elite athletes with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Dickinson J, McConnell A, Whyte G. British Journal Of Sports Medicine. November 2011;45(14):1126-1131.

Challenges and Solutions When Applying Implicit Motor Learning Theory in a High Performance Sport Environment: Examples from Rugby League. Gabbett T, Masters R. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. December 2011;6(4):567-576.

Elite Adolescent Athletes’ Use of Dietary Supplements: Characteristics, Opinions, and Sources of Supply and Information. Diehl K, Thiel A, Zipfel S, Mayer J, Schnell A, Schneider S. International Journal Of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. June 2012;22(3):165-174.

Elite sport is not an additional source of distress for adolescents with high stress levels. Gerber M, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Pühse U, Brand S. Perceptual & Motor Skills. April 2011;112(2):581599.

Dietary Supplementation Habits and Perceptions of Supplement Use Among Elite Finnish Athletes. Heikkinen A, Alaranta A, Helenius I, Vasankari T. International Journal Of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. August 2011;21(4):271-279

Strength Training and Detraining in Different Populations: Case Studies. Marques M, Zajac A, Pereira A, Costa A. Journal Of Human Kinetics. December 2, 2011;:7-14.


Perfectionistic Profiles Among Elite Athletes and Differences in Their Motivational Orientations. Gucciardi D, Mahoney J, Jalleh G, Donovan R, Parkes J. Journal Of Sport & Exercise Psychology. June 2012;34(2):159-183.

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The IST Journal Club The goal of the IST Journal Club is to share ‘must reads’ on cutting edge performance based applications, training/competition variables, and proactive medical interventions, selected by performance service experts representing various professional disciplines associated with Integrated Support Teams.

Effects of different post-match recovery interventions on subsequent athlete hormonal state and game performance.

Crewther BT, Cook CJ. Physiology & Behavior. Jun 25 2012;106(4):471-475

Positives and Negatives of Video Feedback Commentary by Dr. Judy Goss Progressing and excelling in sport is partly about the athlete effectively processing feedback, whether it is internal feedback that an athlete receives from sensory perception, external feedback as they watch video or technical information that is provided verbally. We often assume that once feedback is delivered then the change can be made. It sounds simple, however this is not the case. As I am lucky enough to work with many high performance coaches, I often find it comical and certainly have lost count of the number of times that a coach has turned and said to me, “that’s not what I meant at all”. If we could predict how a person would internalize, interpret, and respond to feedback, we could get out of sport and make some real money. With the huge increase in video technology and analysis, I would venture to say that athletes are getting more feedback today than even 5 years ago. This is why I feel that the research conducted by Crewther and Cook is critical. It is one of the few studies that actually studied positive and negative feedback effects on physiological markers. There are studies that look at feedback and it’s effect on performance, however few have examined the potential physiological effects that occur due to feedback. Crewther and Cook had rugby players

complete a 1 hour video session with coach feedback. The video sessions were either footage of mistakes with negative coach feedback or successes with positive coach feedback. What they found was that the athletes that had received the positive feedback had significantly greater free testosterone levels than those who had received negative feedback. They also observed that those who had higher free testosterone levels had better game performances several days later. One mechanism cited for this change was that the increase in free testosterone was important for mood changes suited to the combative nature of rugby. This research is a wonderful illustration of how video feedback is a tool that needs to be managed effectively to help an athlete’s state of readiness. It is often conceptualized that it is great that an athlete can actually see what they are doing wrong. Therefore, they have the understanding to make the correction. Obviously that is not always the case, if athletes who see a poor performance and receive negative feedback are actually experiencing a greater stress response, this is not always going to facilitate performance. Additionally, we need to be very aware that athletes may interpret what is being shown to them differently. For example, a coach may be quite pleased to be able to point out a simple mistake that an athlete had made, with the confidence that an easy correction can increase performance. The athlete may not see it that way at all. Instead, it may be perceived that the coach points out a habitual mistake and the room for improvement is limited. Point being made – what you see is not always what you get. ∆


Training distribution, physiological profile, and performance for a male international 1500-m runner.

Ingham, S. a, Fudge, B.W. & Pringle, J.S. International journal of sports physiology and performance 7, 193-5 (2012).

Commentary by Leo Thornley Ingham et al present a well laid out case study looking at the performance and physiological capability of an elite 1500m runner over the course of two years. During this time the distribution of training was changed to a more polarized approach and performance was improved. There are several key summary points from this concise paper. 1. Regular and consistent physiological monitoring is an essential part of tracking the effectiveness of preparation. 2. A simple way of tracking training distribution is required for knowing “what is getting done?” 3. Know (or develop) your benchmarks, you must be able to break down the components of successful performance. 4. Attention to detail and regular in-the-field monitoring can close the gap between prescribed and actually performed training. As we head into the culmination of the latest summer quadrennial, thoughts inevitably drift to post Olympic debriefs, the point where we review the effectiveness of what has been done. When contemplating any intervention (IST involved or not) it is imperative to have an understanding of the whole equation. This means we need to know the athletes current status (current physiological profile), what gets done (training along with any intervention) and what comes out (performance) in order to judge its effectiveness. While this is a case study and some detractors might scoff at an n of one, surely showing a significant positive HP SIRCuit Summer 2012

change in performance of an elite athlete is in itself worthwhile. This shows that there is a place for good case studies in good science along-side larger group studies. ∆

Using the Functional Movement Screen to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Training

Journal Of Strength & Conditioning Research June 2012;26(6):1620-1630.

Commentary by Matt Jordan Background The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is purported to “red-flag” movement strategies and functional limitations that may lead to injury or suboptimal performance. Participants are graded on a scale from 0-3 on their ability to perform 7 “functional” tests. The presence of compensatory movement strategies or the inability to perform a test results in a lower score. Evidence suggests that the reliability between testers is good. However, the evidence on the positive relationship between low FMS scores and injury is equivocal. Despite the mixed scientific evidence in support of the FMS, it is quickly becoming mainstream in elite sport. It is critical that rigorous scientific study be undertaken to ascertain the value of the FMS for preventing injury and improving performance. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of the FMS for evaluating changes in an individual’s movement following two training conditions. The first supervised training condition (T1) placed a primary emphasis on movement; and exercises were selected and coached based on observed patterns of coordination and control. The second supervised training condition

(T2) placed a primary emphasis on improving fitness with a very basic emphasis on exercise technique for safety. The study also compared a more rigorous and broad scoring system with the standard ordinal 0-3 rating system. It was hypothesized that the subjects in T1 would have a significant improvement in FMS scores following the 12-week training program compared to T2 and the control group. It was also hypothesized that the more rigorous scoring system would better differentiate the effects of the training program on the FMS. Study Design Sixty male firefighters participated in an FMS before and after a 12-week training period in which the subjects were randomly assigned to T1, T2 or a control group. Video was collected during the FMS and an expert tester scored with the standard scale from 0-3 and a 100-point research standard scale that weighted compensations differently. Main Findings 1. There were no improvements in FMS scores for any group posttraining, which calls into question the trainability of the movements assessed in the FMS. 2. 85% of the subjects in the control group (i.e. those who did not receive training) had a nonsystematic score change from the first to the second test, which calls into question the value of Kodak Moment FMS testing (i.e. a snapshot in time) as movement strategies may change from one session to the next over 12 weeks. 3. The 100-point scale resulted in more FMS score changes posttraining but did not highlight any further differences between groups compared to the standard scale. Strengths, Limitations and Future Considerations 34

1. The investigators had a relatively big sample size for a training study. 2. The subjects were evaluated on how they chose to perform the tests rather than how they could perform the tests to evaluate their natural tendencies. ∆

Real time data streaming from smart phones Rowlands, D., James, D.. Procedia Engineering 13 (2011) 464–469.

Commentary by Ryan Atkison Video analysis has long been considered the most practical and relevant method for monitoring athlete performance; however, the recent trend of utilizing multi-functional sensors to monitor performance has increased dramatically due to the decrease in size and the overall practicality of these sensors to monitor sport performance. Despite the advantages of multi-functional sensors, the cost and complexity of these devices and their associated software prevents use within the broader sporting community. Therefore, it is also necessary to consider less expensive, more accessible monitoring devices that can benefit a wider audience (like our developing athletes, for example). One particular device that is highly accessible and cost-efficient is the smartphone. In fact, the smartphone contains many of the functions of expensive sensor and data acquisition units, including: GPS, triaxial accelerometers, triaxial gyroscopes, data logging, and wireless streaming. This article outlines the methodology for successfully extracting three dimensional accelerometer data from a smartphone, both wired and wirelessly. In the provided example, the researchers demonstrate this technique using an iPhone 4 during a jogging task. HP SIRCuit Summer 2012

One concern that is immediately evident is the limited measurement range of the iPhone’s accelerometers at ±2g (g = -9.81m/s2). Even in a low intensity task such as jogging, the accelerometer’s range was maxed out during most cycles. In higher intensity applications, such as running, this could become an issue if attempting to identify a high acceleration event; once the acceleration exceeds ±2g a flat wave will replace the acceleration spike, resulting in imprecise and inaccurate measurements. On the other hand, for smooth tasks such as speed skating or rowing the range of accelerations is much smaller. In these applications, the smartphone would be more suitable as a measurement device. Smartphones offer numerous advantages over other measurement devices, with the most important being accessibility. However, the smartphone is not the best measurement tool for all sports, as they have a limited measurement range, are bulky, and the software interface is less user friendly than other commercially developed systems. For those who are willing to invest some extra time to understand the process of extracting data from a smartphone, the cost savings and potential for widespread application in your sport make this a desirable alternative to proprietary multi-functional sensors. Of course, it is important to properly secure and protect your phone before using it as a measurement tool; after all, you are risking more than just a sensor. ∆

Nutritional Status of Junior Elite Canadian Female Soccer Athletes.

Gibson, J. C., Stuart-Hill, L., Martin, S., & Gual, C. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. (2011) 21, 507-514.

Commentary by Heather Hynes When working with elite female athletes as a sport scientist, support staff or coach, it is critical to gain an understanding of their dietary practices. Making the assumption that they are fueling their bodies properly for training and competition may not be appropriate. This Canadian research article took a comprehensive analysis of the dietary habits of 33 junior elite female soccer players and presented the findings in a manner that highlights the inadequacies in both macro and micronutrients. Junior athletes training at the elite level have many nutritional challenges; the energy needs for optimal growth and development, the additional fuel requirements for training and competition and the frequent pressure to maintain the ‘optimal’ body composition for sport. The authors found that the mean energy intake values (2,079 ± 460 kcal/day) were significantly lower than the calculated energy requirements (2,546 ± 190 kcal/day). They also noted that over 50% of the participants were not meeting the guidelines for carbohydrate intake. Soccer places a great demand on muscle glycogen and having any inadequacies in carbohydrate intake could have a direct impact on the athlete’s ability to train and compete. Micronutrient data is also presented; the researchers found that 100% of the participants were not meeting the Dietary Reference Intake recommendations for Vitamin D. This article highlights the importance of ongoing sports nutrition education. ∆


Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue: A Comprehensive Management Plan for Sport Medicine Physicians and HighPerformance Support Teams Charles H. Samuels, MD*† Clin J Sport Med Volume 22, Number 3, May 2012

Commentary by Willem Meeuwisse Sometimes we forget the basics. In this era of high technology and striving for small increments in performance, the basic aspects of health and recovery are sometimes forgotten. While not as “sexy” as the latest training gizmo, basic elements of rest and regeneration have more potential to either help or hurt the athlete than almost any other factor. In the “practical managment” article, Dr. Charles Samuels outlines some useful strategies that support teams can employ to minimize the effects of jet lag and travel fatigue. It should be required reading for everyone travelling with elite athletes.∆

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