Maturation is simply the process of children growing and obtaining adult stature. All humans experience maturation differently, but we notice the greatest change after puberty. Females tend to mature sooner than boys, but post-pubertal boys will experience greater increases in strength and power due to testosterone and other androgen hormones. An appropriate strength and conditioning programme will increase the motor skills, coordination, strength and power in children and adolescents. Adolescents may be prone to overuse injuries during periods of rapid growth in height and mass. Maturation should be measured in youth athletes to properly monitor their growth and well-being as athletes.
Tactical Strength & Conditioning
Tactical strength and conditioning is the application of strength and conditioning principles in a tactical (e.g. military, law enforcement, etc.) training environment [1, 4]. The term “tactical athlete” can refer to police officers, Tier 1 soldiers, firefighters, or even emergency medical service personnel. Despite promising growth over the past few years within various tactical organisations, there is still a fair amount of confusion as to what exactly tactical strength and conditioning should look like. Highlighting unique challenges, identifying common solutions, and exploring current and future research will make it easier to optimise the performance of tactical athletes at all levels.
Statistical significance is a scientific method that helps to determine whether reported research findings are actually true. Statistical evidence, therefore, contributes to our level of confidence in research findings, rather than relying on human judgement or bias. However, simply reporting a significant value does not provide sufficient evidence to make a scientific claim, as it does not tell us the magnitude of the reported difference. Therefore, statistical significance should be used in conjunction with effect size to provide a greater understanding of research findings.
Force-velocity profiling is a simple and inexpensive way to assess an athlete’s force and velocity production capabilities during ballistic tasks such as jumping and sprinting. Through force-velocity profiling, a coach can identify whether an athlete is force- or velocity-deficient during a given movement (e.g. vertical jump), independent of their power capability. Based on the test results, targeted resistance training can then be implemented in order to reduce the athlete’s force or velocity deficiency, and improve their performance on that given task (e.g. vertical jump). As a result, force-velocity profiling allows the strength and conditioning coach to tailor their athletes’ programmes more specifically by using detailed, objective information. Lastly, certain smartphone applications which require minimal set-up and provide instantaneous feedback can be used to assess the force-velocity profile of an athlete.
Fatigue monitoring is characterised by using various techniques in order to examine the physiological and psychological fatigue accumulated from training and competing in sport. This is a particularly important tool for coaches, sport scientists, and other practitioners alike due to the fact that high-levels of fatigue can inhibit proper adaption to training and hinder performance in competition. Therefore, actively monitoring fatigue levels in athletes can provide important feedback needed to adjust training in order to improve overall performance.
There are several ways to monitor fatigue through different subjective (e.g. questionnaires) or objective (e.g. blood lactate) measures. Recently, much research has attempted to assess the validity and reliability of many of these measures (e.g. wellness questionnaires). While many practitioners have developed well-rounded fatigue monitoring programmes, there is still a huge demand for more research to verify the best methods for tracking fatigue.