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.
Acute:Chronic Workload Ratio
Monitoring of training- and match-loads is imperative to enhance performance and prevent injury. An effective monitoring protocol can provide important feedback to assist in the planning and periodisation of training, optimise physical condition, and avoid injury. One such method which can provide this important ‘snapshot’ is the acute: chronic workload ratio. The acute:chronic workload ratio is comprised of an athlete’s ‘fitness’ and ‘fatigue’, and can be calculated using either the rolling average (RA) model or the exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) model. The actual value presented by the acute: chronic workload ratio has different implications, and can assist practitioners in understanding the preparedness of an athlete, the relative injury risk of an athlete from day-to-day, and therefore, with carefully planned intervention, can help to prevent injury.
Body Composition Testing
Body composition is of interest in fields of both health and sporting performance. In health, body composition has long been of interest, potentially more so with the excessive fat mass evident in obese populations, and the limited skeletal muscle mass in the elderly. In athletic performance, changes in body composition such as reduced fat mass and increased fat-free mass are often highlighted as determinants of successful performance, and the target of multiple interventions. Over the years, several methods of body composition measurement have been suggested and used, each method likely to have application in certain scenarios, with a trade-off usually occurring between accuracy and reliability, and cost and practicality.