Sprint Kinematic Performance Changes upon Returning from a Declining Period in Track and Field Sprinters
Sprinting is a key component of many competitive sports. Coaches regularly seek ways to improve their athletes’ sprint performance in order to improve their sports game performance. Sprinting is a complex movement pattern that has many different subcomponents to be properly trained in order to become faster. A sprint event has three major phases (acceleration, maximum velocity/constant speed, and deceleration). Coaches are constantly looking to improve their athlete’s performance. This is done by a strategic training regimen that extends throughout the entire year. During the off-season, the coaches’ main focus is to maintain conditioning and performance adaptions. Previous studies have concluded that detraining has a negative impact on many aspects of an athlete’s performance profile. In 2020 many sports were disrupted completely in the cause because of Corona Virus. Research on unplanned detraining/reduced training has not been explored. In the proposed study, we aim to evaluate the progression of division 1 track athlete's sprint performance from a deconditioned state to in-season shape. Coaches regularly seek ways to improve athlete sprint performance, including sprint kinematics, in efforts to translate to superior sport performance. This is generally done through a periodized training program application. This past year the COVID-19 virus significantly altered/halted many aspects of sports performance training. This specifically impacted the off-season training of Division 1 track and field athletes. PURPOSE: To examine the magnitude of change in sprint performance kinematics of Division 1 sprinters after participating in a training program upon returning from a COVID-19 pandemic enforced deconditioning period. METHODS: Thirteen Division 1 sprinters participated in two separate testing sessions 5 months apart (October 2020, February 2021). Initial testing was conducted with athletes returning in a deconditioned state resulting from COVID-19 quarantine. The second testing session was completed after a typical training in-season program. Athletes performed two trials of a 30-meter sprint-through. The sprint-through test was conducted over a 60-meter distance with the first 30 meters used for acceleration and the subsequent 30 meters being the timed zone. Athletes were instructed to attain maximal velocity upon entering the 30-meter timed zone. Speed was obtained by timing gates placed at the start and end of the 30-meter timed zone. Within the 30-meter timed zone, 6 meters of the OptoJump Next measuring system, placed in the middle of the 30-meter zone, captured sprint kinematics (stance phase, contact time, step length, stride length, and flight time, speed,). A series of paired sample t-tests were used to find differences in sprint kinematics between time points. The significance level was set at 0.05. A questionnaire was given to the athletes in order to assess the training they were performing during the lockdown. RESULTS: Significant differences were found in left stance phase of 19% from pre ( 0.119 0.0159) to post (0.1 0.03) (t (12) = 2.918; p = 0.012; Cohen’s D = 0.76; Moderate). Other variables that showed no significance were speed (t(12) = 0.37; p = 0.710;), step length (t(12) = 1.33; p = 0.207), stride length (t(12)= 1.33; p = 0.207), and flight time (t(10)= 0.875; p = 0.401). CONCLUSION: After a 5-month training program following a period of detraining, improvements were seen in the stance phase and contact time in Division 1 track and field sprinters. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Monitoring sprint performance kinematics after deconditioning can help aide strength and conditioning coaches to plan training programs to improve sprint kinematic performance.
Del Rio, Joshua, "Sprint Kinematic Performance Changes upon Returning from a Declining Period in Track and Field Sprinters" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28716050.