An explorative investigation into the warm-up practices of both professional and amateur rugby league players

Gee, Thomas and Morrow, Ryan and Dorrell, Harry and Bishop, Daniel (2017) An explorative investigation into the warm-up practices of both professional and amateur rugby league players. In: National Strength and Conditioning Association 2017 National Conference, 12-15 July 2017, Las Vegas.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
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Abstract

PURPOSE: Rugby League (RL) players require high levels of speed, strength, power, agility and psychological readiness. Optimum preparation for performance via warm-up (WU) routines has been an area of research speculation in recent years. This study aimed to survey the WU protocols of professional and amateur RL players, to determine player’s perceptions of their featured WU procedures and to establish any significant differences in WU practices and perceptions between the two populations. METHODS: An online questionnaire was used to investigate 30 professional and 53 amateur players’ WU protocols and their perceptions behind their practices, providing both statistical and descriptive analysis. For a more in depth understanding into the practices and perceptions of the featured protocols, the questionnaire was followed up by two focus groups which included four participants in each (one professional group and one amateur). Raw data was produced from the focus groups which was then placed within higher-order themes and general dimensions. RESULTS: The questionnaire revealed a significant between-group difference for the duration of the WU’s between the two separate standards (P = 0.009). Professionals’ WU protocols were considerably longer in duration compared to the amateurs’ protocols; 67% of professional players performed WU routines for 15+ min whereas only 42% of amateur players claimed to WU for 15+ min. However, no between-group differences existed for protocols, perception variables, static stretching (SS) duration and similarity of the WU protocol (P > 0.05). The questionnaire also revealed the prevalence of SS; 83% of amateur participants and 90% of professional players claimed to perform SS during their WU. The focus group revealed that RL players’ protocols and perceptions of their regime are due to the influences of others such as coaches, strength and conditioning practitioners and physiotherapists and emphasises the importance the role such professionals play. CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that professional participants WU for a longer period in comparison to amateurs. The high prevalence of SS within RL WU protocols at both a professional and amateur standard was clearly apparent, contradicting the vast amount of literature that would advocate the removal of SS in sports requiring explosive power due to the associated links with decrements in performance. Most professional and amateur RL participants were discovered to perform SS for a duration that has been proven to impair desired physiological attributes. Furthermore, the study revealed the dynamic element of a WU is being consistently placed before SS, by both the professional and amateur domain, which has been previously linked to decreases in body temperature and associated mechanisms related mechanisms. Players associated that there WU practice was heavily influenced by RL coaches and associated practitioners. PRACTICAL APPLICTIONS: It is recommended that coaches, strength and conditioning practitioners and other key influential figures are educated on optimal evidence based WU procedures prior to prescription. Important aspects for consideration and education include WU duration, intensity, protocol order and SS elongation, volume and duration. Whilst it is important to link the research in WU to performance, practitioners should be mindful of changing regimes abruptly and the idiosyncratic nature of how athletes prefer to prepare physically and mentally.

Keywords:Warm up, Static Stretching, questionnaire, Focus Group, Perceptions, Rugby league
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:28011
Deposited On:18 Jul 2017 19:12

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