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Sources of Variability in Performance Times at the World Orienteering Championships
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences. (NVC)
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences. (NVC)
Victoria Univ, Coll Sport & Exercise Sci, Melbourne, Vic 8001, Australia.
2015 (English)In: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, ISSN 0195-9131, E-ISSN 1530-0315, Vol. 47, no 7, 1523-1530 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose An improvement equal to 0.3 of the typical variation in an elite athlete's race-to-race performance estimates the smallest worthwhile enhancement, which has not yet been determined for orienteers. Moreover, much of the research in high-performance orienteering has focused on physical and cognitive aspects, although course characteristics might influence race performance. Analysis of race data provides insights into environmental effects and other aspects of competitive performance. Our aim was to examine such factors in relation to World Orienteering Championships performances. Methods We used mixed linear modelling to analyze finishing times from the three qualification rounds and final round of the sprint, middle-distance, and long-distance disciplines of World Orienteering Championships from 2006 to 2013. Models accounted for race length, distance climbed, number of controls, home advantage, venue identity, round (qualification final), athlete identity, and athlete age. Results Within-athlete variability (coefficient of variation, mean SD) was lower in the final (4.9% +/- 1.4%) than in the qualification (7.3% +/- 2.4%) rounds and provided estimates of smallest worthwhile enhancements of 1.0%-3.5%. The home advantage was clear in most disciplines, with distance climbed particularly impacting sprint performances. Small to very large between-venue differences were apparent. Performance predictability expressed as intraclass correlation coefficients was extremely high within years and was high to very high between years. Age of peak performance ranged from 27 to 31 yr. Conclusions Our results suggest that elite orienteers should focus on training and strategies that enhance performance by at least 1.0%-3.5% for smallest worthwhile enhancement. Moreover, as greater familiarity with the terrain likely mediated the home advantage, foreign athletes would benefit from training in nations hosting the World Orienteering Championships for familiarization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 47, no 7, 1523-1530 p.
Keyword [en]
ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE, FOOT ORIENTEER, LINEAR MODELS, STATISTICS, RELIABILITY
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-25659DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000558ISI: 000356493300024PubMedID: 25373484Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84942834228OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-25659DiVA: diva2:849372
Available from: 2015-08-28 Created: 2015-08-18 Last updated: 2015-12-22Bibliographically approved

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