The Relationship Between The Stretch Shortening Cycle and Sprint Performance
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Sprinting is regularly considered the mediator between winning and losing, success and failure. Current research associating stretch shortening with sprinting shows conflicting findings. The purpose of this study was to refine this relationship and distinguish any variables within the stretch shortening cycle, and it’s impact on maximal velocity running. Establishing relationship would inform modalities that can influence sprinting. A sample of 25 male and female athletes volunteered to participate. Nineteen males (age 19.7 ± 0.4 years; height 177.0 ± 8.6cm; body mass 79.1 ± 11.8kg) as well as six female athletes (age 18.7 ± 1.3 years; height 172.9 ± 6.0cm; body mass 64.2 ± 7.5kg). Students attended over two sessions. The first session included drop jumps (DJ) performed on a contact mat, allowing for flight time and contact time to be calculated, subsequently allowing for RSI to be calculated. This session also included a 40m sprint (splits at 30m and 40m) through timing gates. Both tests used the best of three trials with the best value being used for statistical analysis. The second week consisted of a counter movement jump (CMJ), in which height time was recorded from the contact mat. RSI (r = -0.641) and CMJ (r = -0.779) were siginifiantly related to 30-40m sprint performance (p > 0.05). Step frequency in the 10m split was also strongly correlated with RSI (r =0.613) and CMJ height (r = 0.639) as well as drop jump height (r = -0.523). Further secondary analysis also shown that CMJ height (r2= 0.536) and RSI (r2= 0.624) were strong predictors of sprint performance. Although tests of SSC in this study were significantly related to sprint performance, conducting more tests involving both fast and SSC components, would help support and better refine this relationship. Relationships between some of the variables in this study aid in informing training and predicting sprint performance, however it is clear that the nature of the tests reflect unique specific qualities within performance.
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