To explore the intake, knowledge and perceived perceptions of caffeine consumption on performance within a population of elite hockey players
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Background: Previous literature has debated the effectiveness of caffeine as a stimulant on specific aspects of an athlete’s performance. Although associations have been drawn between caffeine consumption and performance enhancement in team based sports, other research has noted the individualised nature of the perceptions of caffeine supplementation. The purpose of this study is to explore the intake, knowledge and perceived perceptions of caffeine consumption on performance within a population of elite hockey players. Method: The research used opportunistic sampling of the male and female Welsh Hockey team members and Development squad, thus enabling a whole population approach. Data was collected through an online questionnaire, results were collated and statistically analysed. Results: Thirty-one elite hockey players out of a possible forty-four completed the online questionnaire, providing a 70% response rate. The results indicated that the majority (94%) of participants were not aware of the daily caffeine recommendations. However, 71% of participants predominately consume caffeinated products to enhance energy and sporting/mental performance with only (21%) consuming caffeine for its social aspect. Nevertheless, the majority perceived pre-match caffeine to be more effective as a stimulant compared to post-match consumption. Conclusion: Respondents demonstrated some positive perceptions relating to caffeine intake on performance but this was not uniform across all the performance components explored, with more positive perceptions associated with caffeine pre-match as opposed to post match recovery. The degree of performance improvement was noted to be variable and likely influenced by the timing of ingestion, amount ingested and frequency of caffeine consumption.
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