Performance: Practice Makes Better

Research Paper Title

Effect of Practice on Performance and Pacing Strategies During an Exercise Circuit Involving Load Carriage.

Background

Pacing is critical for athletic endeavours, and the strategies used by athletes are often modified after practice.

The importance of practice when completing occupational assessments has been established; however, the effect of load carriage and discrete sub-task activities on strategies to modulate physical exertion to complete a work task simulation is currently unknown.

Therefore, the researchers sought to investigate the effect of practice on pacing strategies used to complete a physiological aptitude assessment circuit.

Methods

Twenty-five participants completed an assessment designed for firefighters on 3 occasions.

The circuit comprised 6 disparate tasks (including unilateral load carriage, static holds and fire-hose drags) with lap and task completion times recorded.

Pacing strategies were examined relative to the effect of practice throughout (globally) and within the assessment (discrete tasks).

Results

By the second visit, overall test performance and discrete task performance of the first, fourth, and fifth tasks improved, respectively, by 12.6% (95% confidence interval: ±3.6%, p < 0.01), 12.4% (±6.0%, p < 0.01), 11.7% (±4.9%, p < 0.01), and 17.8% (±10.0%, p < 0.03).

Compared with visit 1, significant improvements in performance were observed on the second and third visit. However, no significant additional improvement was noted between visits 2 and 3. Therefore, to reliably assess performance of the occupational test, 1 practice session (2 visits) is required.

Conclusions

Practice is important to allow individuals to optimise their pacing strategy for successful performance.

As the old saying goes “practice makes perfect”.

Reference

Burdon, C.A., Park, J.1., Tagami, K., Groeller, H. & Sampson, J.A. (2018) Effect of Practice on Performance and Pacing Strategies During an Exercise Circuit Involving Load Carriage. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 32(3), pp.700-707. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002349.

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