Journal of Sports Sciences ISSN: 0264-0414 (Print) 1466-447X (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjsp20 Effect of post-match cold-water immersion on subsequent match running performance in junior soccer players during tournament play Greg J. Rowsell , Aaron J. Coutts , Peter Reaburn & Stephen Hill-Haas To cite this article: Greg J. Rowsell , Aaron J. Coutts , Peter Reaburn & Stephen Hill-Haas (2011) Effect of post-match cold-water immersion on subsequent match running performance in junior soccer players during tournament play, Journal of Sports Sciences, 29:1, 1-6, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2010.512640 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2010.512640 Published online: 11 Nov 2010. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 2668 View related articles Citing articles: 34 View citing articles Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=rjsp20 Download by: [Copenhagen University Library] Date: 14 August 2017, At: 01:34 Journal of Sports Sciences, January 1st 2011; 29(1): 1–6 Effect of post-match cold-water immersion on subsequent match running performance in junior soccer players during tournament play GREG J. ROWSELL1, AARON J. COUTTS2, PETER REABURN3, & STEPHEN HILL-HAAS4 South Australian Sports Institute, Kidman Park, SA, Australia, 2School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism, Sydney University of Technology, Lindfield, NSW, Australia, 3Department of Health and Human Performance, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, and 4School of Human Movement and Exercise Science, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia Downloaded by [Copenhagen University Library] at 01:34 14 August 2017 1 (Accepted 29 July 2010) Abstract In this study, we investigated the effects of two hydrotherapy interventions on match running performance and perceptual measures of fatigue and recovery during a 4-day soccer tournament. Twenty male junior soccer players were assigned to one of two treatment groups and undertook either cold-water immersion (5 6 1 min at 108C) or thermoneutral water immersion (5 6 1 min at 348C) after each match. High-intensity running distance (415 km h71) and total distance covered, time spent in low (580% maximum heart rate), moderate (80–90% maximum heart rate), and high (490% maximum heart rate) heart rate zones, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded for each match. Perceptions of general fatigue and leg soreness were recorded approximately 22 h after each match. There were decreases in both groups across the 4-day tournament for high-intensity running distance (P ¼ 0.006, Cohen’s d ¼ 0.63), total distance run (P 5 0.001, d ¼ 0.90), time in high heart rate zone (P ¼ 0.003, d ¼ 0.90), and match RPE (P ¼ 0.012, d ¼ 0.52). Cold-water immersion was more effective than thermoneutral immersion for reducing the perception of leg soreness (P ¼ 0.004, d ¼ –0.92) and general fatigue (P ¼ 0.007, d ¼ –0.91), ameliorating the decrement in total distance run (P ¼ 0.001, d ¼ 0.55), and maintaining time in the moderate heart rate zone (P ¼ 0.01, d ¼ 1.06). In conclusion, cold-water immersion mediates the perceptions of fatigue and recovery and enhances the restoration of some match-related performance measures during a 4-day tournament. Keywords: Cold-water immersion, recovery, high-intensity running, soccer performance Introduction National and international tournament schedules frequently require teams to play matches on consecutive days (Ronglan, Raastad, & Borgesen, 2006; Spencer et al., 2005). These formats allow limited time for recovery between matches and subsequent physical performance could be impaired as fatigue accumulates over a tournament (Montgomery et al., 2008b; Rowsell, Coutts, Reaburn, & Hill-Haas, 2009). Improving recovery and reducing residual fatigue between matches could therefore be beneficial for maintaining performance across a tournament. Impaired physical test performances have been reported in team sport athletes during multi-day tournaments (Montgomery et al., 2008b; Ronglan et al., 2006; Rowsell et al., 2009). Internationalstandard female handball players exhibited decrements in 20-m sprint time and countermovement jump height over a 3-day international handball tournament (Ronglan et al., 2006), while the sprint and vertical jump performance of male basketball players was reduced during a 3-day tournament (Montgomery et al., 2008b). In addition, elite field hockey players performed fewer repeated-sprint bouts in consecutive matches during a 4-day tournament (Spencer et al., 2005). Cold-water immersion is a popular recovery strategy for many athletes but there is limited scientific research of the effectiveness of this method in sport-specific settings. Previous research suggests that cold-water immersion reduces the perception of fatigue and recovery during a 4-day soccer tournament (Rowsell et al., 2009), improves recovery from consecutive days of high-intensity cycling (Vaile, Halson, Gill, & Dawson, 2008), and prevents decreases in 20-m sprint test and line-drill performance during a 3-day basketball competition (Montgomery et al., 2008b). However, no previous Correspondence: G. J. Rowsell, South Australian Sports Institute, 27 Valetta Road, Kidman Park, SA 5026, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com ISSN 0264-0414 print/ISSN 1466-447X online Ó 2011 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2010.512640 2 G. J. Rowsell et al. Downloaded by [Copenhagen University Library] at 01:34 14 August 2017 research has examined the impact of cold-water immersion on the recovery of match performance measures during a tournament. The aims of this study were to investigate the effectiveness of post-match cold-water immersion on match running performance, physiological measures, and perceptions of fatigue and recovery over a 4-day soccer tournament. It was hypothesized that postmatch cold-water immersion would be more effective than thermoneutral immersion for reducing decrements in soccer match running performance and enhancing subjective ratings of fatigue and recovery. Methods Participants Twenty junior male soccer players from the South Australian Sports Institute elite development squad participated in the study. All participants were field players who had previously competed for the State team that won the National Junior Championship before the study commenced, and six of the players were in the national 17 and under squad. Seven of the original 20 participants sustained soft tissue injuries during the tournament and their data were not analysed. The physical characteristics of the 13 participants who completed all matches were as follows (mean + s): age 15.9 + 0.6 years, body mass 71.3 + 5.4 kg, sum of 7 skinfolds (triceps, biceps, subscapular, front thigh, medial calf, abdominal, and supraspinale) 63.3 + 19.7 mm. The study was conducted after 12 weeks of preseason training, which comprised 4–5 team practices (90–120 min each) and 1–2 strength training sessions (45–60 min each) for a duration of approximately 9–12 h per week. Participants were screened for nutritional supplements and anti-inflammatory medications and were free from injury and illness at the start of the study. All participants and their parents/guardians were provided with written and verbal information on the study requirements and completed an informed consent document. The Australian Institute of Sport Ethics Committee and the Central Queensland University Human Research Ethics Committee approved the study. vertical jump, and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1. Players were matched for playing position and initial fitness level and assigned to one of two treatment groups: 1. 2. Cold water immersion (n ¼ 10). After the standard post-match recovery, participants in the cold-water group immersed their entire body to the mesosternale level for 5 6 1-min intervals at 108C. Players sat passively in ambient air (*248C) for 1 min between immersions. Thermoneutral water immersion (n ¼ 10). After the standard post-match recovery, participants immersed their entire body to the mesosternale level for 5 6 1-min intervals at 348C. Players sat passively in ambient air (*248C) for 1 min between immersions. Nutritional control Nutritional intake was controlled to ensure the amount and timing of carbohydrate was replicated on each day of the study. Participants followed a meal and snack plan, designed to provide a daily carbohydrate intake of 8 g kg71 for 3 days before and on each day of the tournament. Participants consumed 1 litre of carbohydrate-electrolyte drink (Gatorade1, Chicago, IL) during each match and a post-match snack (200 ml of Sustagen1 Sport) that provided approximately 21 g of protein and 48 g of carbohydrate. Fluid balance was controlled through the tournament by recording body mass before and after matches. Fluid losses were restored. Perceptual measures of recovery Participants recorded their perception of leg soreness and general fatigue approximately 22 h after each match (days 2–5) on a scale of 1–10 (Halson et al., 2008). Approximately 10 min after each match and before immersion, participants rated their perceived exertion of that match (Impellizzeri, Rampinini, Coutts, Sassi, & Marcora, 2004). After the tournament, participants were asked the extent to which they felt they had received benefit from the treatment undertaken and specifically if they thought it was effective for maintaining their match performance over the tournament. Study design Tournament play The study was designed to simulate the Australian National Junior Soccer Championship tournament format where teams usually play one full match each day for four to five consecutive days. In the week before the tournament, all participating players completed the following tests: 20-m maximal sprint, Each participant was fitted with a GPS tracking unit, with a 1-Hz sampling rate (GPSports Systems1, Canberra, ACT, Australia), and a Polar Team heart rate monitor (Polar Electro Oy1, Kempele, Finland) before each match. The accuracy and reliability of GPS devices has been established for most team Downloaded by [Copenhagen University Library] at 01:34 14 August 2017 Effect of cold-water immersion on match running sport performance measures but it is possible that some important data could be missed when sampling at 1 Hz (Coutts & Duffield, 2010; Edgecomb & Norton, 2006). The reliability of the SPI-10 GPS device for measuring team sport-specific movement characteristics has previously been reported, with the typical error, expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV), being 3.6% for total distance and 11.2% for high-intensity running (414.4 km h71) (Coutts & Duffield, 2010). Matches were played on a full-sized grass pitch under the control of a FIFA-accredited referee. The total playing time for each match was 90 min but because of environmental conditions (368C, 25% relative humidity), the second match was played in four quarters to reduce the risk of heat injury to participants. The data from this match were not used in the final analyses. Participants completed their standard pre-match warm-up routine before each match under the direction of the coach. The team coaches were asked to implement the same tactical strategy for each of the four matches and to use players in the same position and role each match to limit the potential influence of match-play variables (Rampinini, Coutts, Castagna, Sassi, & Impellizzeri, 2007). Participants who sustained minor soft tissue injuries during match-play were substituted and their data were not used in the final analyses. Match performance analysis Polar Precision Performance software (version 4.0) (Polar Electro Oy1, Kempele, Finland) was used to analyse the match heart rate data. Time spent in low (580% maximum heart rate), moderate (80–90% maximum heart rate), and high (490% maximum heart rate) heart rate zones were established for each participant using the peak heart rate previously obtained during match-play. GPSport proprietary software (GPSports Systems1, Canberra, ACT, Australia) was used to calculate high-intensity running distance (running speed 4 15 km h71) and the total distance run. 3 considered to represent small, medium, and large differences, respectively (Cohen, 1988). Data are presented as means + standard deviations (s). Results Participants The data of 13 participants who completed all four matches (cold-water immersion ¼ 6, thermoneutral immersion ¼ 7) were used to examine the effectiveness of the recovery strategies. These participants accumulated 360 min of playing time (4 6 90-min matches) during the tournament. The body mass and sum of seven skinfolds for these participants did not change over the tournament (Table I). The pretournament test results for all participating players are shown in Table II. Effectiveness of recovery strategies Match running. The match running performances are shown in Table III. There were no group 6 time interactions for high-intensity running distance during the tournament (P ¼ 0.21). However, there was a main effect for time, with both treatment groups performing less high-intensity running (running speed 415 km h71) in match 4 than match 1 (P ¼ 0.006, d ¼ 0.63) and there was no apparent effect for cold-water immersion (P ¼ 0.12, d ¼ 0.18). There was a group 6 time interaction for total distance travelled (P ¼ 0.02). There was also a main effect for total distance covered (P 5 0.001), with less distance being travelled in matches 3 (d ¼ 0.88) Table I. Pre- and post-tournament anthropometric data (mean + s). Pre-tournament Post-tournament Cold-water immersion group (n ¼ 6) Body mass (kg) 70.9 + 5.2 Sum of seven skinfolds (mm) 61.6 + 17.8 71.2 + 5.3 62.1 + 18.2 Thermoneutral immersion group (n ¼ 7) Body mass (kg) 71.7 + 6.1 Sum of seven skinfolds (mm) 64.9 + 20.1 71.5 + 6.2 65.4 + 20.3 Statistical analyses A two-way mixed analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for all outcome measures to adjust for the different starting points of each group in the first match. Statistical significance was set at P ¼ 0.05 and Scheffé’s post hoc test was applied to identify the source of the differences. Statistical analyses were performed using the STATISTICA1 software package (version 6.0, Statsoft, Tulsa, OK). Effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were determined for post hoc comparisons. Effect sizes of 0.2, 0.5, and 40.8 were Table II. Pre-tournament physical test results (mean + s). 20-m sprint (s) Vertical jump (cm) Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (m) Cold-water immersion group (n ¼ 6) Thermoneutral immersion group (n ¼ 7) 3.22 + 0.08 53 + 8 2220 + 306 3.21 + 0.05 53 + 6 2225 + 386 4 G. J. Rowsell et al. Downloaded by [Copenhagen University Library] at 01:34 14 August 2017 and 4 (d ¼ 0.90) than in match 1. The main effect of treatment (P ¼ 0.001) showed that, compared with thermoneutral immersion, cold-water immersion reduced the decrement in total running distance from match 1 to matches 3 (d ¼ 0.40) and 4 (d ¼ 0.55). recovery and was perceived to be beneficial for maintaining physical performance in subsequent matches. In contrast, only one of the seven players in the thermoneutral immersion group believed that the treatment was beneficial. Discussion Match heart rate. Match heart rate measures are shown in Table IV. There were no group 6 time interactions for match heart rate measures. However, there was a main effect for time, with both treatment groups spending less time in the high (490% maximum heart rate, P ¼ 0.003) and more time in the low (580% maximum heart rate, P ¼ 0.004) heart rate zone in matches 3 (high: d ¼ 71.12; low: d ¼ 1.11) and 4 (high: d ¼ 71.27; low: d ¼ 1.06). The cold-water immersion group spent more time in the moderate (80–90% maximum heart rate, P ¼ 0.01) and less time in the low (580% maximum heart rate, P 5 0.001) heart rate zone in matches 3 (moderate: d ¼ 0.87; low: d ¼ 71.11) and 4 (moderate: d ¼ 1.06; low: d ¼ 71.02) than the thermoneutral immersion group. The main findings of the present study are as follows: (1) repeated match-play in a tournament led to decrements in several match-performance variables (total distance and high-intensity running distance) and subjective ratings of fatigue and recovery; and (2) post-match cold-water immersion was better than thermoneutral water immersion for attenuating some of these decrements. Match running performance The decrements in high-intensity running and total match running distance observed over the 4-day tournament support previous research in team-sport athletes (Spencer et al., 2005), and are most likely of the result of increased fatigue. High-intensity running performance declined over consecutive matches in the present study, which is in line with the decrement in repeat-effort running performance observed in elitestandard hockey players during a 4-day tournament (Spencer et al., 2005). In contrast with previous studies (Montgomery et al., 2008b; Vaile et al., 2008), however, post-exercise cold-water immersion in the current investigation did not improve subsequent exercise performance. Possible explanations for the differences between the present and previous studies Perceptual measures. Subjective ratings of leg soreness and general fatigue tended to increase over the tournament, while the rating of perceived exertion of the matches decreased P ¼ 0.012, d ¼ 0.44). Coldwater immersion mediated the perception of fatigue/ recovery, with the cold-water group reporting lower ratings of leg soreness (P ¼ 0.004, d ¼ 70.92) and general fatigue (P ¼ 0.007, d ¼ 70.91). All six participants in the cold-water immersion group reported that cold-water immersion improved their Table III. The effect of different recovery interventions on match running performance variables during the tournament (mean + s). Match 1 HIR distance (m) Total distance (m) Match 3 Match 4 CWI TNI CWI TNI CWI TNI Time P-value Condition P-value 1170 + 463 9950 + 478 1192 + 317 9102 + 620 1042 + 462 9370 + 630b 1045 + 183 8331 + 370b,c 1080 + 332a 9455 + 334b 872 + 182a 8227 + 339b,c 0.006 50.001 0.12 0.001 a Match 4 5match 1 (P 5 0.05), bmatch 3 and 4 5match 1 (P 5 0.05), cTNI 5CWI in match 3 and 4 (P 5 0.05). HIR ¼ high-intensity running (running speed 415 km h71), CWI ¼ cold-water immersion, TNI ¼ thermoneutral water immersion. Table IV. The effect of different recovery interventions on match heart rate intensity measures expressed in relation to maximum heart rate (HRmax) during the tournament (mean + s). Match 1 CWI 1047 + 1104 580% HRmax (s) 80–90% HRmax (s) 2674 + 614 90–100% HRmax (s) 1679 + 1151 Match 3 TNI CWI 2179 + 973 2781 + 1159 440 + 314 2239 + 1445a,b 2684 + 1146c 477 + 376d Match 4 TNI CWI TNI 4057 + 557a 2295 + 1731a,b 4355 + 471a 1318 + 537 2635 + 1283c 1043 + 472 25 + 47d 470 + 803d 2 + 6d Time Condition P-value P-value 0.004 0.55 0.003 50.001 0.01 0.75 a Match 3 and 4 4 match 1 (P 5 0.05), bCWI 5TNI (P 5 0.05), cCWI 4 TNI (P 5 0.05), dmatch 3 and 4 5match 1 (P 5 0.05). CWI ¼ cold-water immersion, TNI ¼ thermoneutral water immersion. Downloaded by [Copenhagen University Library] at 01:34 14 August 2017 Effect of cold-water immersion on match running are the duration and/or nature of the exercise tasks assessed. Indeed, the mean match time of 23:13 min:s (+ 4:13) per day reported by Montgomery et al. (2008b) during a 3-day basketball tournament is substantially less than the daily 90 min of soccer match-play performed by participants in the present study. Furthermore, although Vaile et al. (2008) used a research design that was similar to that used here (i.e. five consecutive days of 105 min cycling), the cycling exercise might have caused less muscle trauma than the soccer match-play in the present study, which could influence the time required for full recovery. It is possible that the differences in exercise duration or modes in these previous studies may in part explain why subsequent exercise performance was slightly improved in these investigations and not improved in the present study. Regardless, in the present study there was a general trend and a moderate effect (d ¼ 0.65) for cold-water immersion to promote better maintenance of high-intensity running performance in subsequent matches (1170 + 463 m and 1192 + 317 m in match 1 vs. 1080 + 332 m and 872 + 182 m in match 4 for the cold-water immersion and thermoneutral immersion groups respectively). Although not statistically significant, these data indicate that post-exercise cold-water immersion is not detrimental and could be beneficial for recovery. Total match running distance decreased in both groups over consecutive matches in the current investigation but cold-water immersion was better than thermoneutral immersion for minimizing the decrement (9950 + 478 m and 9102 + 620 m in match 1 vs. 9455 + 334 m and 8227 + 339 m in match 4 for the cold-water immersion and thermoneutral immersion groups respectively). This finding is consistent with previous reports indicating that post-exercise cold-water immersion is beneficial for restoring physical performance measures in basketball players over a 3-day tournament (Montgomery et al., 2008b) and improving repeat effort cycling performance over five consecutive days (Vaile et al., 2008). Collectively, these data suggest that postexercise cold-water immersion is beneficial for promoting the restoration or maintenance of highintensity exercise performance over consecutive days. Notably, cold-water immersion reduced but did not prevent the decrement in subsequent performance in the present study, whereas previous investigators have reported slight improvements in subsequent exercise performance when cold-water immersion was applied after exercise (Montgomery et al., 2008b; Vaile et al., 2008). While the reason for this difference is unknown, there could be a relationship between the extent of performance recovery and the degree of muscle damage incurred as a result of the task demands. 5 There is an emerging body of evidence supporting the use of cold-water immersion for recovery between repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise over several days (Montgomery et al., 2008b; Vaile et al., 2008). However, more research is required to identify physiological mechanisms that could account for the performance benefits that have been observed with cold-water immersion. The hydrostatic pressure exerted when a body is immersed in water might cause intracellular/intravascular fluid shifts that could be beneficial for recovery (Stocks et al., 2004). Hydrostatic pressure was controlled for in the present study, suggesting that the water temperature during immersion could in part explain the beneficial impact of cold-water immersion observed in the present and previous studies (Vaile et al., 2008). Although post-exercise cold-water immersion appears to be beneficial for enhancing recovery, more research is required to establish if the benefits are pressure or temperature related. Match heart rate measures In the present study, participants spent less time in the high-intensity (490% maximum heart rate) and more time in the low-intensity (580% maximum heart rate) heart rate zone, irrespective of treatment, in matches 3 and 4. This finding is consistent with the decrement in match running performance and supports previous reports that exercise performance declines over a tournament (Ronglan et al., 2006; Spencer et al., 2005). In contrast to the present findings, Vaile et al. (2008) reported that exercise heart rate was not changed over successive days of high-intensity cycling efforts. The demand imposed on the cyclists in the study of Vaile et al. (2008) was constant, whereas the demand in the present study was not controlled and actually decreased. It is likely, therefore, that the main reason for the lower heart rates in matches 3 and 4 of the present study is the lower demand during the matches as the tournament progressed. In the current investigation, the coldwater immersion group spent more time in the moderate (80–90% maximum heart rate) and less time in the low (580% maximum heart rate) heart rate zone than the thermoneutral group in matches 3 and 4 respectively. This finding most likely reflects the better maintenance of total match running distance observed in the cold-water immersion group. Player perceptual measures In agreement with some previous research that has examined changes in perceptual measures during team sport tournaments, both groups of participants in the present investigation reported increased Downloaded by [Copenhagen University Library] at 01:34 14 August 2017 6 G. J. Rowsell et al. subjective ratings of leg soreness and general fatigue over the tournament (Halson et al., 2008; Montgomery et al., 2008a, 2008b). Cold-water immersion has previously been shown to minimize general fatigue and leg soreness in basketball players during a 3-day tournament (Montgomery et al., 2008b), and in the present study it was more effective than thermoneutral immersion for minimizing the leg soreness and fatigue associated with playing successive matches. These findings suggest that cold-water immersion recovery practices influence the perception of fatigue and recovery after intense exercise. The mechanism by which this occurs is unclear and more research is required to identify relationships between subjective ratings of fatigue and recovery and subsequent physical performance. There might be a link between the perception of fatigue and physical performance whereby athletes instinctively regulate their intensity of exercise based on the sensation of fatigue (Marcora, Staiano, & Manning, 2009; Noakes, St. Clair Gibson, & Lambert, 2005). In support of this, cold-water immersion reduced the perception of leg soreness and general fatigue and minimized the decrements in total distance run over consecutive matches. In addition, both groups in the present study reported lower match ratings of perceived exertion over the tournament and this was associated with decrements in match running performance. In contrast, the rating of perceived exertion did not change and cycling performance was slightly improved over five consecutive days of high-intensity cycling (Vaile et al., 2008). Mechanisms to account for these findings are unclear and require further investigation. Conclusion The results of the present study suggest that coldwater immersion attenuates the decrement in match performance variables and ameliorates increases in subjective ratings of fatigue and recovery that occur over consecutive matches during a soccer tournament. 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