Chapter 3: Short term Technical Preparation


Ergogenic aids:

Definition = ‘any means of improving the efficiency.

and enhancing the quality of sporting performance’                                                               

Mechanical Chemical Physiological Psychological

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Mechanical ergogenic aids:

  • Training Technology- Ability to analyse and improve technique- Golf,Tennis.

    Eg: Dartfish

  • Heart Rate Monitor- Monitor intensity of training to ensure staying in the target zone- Triathlon, Marathon.
  • Hypoxic Chamber- Maximises delivery of 02 by increasing haemoglobin in the blood- cycling, X country skiing.
  • Cycle Ergometre- Measure max VO2, the ability to take in and use O2- 1500m, rowing.
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Chemical ergogenic aids:


Sugar rush ginseng (increases glycogen use) caffeine (stimulant) creatine (boosts ATP system) Glutamine (aids muscle recovery) Bicarbonate loading (slows LA build up) Man made [illegal] Steroids (muscle development) EPO (red blood cells)

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Physiological ergogenic aids:

  • Sports Massage- Aid blood flow, Remove acid, Aid muscular repair (Benefits).
  • Acupuncture- Cover Pain (Benefit).
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Psychological ergogenic aids:

Imagery / visualisation- Mentally go through the physical action. Kicking a rugby ball, corner in a bob sleigh.

Music- To gain focus, Block out external influences. Swimming, Sprinting.

Hypnosis- calming down. Boxing, Rugby.

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Kit and equipment, temperature:


- very cold may require longer warm up, more clothing which increases drag, time spent outside before performance reduced, tactical approach

- very warm may require cooling strategies such as ice vests and adapted hydration methods

Sporting Example:

-England rugby wear technical pyjamas [heated tracksuits]

-Athletes wear compression clothing to maintan core body temperature.

-Tactically, football teams may use cold weather to advantage by catching opposition "cold."

-F1 heating tyres for more grip.

-Australian rowing team use of ice vests.

-Sydney Olympic, open air cold showers

-American football, legal requirement for ice baths and hydration stops.


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Kit and equipment, wind:

- use of wind tunnels to reduce drag on equipment and clothing and maximise body shape

 - tactics may have to change

- cycling

 - motorcycling

 - skiing

 - swimming – shaving body

 - tactics – sailing

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Kit and equipment, playing surface:

- wet and slippy or very dry– change of footwear / stud length

 - different surfaces require change of tactics

- Tennis – clay or grass require change of style

 - Football – watering pitch before kick-off

 - Rugby – boot choice due to conditions

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Kit and equipment, indoor/outdoor:

- choice of clothing and footwear

 - way the ‘ball plays’

- Atmosphere [fans]

- Wimbledon

 - Davis Cup

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Illegal drugs:

The International Olympic Committee considers doping to be:

‘the administration of or use by a competing athlete of any substance foreign to the body or any physiological substance taken in abnormal quantity or taken by abnormal route of entry into the body with the sole intention of increasing in an artificial and unfair manner his / her performance in a competition’

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Drugs, Stimulents:

  • Amphetamines, Ephedrine
  • Cycling, boxing, rugby.

Ergogenic Effects:

  • Reduces Fatigue
  • Increase alertness & Agression
  • Suppresses Appetite.

Health Risks:

  • Can cause lasting tissue & organ damage
  • mask injury
  • Addiction
  • Death
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Drugs, RHGH:

  • recombinant human growth hormone (cloned through genetic engineering)
  • stimulate naturally occurring HGH: increases blood glucose, protein synthesis, lean body mass, bone growth enhances healing
  • Long term side effects
  • explosive events – sprinting, weight lifting, swimming
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Drugs, Anabolic Steroid:

  • related to naturally occurring hormone testosterone
  • eg.testosterone, nandrolone
  • increases protein synthesis, fat free mass (FFM) strength, power
  • reduces recovery time between sessions, promotes aggressiveness
  • liver damage, cardiovascular diseases, acne, pituitary failure, testicular atrophy,
  • excessive aggressive behaviour outside the activity  
  • explosive events – sprinting, weight lifting, swimming
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Drugs, Diuretics:

  • triamterene, bendrofluazide
  • reduces weight quickly, hence increasing urine flow
  • also used as a masking agent
  • dehydration and heat loss impairment
  • loss of water soluble vitamins
  • used by gymnasts and combat sports where there are bodyweight categories
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Drugs, EPO:

  • mimics body’s naturally occurring hormone EPO that stimulates red blood cell production, increasing aerobic capacity,
  • aids recovery in endurance events
  • reduces production of naturally occurring EPO
  • major risk of thrombosis and heart failure due to increase blood viscosity
  • any endurance activity, distance cycling (Tour de France), marathon running
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Why is blood doping an illegal ergogenic aid?

WADA bans any means of artificially enhancing performance such as . VO2max. Using chemicals or blood substitutes, and also blood doping can be detrimental to the athlete’s health. Such as risk of infection from the reinfusion process. And high blood pressure. Because of a higher concentration of red blood cells, a much greater chance of thrombosis or blood clotting (possibly causing stroke or heart attack).

Blood doping is in conflict with the general spirit of sport

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Holding camps:

A camp which is very similar to the conditions which will be faced at the event - climate, altitude, time zone. Used in the days and weeks just before the event. Aim

 - acclimatisation

 - psychological focus

 - fine tune – physical tapering, tactics, set plays.

 - Social integration

 - away from media attention

 - get used to time zone

 - get used to dietary changes / hydration changes

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Training Camps:

In the same country or away from home Open or closed season Allows teams or individuals to focus on specific aspects. Eg: St Georges Park – England Football team

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Preparation camps:

‘Dry run’ of the facilities used in the event a set time before the event Can be up to a year prior to event. Aim

 - familiarise performers and staff with the facility

 - help to plan holding camp arrangements

 - devise tactics best suited to the facility – sailing / skiing / motor racing / canoeing

 - adjust training / periodization plan to physically prepare for the course

 - iron out any potential issues – travel / accommodation / diet / training facilities

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