Several factors that affect the selction of playing kit and equipment;
- Climate -temperature, humidity and wind
- Playing Surface
- Protection/reducing injury
Players must wear clothing that maintains their core body temperature. Compression clothing is often worn underneath playing equipment.
Aerodynamics and hydrodynmaics are important as they can influence performance so athletes may use clothing or other strategies to reduce the air or fluid dynmaic. This is traditionally seen in swimmers and cyclists. Aerodynamic suits reduce drag to improve speed and power.
Environmental and Cultural Factors
These factors must be analysed by the athlete and then an alteration of playing kit and equipment should be made as required, (e.g. when it comes to playing surface, footwear must be considered). Tactics may be influenced from environmental factors.
Cultural factos include the amount of suppurt the performer/ team recieves from their home nation or club. This is particularly effective at global competitions. The media can affect performers as they prepare for competition.
Temperature and UV Exposure
If temp is higher than bodys core, then the net gain will be heat from the surroundings to the performer.
Performers control their temperature by chooing appropriate style of playing kit. However when ambient temp. is above 21 degrees celcius the body stuggles to control core temp. This causes a negative affect on endurance, speed and power.
High UV exposure or direct sunlight will increase problems of convection heating and the chance of the body overheating.
Affects how much sweat can evaporate and therefore transfer heat away from the body. Impact of humidity is a rise in core temp, producing a negative effect on performance.
Acclimatisation is the only successful method of combating humidity induced problems.
Increases the rate of sweat evaporation so causes a cooling effect on the performer. Therefore athletes must wear more clothing to counteract this as it could have a negative effect on performance.
Used in preperation for global sports competition to prepare for differences in environmental conditions. Takes 5-10 days to acclimatise to changes in heat and humidity.
During acclimatisation the body becomes more efficient at thermoregulation. The sweat response start earlier and works to a better level. The body will absorb more fluid from a diet so blood volume will increase.
Perfromers acclimatise best in location of competition but this is not always possible (e.g. Olympics) so teams must find places with similar climate and use holding camps to help prepare.
Benefits from compression clothing include;
- Injury prevention
- Performance enhancement
- Speeding up of recovery
Development of this clothing is based on sucesses of medical therapy where compression clothing was used on post-operative patients. Studies show that wearing the clothing speeds up recovery as it increases blood flow to areas covred and also had a poitive impact on venous return.
Venous Return = The amount of blood returning to the heart via the veins.
USA discovered that compression shorts supressed fatigue for longer and benefitted anaerobic sports such as sprinting.
Compression creates a constant pressure on working muscle which stimulates blood flow. The increased blood flow helps feed the muscles with oxygen and energy, and speeds up the romaval of waste products, producing a positive impact on recovery. Evidence suggests that compression clothing reduces muscle vibration which reduces the onset of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
The clothing aids thermoregulation as the material wicks moisture away from the sin to keep the muscles in warm in winter and cool in summer. The clothing helps to reduce fluid loss.
Ice Vests and Thermoregulation
When body temperature rises, blood is diverted away from the muscle to the skin in an attempt to cool down. This means less blood flow to the muscle which negatively effects performance. Ice vests stabilise their temperature.
Ice vests and hoods are worn as a pre-cooling strategy and they are worn during the warm up and breaks during play such as half ime. Issues however include the cost and logistcs of supplying ice and power for refridgeration on pitch side.
Cooling vests are an example of an ergogenic aid.