Effects of official youth taekwondo competitions on all-out performances of athletes

Olympic Taekwondo is a very popular sport, considered appropriate for children also to educate their discipline, control, and respect (Yard et al., 2007). Although athletes start training and competing around 10 years of age, no information is provided on the demands of the youth competitions. In fact, research on youth Taekwondo focused mainly on injury (Beis et al., 2001; Yard et al., 2007; Shin et al., 2008) and the physiological profile of young athletes (Melhim, 2001), while heart rate and blood lactate responses to simulated (Bouhlel et al., 2006; Butios & Tasika, 2007) and official (Chiodo et al., 2008). Taekwondo competitions have been reported only on elite athletes. The unique chance of cooperation with the Italian Teakwondo Federation (FITA) presented us with an opportunity to have access to physiological and performance measurements on young athletes during the Italian Youth (i.e., Cadetti A) Taekwondo Championship. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the cardiac load of youth Taekwondo matches, and the differences in the athletes all-out performances (countermovement jump and handgrip) assessed before and at the end of their competition. Seven female and eleven male young (range 13-14 yrs) Taekwondo athletes participated in the study. During Taekwondo competitions mean heart rate (HR) was 187±11 beat.min-1, with no difference between rounds and gender. HR higher than 85%HRmax showed a 77±27% frequency of occurrence. A difference (P<0.05) for gender (females: 22±2 cm; males 27±6 cm) and its interaction with session was found for jump performances. Post hoc analysis showed no difference for female athletes while better performances after the match (28±6 cm) than those recorded before the match (25±6 cm) emerged for male athletes. Peak handgrip values were always found for the right limb (P<0.001), with differences (P<0.01) for gender and session. Lower grip strength values were observed after the match (females: 272±58 N; males: 297±67 N) with respect to pre-match values (females: 256±54 N; males: 275±64 N). The findings showed that Taekwondo competition is a high intensity intermittent activity. It could be speculated that the repeated concussions on the upper limbs used to protect from the opponent’s kicks and punches directed toward the scoring area of the torso might be responsible for the decrease in grip strength at the end of the match. The gender differences observed for jump performances at the end of match encourage further research in this area.
© Copyright 2009 14th annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo/Norway, June 24-27, 2009, Book of Abstracts. Published by The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. All rights reserved.

Subjects: combat sport taekwondo junior elite sport competition heart rate load intermittent youth
Notations: training science combat sports
Published in: 14th annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo/Norway, June 24-27, 2009, Book of Abstracts
Editors: S. Loland, K. Boe, K. Fasting, J. Hallen, Y. Ommundsen, G. Roberts, E. Tsolakidis
Published: Oslo The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences 2009
Pages: 64-65
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced