• Can athletes be tough yet compassionate to themselves? Practical implications for NCAA mental health best practice no. 4

      Stamatis, Andreas; Deal, Paul J.; Morgan, Grant B.; Forsse, Jeffrey S.; Papadakis, Zacharias; McKinley-Barnard, Sarah; Scudamore, Eric M.; Koutakis, Panagiotis (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-12-31)
      Recent tragic events and data from official NCAA reports suggest student-athletes’ wellbeing is compromised by symptoms of mental health (MH) disorders. Self-compassion (SC) and mental toughness (MT) are two psychological constructs that have been shown effective against stressors associated with sports. The purpose of this study was to investigate SC, MT, and MH in a NCAA environment for the first time and provide practical suggestions for MH best practice No.4. In total, 542 student-athletes participated across Divisions (Mage = 19.84, SD = 1.7). Data were collected through Mental Toughness Index, Self-Compassion Scale, and Mental Health Continuum–Short Form. MT, SC (including mindfulness), and MH were positively correlated. Males scored higher than females on all three scales. No differences were found between divisions. SC partially mediated the MT-MH relationship, but moderation was not significant. Working towards NCAA MH best practice should include training athletes in both MT and SC skills (via mindfulness).
    • Baseball performance via the lens of anthropometric testing, fitness metrics, and statistics: a longitudinal cross-sectional study

      Papadakis, Zacharias; Padgett, Robert N.; Stamatis, Andreas; Karasch, Richard A. (Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), 2021-03)
      Background: Anthropometric testing (AT) and fitness metrics (FM) are contributing factors for success in sports. Limited evidence exists regarding longitudinal baseball AT or FM roles on baseball performance statistics (PS). AT, FM, and PS associations were examined for 5 yr to create a performance model. Methods: Eighty collegiate Division I players participated in this study. Height, mass, and body fat percentage (BF%) were selected as AT variables of interest. Grip strength (GS), one repetition maximum squat (1RMSQ), and vertical-jump height were selected for FM. Batting average percentage (AVG), slugging percentage (SLG), on-base percentage (OBP) baseball statistics were selected as offensive PS. Earned run average (ERA), batting average against percentage (B/ AVG), and strike-out per innings pitched for 9 innings (SO/IP)*9 were selected for defensive PS. Results: Offensive (r=−0.15, P<0.005; rs=−0.17, P<0.001) and defensive (r =−0.253, P<0.001; rs=−0.314, P<0.001) statistics correlated with BF%. Offensive (r =0.26, P<0.001; rs=0.43, P<0.001) and defensive (r =0.39, P <0.001) statistics correlated with GS. Offensive (r =0.26, P<0.001; rs=0.43, P <0.001) and defensive (r =0.27, P <0.001) statistics correlated with 1RMSQ. Offensive statistics AVG (R2=0.48) and SLG (R2=0.46) were explained by 1RMSQ. For defensive statistics, 1RMSQ was the best fit for (SO/IP)*9 (R2=0.43) and B/AVG (R2=0.52), and GS was the best fit for ERA (R2=0.39). Squat and time interaction for B/AVG was significant (P=0.04). Conclusions: Baseball PS are associated with 1RMSQ and GS. Time moderates the effect of squat training on B/AVG. Pitchers need to include squats to lower their B/AVG. Coaches may focus on improving such FM variables and consider the time effect on selected FM that may affect PS.
    • High-Intensity Interval Exercise Performance and Short-Term Metabolic Responses to Overnight-Fasted Acute-Partial Sleep Deprivation

      Papadakis, Zacharias; Forsse, Jeffrey S.; Stamatis, Andreas (MDPI AG, 2021-04-01)
      People practicing high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) fasted during the morning hours under a lack of sleep. Such a habit may jeopardize the health benefits related to HIIE and adequate sleep. Fifteen habitually good sleeper males (age 31.1 ± 5.3 SD year) completed on a treadmill two isocaloric (500 kcal) HIIE sessions (3:2 min work:rest) averaged at 70% VO2reserve after 9–9.5 h of reference sleep exercise (RSE) and after 3–3.5 h of acute-partial sleep deprivation exercise (SSE). Diet and sleep patterns were controlled both 1 week prior and 2 days leading up to RSE and SSE. HIIE related performance and substrate utilization data were obtained from the continuous analysis of respiratory gases. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA with the baseline maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) and body fat percentage (BF%) as covariates at p < 0.05. No difference was observed in VO2max, time to complete the HIIE, VE, RER, CHO%, and FAT% utilization during the experimental conditions. Whether attaining an adequate amount of sleep or not, the fasted HIIE performance and metabolism were not affected. We propose to practice the fasted HIIE under adequate sleep to receive the pleiotropic beneficial effects of sleep to the human body.