Tapering for Throwing Performance: An Exploratory Study

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PURPOSE: To examine the effects of an overreaching week followed by a 3-week taper (ORT) on DI collegiate throwers after 8 weeks of in-season training. METHODS: Seven throwers (5 male, 2 female) (20.8 ± 1.1 years, 182.9 ± 7.6 cm, 100.6 ± 22.2 kg) were recruited for the study. Throwing performance (TP) was normalized across events using z-scores calculated from the top 500 throws/year in DI over the past 5 years (-1.28 ± 0.99). Athletes were tested on measures of vastus lateralis muscle thickness (MT) using B-mode ultrasound, countermovement jump peak power with 0kg (CMJPP0) on a force platform, overhead shot put throw (OHT) at baseline (T1), pre-taper (T2) and post-taper (T3). TP was measured at a conference meet and championships. Training load (TL=session RPE·duration) and strength training volume-load (VL) were monitored for 12 weeks at all training sessions and competitions. One-way repeated measures ANOVA and paired sample t-tests were used for analysis with alpha level set at p"0.05. RESULTS: There was a statistical reduction in weight training VL (d=1.21, 90% CI [0.58, 1.8], p=0.01) and TL (d=0.96 [0.26, 1.7], p=0.04) between in-season (T1 to T2) and OR-T (T2 to T3) training phases. There were statistical time effects for MT (p=0.02), CMJPP0 (p=0.02), and TP (p=0.04). Post-hoc analysis revealed statistical improvements in MT (T1-T2: d=0.28 [0.11, 0.45], p=0.02), CMJPP0 (T2-T3: d=0.27 [0.1, 0.44], p=0.02), OHT (T2-T3: d=0.49 [0.16, 0.82], p=0.03) and TP (T2-T3, d=0.57 [0.22, 0.93], p=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: The OR-T appeared to augment TP at conference championships and national ranking. Collegiate throwers may benefit from an OR-T phase where TL and VL are exponentially reduced prior to an important competition.


Jacksonville, FL

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