Publications by authors named "Nikola Foretic"

12 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Analysis of the associations between Salivary cortisol-, alpha-amylase-, and testosterone-responsiveness with the physical contact nature of team handball: a preliminary analysis.

J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2022 May 27. Epub 2022 May 27.

Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia.

Background: This study evaluated endocrine responsiveness (ER) to physical stress (contact vs. non-contact nature of play) during team handball matches, according to the playing positions, thereby contextualizing the contact nature of the handball match.

Methods: The participants were ten male team handball players (24.1 ± 3.17 years, 188.2 ± 6.42 cm, 94.6 ± 9.6 kg) divided into two groups: contact playing positions (CPP) and non-contact playing positions (NCPP). To evaluate the ER, the salivary cortisol (C), testosterone (T), and alpha-amylase (AA) concentrations were assessed before the game, during the halftime break, and after the match. Moreover, playing time (PT) and the number of contacts (NC) were counted post-match by video analysis. To determine possible differences between PT and the NC in the first and second halves of the match, a paired-sample t-test was used. The differences among ER-measures were calculated by the magnitude-based Cohen's effect size. Possible associations between NC and ER were analysed by comparing CPP and NCPP in C, T, and AA.

Results: The CPP group performed significantly more physical contacts, while there was no difference in playing time between the groups. A stronger C response was evidenced in players with a longer playing time. During the game, the C response was directly determined by physical contact, with CPP players showing a stronger C response than NCPP players.

Conclusions: This study provided evidence of the importance of contact actions during matches and training sessions, as a parameter of calculating training loads and preparing strategies for recovery and injury prevention. Further studies examining larger samples are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0022-4707.22.13963-0DOI Listing
May 2022

Testosterone, cortisol and alpha-amylase levels during a handball match; analysis of dynamics and associations.

Res Sports Med 2020 Jul-Sep;28(3):360-370. Epub 2020 Apr 29.

Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split , Split, Croatia.

This study evaluated dynamics of testosterone, cortisol and alpha-amylase during a handball match in high-level male players. Ten male professional players (24.1 ± 3.1 years, 188.2 ± 6.4 cm, 94.6 ± 9.6 kg) were tested on salivary-testosterone, -cortisol and -alpha-amylase levels before (prematch), at halftime, and immediately after the game. Analysis of variance for repeated measurements (ANOVA) with consecutive post-hoc analyses and effect-size differences were calculated to identify differences between measurements. The associations among biomarkers were determined by Pearson's product moment correlation (Pearson's ). The ANOVA indicated significant differences in testosterone (: 14.31, < 0.01; significant post-hoc differences between prematch and remaining two measurements), and alpha-amylase (: 9.78, < 0.01; significant post-hoc differences between all measurements). Significant correlations were evidenced between: (i) alpha-amylase- and testosterone-changes during 1st halftime (Pearson's : 0.81, < 0.01), and (ii) alpha-amylase- and cortisol-changes during 2nd halftime (Pearson's : 0.76, < 0.05). The results indicated specific dynamics of biomarkers during the handball match, with significant increase in alpha-amylase during the entire match and significant increase in the testosterone level during the first half of the match. Further studies are needed to evaluate the associations between real-game performance and changes in hormonal responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15438627.2020.1759069DOI Listing
December 2020

Agility Testing in Youth Football (Soccer)Players; Evaluating Reliability, Validity, and Correlates of Newly Developed Testing Protocols.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 01 1;17(1). Epub 2020 Jan 1.

Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia.

Reactive agility (RAG) and change of direction speed (CODS) are important determinants of success in football (soccer), but there is an evident lack of information on reliable and valid football-specific testing procedures which will be applicable in defining sport-specific RAG and CODS in youth players. This study evaluated reliability and construct validity of newly developed tests of football-specific RAG (FS_RAG) and CODS (FS_CODS), which involved the ball kicking football technique. Additionally, factors associated with FS_RAG and FS_CODS were evaluated. The participants were youth football players (n = 59; age: 13.40 ± 1.25 years) divided according to their age into U13 (11-12 years of age; n = 29), and U15 (13-14 years of age; n = 30) categories. Additionally, performance levels (starters [first-team] vs. non-starters [substitutes]) were observed in each age category. The dependent variables were newly developed FS_RAG and FS_CODS tests. The independent variables were sprinting capacities over 10 and 20 meters (S10M, S20M), countermovement jump (CMJ), the reactive strength index (RSI), and a generic CODS test of 20 yards (20Y). The newly developed FS_CODS and FS_RAG were observed as dependent variables. Results showed appropriate intra-testing and inter-testing reliability of the FS_RAG and FS_CODS, with somewhat better reliability of the FS_CODS (ICC=0.82 and 0.79, respectively). Additionally, better reliability was evidenced in U15 than in U13 (ICC: 0.82-0.85, and 0.78-0.80 for U15 and U13, respectively). Independent samples t-test indicated significant differences between U13 and U15 in S10 (-test: 3.57, < 0.001), S20M (-test: 3.13, < 0.001), 20Y (-test: 4.89, < 0.001), FS_RAG (-test: 3.96, < 0.001), and FS_CODS (-test: 6.42, < 0.001), with better performance in U15. Starters outperformed non-starters in most capacities among U13, but only in FS_RAG among U15 (-test: 1.56, < 0.05). Multiple regression calculations indicated nonsignificant association between independent and dependent variables in U13 (FS_CODS: 19%, FS_RAG: 21% of the explained variance, both > 0.05), but independent variables explained significant proportion of both dependent variables in U15 (FS_CODS: 35%, FS_RAG: 33% explained variance, both < 0.05). The study confirmed the applicability of newly developed tests in distinguishing studied age categories of players. Results indicate that superiority in all studied fitness capacities is translated into performance level in U13. Meanwhile, FS_RAG seems to be important determinant of quality in U15.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010294DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6981745PMC
January 2020

Reliability, Validity and Usefulness of a New Response Time Test for Agility-Based Sports: A Simple vs. Complex Motor Task.

J Sports Sci Med 2019 12 19;18(4):623-635. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia.

The importance of response time (RT) in sports is well known, but there is an evident lack of reliable and valid sport-specific measurement tools applicable in the evaluation of RT in trained athletes. This study aimed to identify the validity, reliability, and usefulness of four newly developed RT testing protocols among athletes from agility-saturated (AG) and non-agility-saturated (NAG) sports. Thirty-seven AG and ten NAG athletes (age: 20.9 ± 2.9; eleven females) volunteered to undergo: three randomized simple response time (SRT-1, SRT-2, and SRT-3) protocols that included a single limb movement, and one complex response time (CRT) protocol that included multi joint movements and whole body transition over a short distance (1.5 and 1.8m). Each RT test involved 3 trials with 5 randomized attempts per trial. Two sensors were placed at the left- and right-hand side for SRT-1 and SRT-2. Three sensors were positioned (left, middle, right) in SRT-3 and CRT. The intra-class-correlation coefficient (ICC) was calculated as a measure of reliability. Independent sample t-test, effect size (d), and area-under-the-curve (AUC) were calculated to define discriminative validity of the tests. The results showed the newly developed tests were more reliable and useful in the AG than NAG athletes (i.e., ICC between 0.68 and 0.97 versus 0.31-0.90, respectively). The RT of AG athletes was faster than that of NAG athletes in the CRT test from the left (p <0.01, = 2.40, AUC: 0.98), centre (p < 0.01, = 1.57, AUC: 0.89), and right sensor (p < 0.01, = 1.93, AUC: 0.89) locations. In contrast, there were no differences between the groups in the SRT tests. The weak correlation (i.e., r= 0.00-0.33) between the SRT and CRT tests suggests that response time of the single limb and multijoint limb movements should not be considered as a single motor capacity. In conclusion, this study showed that AG athletes had faster response time than their NAG peers during complex motor tasks. Such enhanced ability to rapidly and accurately reprogram complex motor tasks can be considered one of the essential qualities required for advanced performance in agility-based sports.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6873124PMC
December 2019

Importance of Agility Performance in Professional Futsal Players; Reliability and Applicability of Newly Developed Testing Protocols.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019 09 4;16(18). Epub 2019 Sep 4.

University of Split, Faculty of Kinesiology, 21000 Split, Croatia.

The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-testing reliability of newly developed tests of the change of direction speed (CODS) and reactive agility (RAG) in competitive futsal players. Additionally, the developed tests were evaluated for their validity with regard to the differentiation of two performance-levels. Thirty-two professional male futsal players (age = 26.22 ± 5.22 years; body height = 182.13 ± 5.99 cm, body mass = 77.43 ± 8.00 kg) participated in the study. The sample was divided into two groups based on their level of futsal performance: A top-level-group ( = 12) and a team-level-group ( = 20). The variables included body height, mass, body mass index, a sprint over a 10-m distance (S10M), and eight newly developed futsal specific CODS and RAG tests. The CODS and RAG tests were performed by dribbling the balls (CODS_D and RAG_D) and without dribbling (CODS_T and RAG_T), and the performances on the dominant and non-dominant sides were observed separately. All CODS, and RAG tests performed on dominant side and RAG_T tests performed on the non-dominant side had good inter-testing (CV = 5-8%; ICC = 0.76-0.89) and intra-testing (CV = 4-9%; ICC = 0.77-0.91) reliability. However, RAG_D performed on the non-dominant side was not reliable (ICC = 0.60, CV = 10%). The top-level-players outperformed the team-level-players in the CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling (-test: 4.28 and 2.40, < 0.05; effect sizes (ES): 0.81 and 1.5, respectively), while the team-level players achieved better results in the CODS_T (-test: 2.08, < 0.05; ES: 0.60). The proposed CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling over a 3.2-m distance, especially on the dominant side, appeared to be reliable, as well as valid for distinguishing the performance level in futsal players.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183246DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6766010PMC
September 2019

Identifying Predictors of Changes in Physical Activity Level in Adolescence: A Prospective Analysis in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019 07 18;16(14). Epub 2019 Jul 18.

University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia.

It is known that physical activity levels (PA levels) decline during adolescence, but there is a lack of knowledge on possible predictors of changes in PA levels in this period of life. This study aimed to prospectively investigate the relationship between sociodemographic and behavioral factors (predictors), PA levels and changes in PA levels in older adolescents from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sample comprised 872 participants (404 females) tested at baseline (16 years of age) and at follow-up (18 years of age). Predictors were sociodemographic characteristics (age, gender, socioeconomic status, urban/rural residence, paternal and maternal education level) and variables of substance misuse (consumption of cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs). The PA level, as measured by the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A), was observed as a criterion. Boys had higher PAQ-A scores than girls at baseline and follow-up. Paternal education levels were correlated with PAQ-A scores at baseline (Spearman's R: 0.18, 0.15 and 0.14, < 0.05, for the total sample, females and males, respectively) and at follow-up (Spearman's R: 0.12, < 0.01 for the total sample). Logistic regression, which was used to calculate changes in PA levels between baseline and follow-up as a binomial criterion (PA decline vs. PA incline), evidenced a higher likelihood of PA incline in adolescents whose mothers were more educated (OR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.05-1.60) and who live in urban communities (OR: 1.56, 95% CI: 1.16-2.10). The consumption of illicit drugs at baseline was evidenced as a factor contributing to the lower likelihood of PA incline (OR: 0.36, 95% CI: 0.14-0.92). The negative relationship between illicit drug consumption and PA decline could be a result of a large number of children who quit competitive sports in this period of life. In achieving appropriate PA-levels, special attention should be placed on children whose mothers are not highly educated, who live in rural communities, and who report the consumption of illicit drugs. The results highlighted the importance of studying correlates of PA levels and changes in PA levels during adolescence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6679343PMC
July 2019

Morphological Profiles of Playing Positions in Defense and Offense in Professional Men's Handball.

Coll Antropol 2015 Jul;39 Suppl 1:131-8

The main scope of the study is concerned with the morphological profiles of playing positions in defense, offense and the combinations of these two phases of the game. Furthermore, study attempted to identify the difference between the morphological profiles of the individual playing positions. Entity sample of the study consist of the 148 players that participated in 45 matches of the World Men's Handball Championship which took place in Croatia in 2009. The study dealt with the differences between playing positions concerning basic morphological characteristics which are due to the selection based on roles and tasks that need to be carried out in each position. Moreover, morphological similarity of playing positions in offense and defense was noticed. It was determined that wing players play dominantly in the position of left back, external players in the position of right and center back whereas pivots participate in the positions of center, back and center forward positions in defense. Morphological profiles of playing positions in defense, offense and in the combination of these two phases of the game were determined. Identical positions on different sides in offense (left-right wing player, left-right back player) have shown that these positions are quite similar when it comes to morphological profile and playing position in defense. It can be concluded that some playing positions in offense are accompanied by the respective positions in defense. All positions are characterized by one or two morphological profiles.
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July 2015

Anthropometric influence on physical fitness among preschool children: gender-specific linear and curvilinear regression models.

Coll Antropol 2013 Dec;37(4):1245-52

University of Split, Faculty of Kinesiology, Split, Croatia.

There is evident lack of studies which investigated morphological influence on physical fitness (PF) among preschool children. The aim of this study was to (1) calculate and interpret linear and nonlinear relationships between simple anthropometric predictors and PF criteria among preschoolers of both genders, and (2) to find critical values of the anthropometric predictors which should be recognized as the breakpoint of the negative influence on the PF. The sample of subjects consisted of 413 preschoolers aged 4 to 6 (mean age, 5.08 years; 176 girls and 237 boys), from Rijeka, Croatia. The anthropometric variables included body height (BH), body weight (BW), sum of triceps and subscapular skinfold (SUMSF), and calculated BMI (BMI = BW (kg)/BH (m)2). The PF was screened throughout testing of flexibility, repetitive strength, explosive strength, and agility. Linear and nonlinear (general quadratic model y = a + bx + cx2) regressions were calculated and interpreted simultaneously. BH and BW are far better predictors of the physical fitness status than BMI and SUMSF. In all calculated regressions excluding flexibility criterion, linear and nonlinear prediction of the PF throughout BH and BW reached statistical significance, indicating influence of the advancement in maturity status on PF variables Differences between linear and nonlinear regressions are smaller in males than in females. There are some indices that the age of 4 to 6 years is a critical period in the prevention of obesity, mostly because the extensively studied and proven negative influence of overweight and adiposity on PF tests is not yet evident. In some cases we have found evident regression breakpoints (approximately 25 kg in boys), which should be interpreted as critical values of the anthropometric measures for the studied sample of subjects.
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December 2013

Nonlinear relationships between anthropometric and physical fitness variables in untrained pubescent boys.

Coll Antropol 2013 May;37 Suppl 2:153-9

University of Split, Faculty of Kinesiology, Split, Croatia.

Previous studies evidently actualized nonlinear regressions as a step forward in defining the true nature of the relationships between anthropometric and physical fitness (PF) variables in trained subjects. In this paper we have sampled 1176 nontrained boys aged 14-16 years and tested them on (1) five anthropometric predictors, including: body height, body weight, triceps skinfold, upper arm circumference, and body mass index (BMI); and (2) five PF criteria measuring: static (static strength) and dynamic muscle endurance (repetitive strength), aerobic endurance, explosive strength, and coordination. Linear (y = a + bx) and nonlinear (second-order polynomial: y = a + bx + cx2) regressions were calculated simultaneously. BMI is found to be the most significant anthropometric predictor of PF status. Although the calculation and interpretation of nonlinear regressions are far more complicated in comparison to those of linear regressions, the variance of the criteria are in some cases far better explained through a significant nonlinear model. Even more, we have found evidence that an exclusive discussion of the linear correlation model could lead to serious interpretative mistakes. This mostly relates to the fact that a linear regression model implies a continuous relationship (dependence) between the predictor and the criteria, while a nonlinear one effectively identifies possible breakpoints in the regression line and consequently highlights the real nature of the relationship between variables.
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May 2013

Significance and characteristics of the connection between morphological variables and derived indicators of situation-related efficiency in elite junior basketball players for three basic types of players.

Coll Antropol 2013 May;37 Suppl 2:45-53

Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje, Basketball club, Zagreb, Croatia.

The purpose of this research was to establish and explain the significance and characteristics of the connection of morphological variables and situation-related efficiency in basketball players for three basic types of players. Based on the obtained results, we can claim that the latent morphological structure is not significantly connected to the applied indexes of situation-related efficiency of players on the sample of guards and forwards. Further on, there is no significant influence of the morphological status on the situation-related efficiency of players in guard and forward positions. On the other hand, latent morphological structure is significantly connected to all five used indexes of situation-related efficiency of players on the sample of centres. In accordance with this, optimal morphological structure of centres in offence involves marked longitudinality, voluminousity and transversality of the skeleton with unmarked sub-skin adipose tissue. When referring to the index of the absolute situation-related efficiency of the centres in defence, it is evident that high quality centres, unlike low quality ones, are characterised by longitudinality and voluminousity. Further on, AEG index, which includes two previously mentioned indexes (AEO and AED), describe absolute situation-related efficiency of the players in offence and defence phase and both indicate that the morphological structure of high quality centres in both phases of the game consists of extreme longitudinality of the skeleton, voluminousity and transversality. In PPLC1 index, three out of four beta-ponders are significant and these are: longitudinality, voluminousity and transversality. Finally, in PPLC2 index, as well as in the previously mentioned PPLC1 index, high quality centres differ from low quality ones in morphological structure which includes marked longitudinality, voluminousity, transversality and unmarked level of sub-skin adipose tissue.
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May 2013

The influence of anthropological features on ball flight speed in handball.

Coll Antropol 2012 Sep;36(3):967-72

University of Split, Faculty of Kinesiology, Split, Croatia.

The purpose of this study, done on the sample of 41 students of Faculty of Kinesiologyi in Split was to determinate the differences in anthropological characteristics between students who achieved above average and students who achieved under average ball flight speed after jump shoot in handball. Anthropological characteristics were defined by 16 variables, 6 of them were used for the estimation of morphological characteristics, 7 variables for evaluation of motor characteristics and one variable each for evaluation of kinetic, kinematics and technical parameters of shooting. The significant differences were determined in variables for evaluation of longitudinal dimensionality of dominant arm, explosive strength of pull-out agility, strength of the hand grip, hand flexion ability for the ball throw-out and finally, correct and sound technique of the throw-out movement.
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September 2012

Influence of passive smoking on basic anthropometric characteristics and respiratory function in young athletes.

Coll Antropol 2006 Sep;30(3):615-9

Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital Split, Split, Croatia.

The primary objective of this study is to investigate the maintenance difference in basic anthropometric characteristics and to outline the dynamics of respiratory function change in youngsters athletes exposed to passive smoking (PS) and athletes not exposed to passive smoking in their families (NPS). High and weight were determined as basis anthropometric characteristics. Measured parameters for respiratory function were vital capacity (VC), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), maximum expiratory flow (PEF), forced expiratory flow at 50% forced vital capacity (MEF 50) and forced expiratory flow at 25% forced vital capacity (MEF 25). Significant statistical differences in separate spirometric variable were found in three variables (FEV1, MEF50, and MEF25) for group older youngsters. Analysis of variance showed statistical differences between athletes unexposed to passive smoking (NPS) and athletes exposed to passive smoking (PS) in even four spirometric variables (VC, FEV1, MEF50 and MEF25).
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September 2006
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