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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 September;57(9):1217-26

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06441-0


lingua: Inglese

Mental skills comparison between elite sprint and endurance track and field runners according to their genetic polymorphism: a pilot study

Hela ZNAZEN 1, 2 , Maamer SLIMANI 1, 2, Bianca MIARKA 3, Marina BUTOVSKAYA 4, Hajer SIALA 5, Taieb MESSAOUD 1, Karim CHAMARI 6, Nizar SOUISSI 2

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Bizerte, Bizerte, Tunisia; 2 Tunisian Research Laboratory “Sports Performance Optimization”, National Center of Medicine and Science in Sports (CNMSS), Tunis, Tunisia; 3 Physical Education School, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil; 4 Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia; 5 Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Children Hospital Bechir Hamza, Tunis, Tunisia; 6 Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar


BACKGROUND: Achieving excellence in track and field athletes requires specific mental skills. The aim of the present study was to compare the mental skills between elite sprint and endurance athletes.
METHODS: Forty elite athletes (age 20.55±2.22 years, body mass 74.8±7.9 kg, height 1.70±0.1 m) participated in the present study. The athletes were classified into two groups according to their genetic polymorphism to physical activity: Endurance group (allele I, N.=20) and power group (allele D, N.=20). The mental skills were assessed by means of Ottawa Mental Skill Assessment Tool-3 inventory (OMSAT-3: based in foundation mental skills, psychosomatic skills, and cognitive skills subscales) before the competition period. Furthermore, genetic data were also collected. Sprint and endurance runners were participating in Tunisian National championship.
RESULTS: The results showed a significant difference between elite sprint and endurance runners in the foundation mental and psychosomatic skills subscales (all, P<0.05). Typically, the present study revealed that goal setting, commitment, stress reactions, fear control, imagery, competition planning and mental practice were significantly higher among the elite sprint runners compared to the endurance runners (all, P<0.05). Findings from this study could confirm the widely acclaimed research assumption that mental skills, such as goal setting, commitment and mental practice, are the predictor variables of power performances, while endurance performances are associated with different mental skills components.
CONCLUSIONS: Finally, the results may inform applied practitioners regarding the differences in mental skill demands between power and endurance athletes and the genetic predisposition of practitioners.

KEY WORDS: Physical endurance - Polymorphism, genetic - Runners - Mental processes

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