Loughborough University
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Current perspectives on profiling and enhancing wheelchair court-sport performance

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-07-26, 13:35 authored by Thomas A.W. Paulson, Vicky Goosey-TolfreyVicky Goosey-Tolfrey
Despite the growing interest in Paralympic sport, the evidence-base for supporting elite wheelchair sport performance remains in its infancy when compared to able-bodied (AB) sport. Subsequently, current practice is often based on theory adapted from AB guidelines, with a heavy reliance on anecdotal evidence and practitioner experience. Many principles in training prescription and performance monitoring with wheelchair athletes are directly transferable from AB practice, including the periodisation and tapering of athlete loads around competition. Yet, a consideration for the physiological consequences of an athlete’s impairment and the interface between athlete and their equipment are vital when targeting interventions to optimise in-competition performance. Researchers and practitioners are faced with the challenge of identifying and implementing reliable protocols that detect small but meaningful changes in impairment-specific physical capacities and on-court performance. Technologies to profile both linear and rotational on-court performance are an essential component of sports science support in order to understand sport-specific movement profiles and prescribe training intensities. In addition, an individualised approach to the prescription of athlete training and optimisation of the ‘wheelchair/user interface’ is required, accounting for an athlete’s anthropometrics, sports classification and positional role on court. As well as enhancing physical capacities, interventions must also focus on the integration of the athlete and their equipment as well as techniques for limiting environmental influence on performance. Taken together, the optimisation of wheelchair sport performance requires a multi-disciplinary approach based on the individual requirements of each athlete.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance


PAULSON, T.A.W. and GOOSEY-TOLFREY, V.L., 2017. Current perspectives on profiling and enhancing wheelchair court-sport performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12 (3), pp. 275-286.


© Human Kinetics Publishing as accepted for publication


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0231




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