EESP 2013 Abstracts

Full Papers
Paper Nr: 3

Effect of the Environment on the Sport Performance


Alessandro Pezzoli, Elena Cristofori, Matteo Moncalero, Fiorella Giacometto and Andrea Boscolo

Abstract: The effect of weather and environmental conditions on sports has been extensively studied over the last few years (Thornes, 1977; Spelmann, 1996; Pezzoli et al., 2010; Fleming et al., 2010). Based upon the studies of Lobozewicz (1981) and of Kay and Vamplew (2002), Pezzoli and Cristofori (2008) have studied the impact of some specific environmental parameters over different sports using a particular impact index divided into five classes. This analysis clearly shows that most of the outdoor sport activities, and in particular endurance sports, are strongly influenced by the variation of meteorological parameters. In effect the evaluation of bio-climatological conditions and of thermal comfort in endurance sports, particularly in road cycling, has a fundamental importance not only for a proper planning of the training program and the nutritional plan, but also for a better evaluation of the race strategy (Olds et al., 1995). Despite these observations, the influence of meteorological and environmental conditions is often disregarded in the outdoor sport performance assessment. The aim of this paper is to assess how much atmospheric variables may influence both the athletic performance and the comfort level for different sport disciplines. The availability of these specific information leads to a more detailed knowledge of the area of interest and opens up the possibility of making considerations on past trends, as well as on the predictability of future situations and phenomena.

Paper Nr: 5

Pilot Study for the Evaluation of Thermal Properties and Moisture Management on Ski Boots


Matteo Moncalero, Martino Colonna, Alessandro Pezzoli and Marco Nicotra

Abstract: Winter sports are often performed in severe environmental conditions and this could represent a limit in terms of comfort and therefore performance. Since alpine skiing has the biggest number of practitioners among the winter sports and because the feeling of cold in the feet is one of the most common problem, a testing method has been developed to perform outdoor tests on ski boots in order to evaluate the thermal comfort for different liner materials. The tests, performed on both male and female skiers wearing the same shell with different liners simultaneously (one on the left foot and one on the right foot), showed that a significant difference in terms of comfort using different liners in the same environmental conditions is present. Specific tests have been made to ensure that such differences between the two feet were not due to physiological difference between left to right feet; for this reason, data has been recorded using the same shell and liner for both feet, obtaining negligible differences between the two. Moreover, the collected data can be used to optimize the target of use of the ski boot and liner, choosing the best materials to achieve specific behaviour in terms of heating, breathability and moisture management.

Short Papers
Paper Nr: 1

Computer Supported Training - Analysis of the Environmental Conditions and Sports Performance


Roberto Bellasio, Alessandro Pezzoli, Jacopo Padoan, Matteo Moncalero and Andrea Boscolo

Abstract: Environmental and meteorological conditions have an important effect on outdoor sport performances. Wind direction and wind speed are important, for example, during marathons, rowing and sailing races. Temperature is also very important in long running events. Water temperature, for example, is an important factor in swimming during triathlon races. The authors believe that environmental data will acquire increasing importance in analyse sport performances in the next future. Of course, such an analysis will require the assistance of a specific software tool, of which the main features are summarised in this document. The software tool would be very useful for athletes and trainers.

Paper Nr: 2

Climatic Influence on Home Advantage in Gulf Region Football - Statistical Analysis using International Match Outcomes


Franck Brocherie, Olivier Girard, Abdulaziz Farooq and Grégoire P. Millet

Abstract: 1 OBJECTIVES While the relevance of time-motion analysis to determine fatigue occurrence in match-play has recently been questioned (Carling, 2013), reductions in match-running performance during football competition in hot vs. cool conditions highlights the importance of heat acclimatisation. This is of utmost consideration for teams playing away matches at higher temperature and/or humidity (Grantham et al., 2010), as it can adversely affect players’ thermoregulatory control (Cheuvront et Haymes, 2001; Vihma, 2010). However, no study has yet focused on the influence of heat stress on football home advantage at an international level. Therefore we investigated the impact of climatic variables on international football results and scores in the specific context of the World Cup 2022 perspective by applying statistical analyses aiming to control for factors including the home advantage and the difference in FIFA ranking between national squads. 2 METHODS 2.1 Data Collection and Analysis Relevant information on football match outcomes and environmental conditions data were extracted from two websites: (i) the official internet website of FIFA in order to collect FIFA-recognised Olympic and A level football results, scores and ranking for six national teams representing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and (ii) “Weather Underground” website centralizing climatic data from weather stations owned by government agencies referenced by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It was used to collect both home countries’ and opponents’ average dry bulb temperature (°C) and relative humidity (%) of the month preceding the matches. Temperature and humidity of the day for all matches for the three different venues (home, played in GCC; away, played in the opponent’ country; or neutral, played neither at home nor away) were also granted. Six variables were defined: (i) the probability of a favourable outcome (i.e. win or draw vs. loss) (ii) the difference between the number of goals scored and the number of goals conceded (ΔGoals), (iii) the difference in team FIFA-ranking (ΔRank), (iv) the home advantage along with (v) the temperature (ΔT) and (vi) the humidity (ΔH) differences between the home venue of a specific team and that of the match venue. Two additional variables were used to determine the best environmental predictor for the probability of favourable outcome and ΔGoals: (vii) the heat index (ΔHI) and (viii) the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) (ΔWBGT) difference between the home venue of a specific team and that of the match venue. 2.2 Statistics Generalised linear mixed models with a logit link function for a binomial residual distribution and a random intercept for country were developed. The parameter estimates were reported as odds ratios (OR) for the favourable outcome or beta coefficient (β) for the ΔGoals with 95% of confidence interval (95% CI). For all procedures, a P-value <0.05 was considered as cut-off for significance. 3 RESULTS A total of 2008 games over 55 years between 1957 and 2012 were used. In GCC region, home teams have greater probability of a favourable outcome (P<0.001) and higher ΔGoals (P<0.001) than their opponents. After adjustment for ΔRank, home advantage and ΔH, ΔT was clearly identified as a significant explanatory variable. With every 1°C increase in temperature, both the probability of favourable outcome [OR=1.02 (95% CI 1.01; 1.02, P<0.001] and ΔGoals [β=0.02 (0.01; 0.04), P<0.001] increased. ΔH appeared to be of lower importance than ΔT in affecting the favourable outcome [OR=1.00 (1.00; 1.01); P>0.05] and ΔGoals [β=0.01 (0.01; 0.01); P<0.001]. Meanwhile, the probability of favourable outcome and ΔGoals decreased [OR=0.99 (0.98; 0.99) and β=-0.02 (-0.02; -0.02), respectively; both P<0.001] when playing against a stronger opponent. To determine the best climatic predictor on the likelihood of a probability of favourable outcome or on ΔGoals, the different environmental variables collected or calculated were compared after adjustment for ΔRank and home advantage. While ΔT was significant (P<0.001), adding ΔH was found to be of lower importance in affecting the match outcomes (see above). Replacing these two variables by ΔHI decreased the model fit and appeared non-significant. Finally, when using ΔWBGT, both the probability of favourable outcome [OR=1.02 (1.01; 1.03); P<0.001] and ΔGoals [β=0.03 (0.02; 0.05); P<0.001] increased with a similar reading than as for ΔT. 4 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Our results showed that the differences in heat stress conditions between home and away teams significantly affect the outcome of international football matches in the GCC region and therefore represent an integral component of the home advantage in these hot countries. Hot weather teams (i.e. GCC), presumably better heat-acclimatised, tend to have greater probability of favourable outcome and higher ΔGoals at home with an increase in ΔT. However, ΔRank plays an important role in our dataset which tends to disguise the impact of the environmental conditions.