The effects of preseason conditioning on high school female track and field athletes
Trzyna, Christine A.
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The purposes of this study were to (a) determine if fitness improved in female track and field athletes following an 8-week preseason conditioning program as measured by the selected fitness variables: 50-yard dash, 440-yard dash, 12-minute run, and vertical jump; (b) determine if fitness as measured by the selected fitness variables was maintained throughout the competitive track season; (c) determine the influence of preseason conditioning on the improvement in track and field performance; and (d) determine the influence of preseason conditioning on the incidence of injury days and injured athletes. The subjects were 26 volunteer female track and field athletes who were divided into two groups: Group 1 (N̲ = 13) served as the experimental group which participated in an 8-week preseason conditioning program and the competitive track season. Group 2 (N̲ = 13) acted as the control group and completed the competitive track season only. All subjects were administered a preconditioning test, postconditioning test, and postcompetitive test on the selected fitness variables. An analysis of variance (ANOVA), utilized to determine if the groups were initially different on the preconditioning testing, was significant. Therefore, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was employed with the preconditioning test as the covariate. The ANCOVA results showed that the experimental group improved significantly on the selected fitness variables at the postconditioning testing (50-yard dash, -0.07 sec.; 440-yard dash, -1.47 sec.; 12-minute run, +0.13 miles; vertical jump, +0.58 in.). A nonsignificant decrement was shown by the control group on the postconditioning test and by both groups on the postcompetitive test. The ANOVA results showed a nonsignificant difference between the groups in performance improvement, days missed due to injuries, and the incidence of injured athletes. Statistical significance was determined at the p̲ < .05 level. From the results of this study, it was concluded that physical fitness improved significantly after an 8-week preseason conditioning program, but was not maintained throughout the competitive track season. Preseason conditioning did not significantly enhance performance, lessen the number of days missed due to injuries, or decrease the number of injuries.