Covid-19 related training service restrictions: effects on competitive technical scores in elite women’s freestyle wrestling

Dr.Hab., Professor, Honored Trainer of the Russian Federation B.I. Tarakanov1
Dr.Hab., Professor R.N. Apoyko1
PhD, Professor S.I. Petrov1
Postgraduate V.S. Koblova1
1Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health, St. Petersburg

Corresponding author: b.tarakanov@lesgaft.spb.ru

Abstract

Objective of the study was to analyze effects of the COVID-19 related training service restrictions on the competitive technical scores in the women’s freestyle wrestling elite.

Methods and structure of the study. We collected the input data for analysis from the refereeing protocols and video captures of the Russian Freestyle Wrestling Championship (RFWC) that was rescheduled from May to September 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The RFWC-2020 records reported 152 competitors and 179 bouts in all weight classes. The input data was used to compute the competitive technical scores as recommended by the leading experts to produce: total/ scoring technical and tactical actions; competitive technical and tactical actions scoring ratios; technical and tactical actions averages per bout and minute; technical and tactical actions success rates; attack-to-attack intervals; average bout time, etc. We analyzed the women’s freestyle wrestling elite’s competitive performance data for the RFWC-2020 versus the pre-pandemic RFWC-2018 to rate the regress in the competitive performance due to the COVID-19 related training service restrictions.

Results and conclusion. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has heavily restricted social contacts and physical activity the world over and forced the sporting communities to limit and adapt the training systems as required by the lockdown and self-isolation regulations. As a result, the special training service has been heavily limited at detriment to the competitive performance in many sports including the national elite women’s freestyle wrestling sport. Our study has found, however, that the forced limitations of the training service have had their ‘silver lining’ in some aspects. On the positive side, we would mention growth in the numbers of qualifiers for the national women’s freestyle wrestling championship due to rehabilitation of chronic injuries; and higher competitive motivations, with the athletes clearly eager to compete after the long forced break. On the negative side, we found a significant drop in many competitive performance indicators with the inevitable sags in the competitive activity and scoring actions. The study data and analyses are recommended for consideration by the elite freestyle wrestling and coaches in their training for the upcoming World Wrestling Championship and Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Keywords: female wrestler, competitive performance, pandemic, competitive technical scores, analysis, Championship, results, activity.  

Background. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has negatively transformed lifestyles the world over with multiple implications for the commercial, social, physical and other activities including popular sports on the whole and elite professional sports in particular. It has been no more possible for the last year for the freestyle wrestler to train two-three times a day in special well-equipped gyms as before, and the athletes have had to train in congested unequipped spaces or outdoors in their efforts to keep up the habitual workouts and fitness whilst having no access to special equipped training service. These training restrictions have fully applied to every professional wrestling discipline that requires special training gyms and special focused workouts including sparring bouts. The pandemic-related training restrictions, therefore, have effectively reduced the special training workloads with the associating inevitable regress in many aspects of the competitive performance.

Objective of the study was to analyze effects of the COVID-19 related training service restrictions on the competitive technical scores in the women’s freestyle wrestling elite.

Methods and structure of the study. We collected the input data for analysis from the refereeing protocols and video captures of the Russian Freestyle Wrestling Championship (RFWC) that was rescheduled from May to September 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The RFWC-2020 records reported 152 competitors and 179 bouts in all weight classes. The input data was used to compute the competitive technical scores as recommended by the leading experts (N.Y. Nerobeev, 2014; A.A. Karelin, A.B. Tajmazov et al. 2016; R.N. Apoyko, B.I. Tarakanov, 2015; H. Thünnemann, 2019) to produce: total/ scoring technical and tactical actions; competitive technical and tactical actions scoring ratios; technical and tactical actions averages per bout and minute; technical and tactical actions success rates; attack-to-attack intervals; average bout time, etc. We analyzed the women’s freestyle wrestling elite’s competitive performance data for the RFWC-2020 versus the pre-pandemic RFWC-2018 (as reported by B.I. Tarakanov, R.N. Apoyko, S.I. Petrov, N.V. Vorobyova, 2020) to rate the regress in the competitive performance due to the COVID-19 related training service restrictions.

Results and discussion. Given in Table 1 hereunder is the women’s freestyle wrestling elite’s competitive performance data for the RFWC-2020 versus the pre-pandemic RFWC-2018.

Table 1. Women’s freestyle wrestling elite’s competitive performance competitive performance data of the RFWC-2020 versus the pre-pandemic RFWC-2018

Competitive performance

RFWC-2018

RFWC-2020

Difference

n

%

n

%

n

%

Freestyle wrestling competitors

124

100

152

100

28

22,6

Wins by:

146

100

179

100

33

22,6

– Points

60

41,1

91

50,8

31

51,7

– Technical superiority

55

37,7

50

27,9

-5

10

– Fall (pin)

27

18,5

31

17,3

4

14,8

– Default

4

2,7

7

3,9

3

75,0

Total technical and tactical actions including:

688

100

724

100

36

5,2

– Period 1

440

64,0

446

61,6

6

3,9

– Period 2

248

36,0

278

38,4

30

6,7

Scoring points by:

1375

100

1405

100

30

2,2

– Period 1

891

64,8

870

61,9

-21

4,7

– Period 2

484

35,2

535

38,1

51

8,2

Technical and tactical actions scored by: 1 point

129

18,8

180

24,9

51

39,5

– 2 points

496

72,1

476

65,7

-20

4,2

– 4 points

63

9,2

67

9,3

4

6,3

– 5 points

0

0

1

0,1

1

0

A comparative analysis of the above data showed significant competitive performance differences of the events, with the RFWC-2020 showing growth versus RFWC-2018 in numbers of competitors and bouts (plus 22.6%) – that may be interpreted as indicative of the freestyle wrestling elite rehabilitation from chronic injuries with the associating improvements in the competitive fitness for the pandemic-related long break in competitions. The bout statistics, however, showed a high growth of wins by points (plus 51.7%) with reduction of the wins for technical superiority (minus 10%). We should also mention some growths in the total technical and tactical actions and scoring points (by 5.2% and 2.2%, respectively) and significant variations of these rates by periods – that may mean that the scoring technical and tactical actions are now distributed more even in bouts albeit the overall scoring activity of the women’s freestyle wrestling elite still keeps significantly higher in the first period. The technical and tactical actions scoring points has also significantly changed due to the significant growth in the low-scoring 1-point actions (plus 39.5%) and a drop in the 2-point actions (minus 4.2%), whilst the 4-point actions stayed virtually the same. Given in Table 2 hereunder is the further detailed analysis of the competitive performance data indicative of the technical and tactical actions activity and success.

Table 2. Women’s freestyle wrestling elite’s competitive performance data of the RFWC-2020 versus the pre-pandemic RFWC-2018

Competitive performance data

RFWC-2018

RFWC-2020

Difference

M±m

M±m

t

p

Average technical and tactical actions per bout

4,60±0,20

4,09±0,15

2,04

0,05

Average technical and tactical actions per minute

1,15±0,08

0,94±0,06

2,10

0,05

Average score per bout

9,19±0,31

7,96±0,29

2,93

0,01

Average score per minute

2,30±0,17

1,84±0,14

2,09

0,05

Technical and tactical actions success rate, points

2,00±0,03

1,95±0,04

1,00

 

Attack-to-attack interval, s

54,1±3,9

64,9±4,7

1,77

 

Average bout time, min, s

4.06±11

4.25±12

1,17

 

The above data analysis demonstrates the pandemic-related transformations in the women’s freestyle wrestling competitive performance due to the special training service limitations. We found the highest significant reductions in the average technical and tactical actions per bout (by 0.51; p˂0.05) and per minute (by 0.21; p˂0.05); and in the average scores bout (by 1.23 points; p˂0.01) and per minute (by 0.46 points; p˂0.05); with the associating growth of the attack-to-attack interval (by 10.8 s); drop in the technical and tactical actions scores (by 0.05 points) and, as a result, an unsurprising growth in the average bout time (by 19 s). Having summarized the above data and analyses, we every reason for concerns with the competitive performance sags in the women’s freestyle wrestling elite due to the long pandemic-related restrictions on the special training service in well-equipped gyms.

Conclusion. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has heavily restricted social contacts and physical activity the world over and forced the sporting communities to limit and adapt the training systems as required by the lockdown and self-isolation regulations. As a result, the special training service has been heavily limited at detriment to the competitive performance in many sports including the national elite women’s freestyle wrestling sport. Our study has found, however, that the forced limitations of the training service have had their ‘silver lining’ in some aspects. On the positive side, we would mention growth in the numbers of qualifiers for the national women’s freestyle wrestling championship due to rehabilitation of chronic injuries; and higher competitive motivations, with the athletes clearly eager to compete after the long forced break. On the negative side, we found a significant drop in many competitive performance indicators with the inevitable sags in the competitive activity and scoring actions. The study data and analyses are recommended for consideration by the elite freestyle wrestling and coaches in their preparations for the upcoming World Wrestling Championship and Olympic Games in Tokyo.

References

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  2. Karelin A.A., Tajmazov A.B., Tarakanov B.I. et al Competitive wrestling as priority research subject for research education school of P.F. Lesgaft National State University. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2016, no. 10, pp. 16-19.
  3. Nerobeev N.Y. Physical and technical-tactical training of female freestyle wrestlers based on sexual dimorphism. Doct. diss. abstract (Hab.). Lesgaft NSU publ.. St. Petersburg, 2014, 46p.
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