Competitive performance rating criteria of in elite biathlon high qualification

Фотографии: 

PhD, Professor A.G. Batalov1
N.Zh. Jilkibaeva2
1Russian State University of Physical Education, Sports, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPE), Moscow
2Federal Training Sport Center of the representative teams of Russia, Moscow

 

Keywords: competitive performance, elite biathletes, shooting time, shooting percentage, speed coefficient.

 

Background. A notable decrease of results has been noted in Russian biathlon in the global sport events for the last few years – from four, six and even eleven medals (2008 in Östersunds) to only a couple of medals at most. In the 2015/16 season, for instance, Russian biathletes failed to win a single medal at the World Championship in Norway; and won only two medals (gold in men’s relay race and bronze in mixed relay) at the 2017 World Championship. One of the reasons for the regress is the significantly grown competition in global biathlon with the progress in the biathletes’ training systems and coaching service quality. In this situation, a high priority should be given to comprehensive studies and integrated progress tests in every competitive process component critical for competitive progress. One of potential ways to improve the national training systems is to critically analyze modern competitive processes to find the model competitive performance rates and apply them to design, test and implement the most efficient training systems [1].

Objective of the study was to develop a set of model competitive performance rates for competitive success in modern biathlon.

Methods and structure of the study. The study was designed to estimate the competitive performance of the winners and top three biathletes (referred to herein as the Global Elite) of the top-ranking international events including World Cups, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games in the period of 2006 to 2017; versus that of the top three national athletes (Russian Elite).

The competitive performance rating parameters were as follows: speed coefficient (SC) i.e. the measure of speed of the athlete, describing the time loss in seconds from the fastest athlete per one kilometer; shooting percentage (SP); and shooting time meaning total time on the shooting range. For the purposes of the study 150 individual protocols (except relays) of the World Cup were examined, 72 – of the World Championships and 24 - of the Olympic Winter Games in total, all of which are available on the Official website of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) [3].

Study findings and discussion. At the first stage of the study, we made a comparative analysis of the average group competitive performance rates for the Global Elite in the top-ranking international events including World Cups, World Championships and Olympic Games and rated significance of the intergroup differences. In these competitions the gender-specific group competitive performance rates were insignificantly different (p˂0.05). This makes it possible to consider the whole data array as a homogeneous sample to evaluate the elite biathletes’ competitive performance at this juncture: see Table 1. It should also be mentioned that the Global Elite does not take special efforts to get ready for the top-ranking global events such as World Championships and Olympic Games.

The competitive performance rates have been relatively stable for the study cycle including 12 competitive seasons, with the speed coefficient found to vary in the widest range within 15.5%, and with the female group showing a wavelike SC variation for the period versus the male group where it was much more stable. The male group showed progress in the shooting time that was tested to drop to 27s for the last two seasons. The shooting success rate has reached a stable level with the average accuracy making up 93.7±1.4% and 93±1.3% for the male and female groups, respectively, with the shooting time being 3.6s lower in the male group versus the female group.

 

Table 1. Average competitive performance rates in the male and female groups of the Global Elite, by the biathlon events

Performance rates

Male group

Female group

Difference

Speed coefficient, s (V)

2,2±0,2 (11,0)

3,4±0,5 (15,5)

1,2

Shooting percentage, % (V)

93,7±1,4 (1,4)

93±1,3 (1,4)

0,7

Shooting time, s (V)

28,2±0,9 (3,1)

31,8±0,7(2,2)

3,6

Note: V means variation ratio, %

 

The competitive performance rating data and comparative analyses of the Global Elite versus Russian Elite showed that the national best athletes still lag behind the average best global standards in the shooting percentage and speed coefficient (SC) respectively: see Table 2.

 

Table 2. Average group competitive performance rating data of the Global Elite versus Russian Elite

Female group

Speed coefficient, s

Shooting percentage, %

Shooting time, s

 

Global

Russian

Global

Russian

Global

Russian

Individual race

5,0±1,6

9,5±2,3

95,1±1,7

89,2±2,9

33,2±1,7

32,5±1,9

Sprint race

3,1±0,6

8,2±1,7

94,9±2,4

89,8±1,6

31,7±0,5

31,5±1,7

Pursuit race

3,5±0,7

7,1±1,5

90,7±1,8

87,5±2,3

32,0±1,2

31,8±1,8

Mass start event

2,9±0,7

7,2±1,6

92,0±1,8

86,9±2,2

31,2±1,3

31,3±2,0

             

Male group

Speed coefficient, s

Shooting percentage, %

Shooting time, s

 

Global

Russian

Global

Global

Russian

Global

Individual race

3,0±0,9

5,1±0,9

95,4±1,6

90,1±2,1

29,7±1,2

29,8±3,0

Sprint race

1,8±0,2

4,4±0,7

95,1±1,2

89,6±2,7

28,4±1,1

29,7±2,0

Pursuit race

2,6±0,5

3,4±1,2

91,3±2,1

87,9±2,4

27,9±1,0

29,0±1,9

Mass start event

1,6±0,4

2,8±0,7

93,7±2,1

86,9±2,1

27,4±0,9

28,1±1,9

 

In the elite female group, leaders were notably slower than speed leaders, and this makes it possible for relatively “slow” athletes to compete for the medals conditional on the high shooting skills – as verified by the relatively high shooting accuracy (averaging 95%) of the female top three athletes, particularly in the individual races. It is particularly true for individual races where the top three are on average only 5s per km behind the leaders.

The best Russian female biathletes still lag behind the top three athletes by 9.5 s per km that gives them no chance to compete for the medals – particularly with their shooting accuracies varying under 90%. They keep abreast with the race leaders only in the shooting time, and this is the only factor of influence on the final team standing [2]. The Russian Elite female group is the closest to the world best rates in the pursuit race event albeit the chances for medals are still low for the reason that the starting positions for this event are driven by the sprint race results.

The male group average rates in the Russian Elite are fairly close to those of the Global Elite, with the largest loss in the shooting accuracy; and a large gap in speed – of 4.4 s per km – remaining in the sprint races. No wonder that the competitive success rates in sprint are still not high enough and, hence, the win chances in pursuit races are notably lower. It should be noted, however, that the competitive performance rates of the male and female Russian Elite are the closest to the leaders. In the mass start events, the competitive success rates of the national teams are still limited due to the regretfully low shooting accuracy of only 87%; albeit the speed coefficient still give us chances to compete for the medals. In terms of the shooting time, the Russian Elite is almost as good as global race leaders.

Conclusion. The model competitive performance rates critical for success may be beneficial for the efforts to improve the elite biathletes’ pre-season training systems for success in the top-ranking international events.

 

References

  1. Batalov A.G. Modelno-tselevoy sposob postroeniya sportivnoy podgotovki vysokokvalifitsirovannykh sportsmenov v zimnikh tsiklicheskikh vidakh sporta [Targeted model design method of elite athletes' training system in winter cyclic sports]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury, 2000, no. 11, pp. 46-52; 2001, no. 2, pp. 42-50.

  2. Zubrilov R.A. Sovremennye strukturnye i strelkovye modeli sorevnovatelnoy deyatelnosti biatlonistov [Modern structural and shooting models of competitive activity of biathlonists]. Mater. Vseros. nauch-prakt. konf 'Sovremennaya sistema sportivnoy podgotovki v biatlone' [Proc. nat. res.-practical conf. 'Modern sports training system in biathlon']. Omsk: SiSUPC publ., 2011, pp. 89-105.

  3. Official website of IBU [electronic resource]. Available at: http:// www.biathlonworld.com. (Date of access: 01.08.2017).

 

Corresponding author: alex-batalov@yandex.ru

 

Abstract

Objective of the study was to estimate the competitive performance of the winners and runner-ups (referred to herein as the Global Elite) of the top-ranking international events including World Cups, World Championships and Olympic Games in the period of 2006 to 2017; versus that of the top three national athletes (Russian Elite). The competitive performance rating criteria were as follows: speed coefficient (SC) - the measure of speed of the athlete, describing the time loss in seconds from the fastest athlete per one kilometer; shooting percentage (SP); and shooting time meaning total time on the shooting range. For the purposes of the study the official competitive protocols of the events were examined. Comparative analyses of studied parameters of the Global Elite and Russian Elite showed that the national best athletes lose mostly in the shooting percentage (SP) value for the male group and in the racing speed for the female one.