Influence of pre-cooling garments on elite pistol shooting performance

Sanders, N 2014, Influence of pre-cooling garments on elite pistol shooting performance, Masters by Research, Medical Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Influence of pre-cooling garments on elite pistol shooting performance
Author(s) Sanders, N
Year 2014
Abstract In international pistol shooting competition the performance improvement needed to be able to move into a medal winning position in a final from fourth position is 1.5 points (Bedford et al., 2012). It may be expected therefore, that by providing a method of reducing tremor resulting in a corresponding performance improvement. This research consists of two studies investigating the physiological response and the shooting performance of elite pistol shooters.
The first examines the effects of hyperthermic (37°C) compared to thermo-neutral (19°C) conditions, and the second investigates the use of a Australian Institute of Sport (AIS)/RMIT University (RMIT) phase change material (PCM) pre-cooling jacket material (Tate et al., 2008) or sleeve also in hyperthermic conditions. Shooting performance; shooting score over a 40 shot simulated competition, trace aim across the target, shot time and aim time in the 10 shot ring were measured by a gun mounted infra-red Scatt shooting system. Physiological measurements; heart rate, core body temperature and skin temperature were measured throughout the simulated competition with questionnaires administered to assess thermal comfort and participant perceptions of the differences between conditions.
The first study revealed significant increases in HR and thermal comfort during the heat condition indicating that there was an increased thermoregulatory load from the elevated environmental temperatures. Trace length was also significantly increased in each shot series for eight of the nine study participants and also as a grouped data set. This increased trace length in the heat condition mirrored as a lower score in each of the four shot series from the heat condition accumulating as a 2.1 point reduction in score for the whole match.
The second study elicited an initial benefit from the cooling jacket, with a significantly increased fractional shot score in the first shot series compared to the corresponding control series. Although not significant, core temperature (Tcore) was lower until the end of the first shot series following application of the jacket compared to control conditions. There was a significantly better reported thermal comfort level until the end of shot series 1, and at the conclusion of the study, shooters reported improved cognitive parameters and physical control of movement after wearing the jacket compared to control conditions. Trace length was reduced and shot time was increased in the first two series following application of the cooling jacket compared to control. Thus, it appears that, while short lived, there was a significant physiological, cognitive and technical benefit that accompanied the increase of 3.9 points in total score associated with shooting in hot conditions following pre-cooling with the AIS/RMIT phase change material pre-cooling jacket.
Given the variation internationally in 10m air pistol is 3.4 points the AIS/RMIT PCM pre-cooling jacket is a potential method to reduce the increased thermoregulatory load and subsequent performance reduction when competing in hot conditions. Providing a practical pre-cooling methodology when competing in hot conditions could provide international shooters with a competitive advantage and impact on the final medal standings at major international events such as the Olympics.

Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Medical Sciences
Keyword(s) pre-cooling
pistol shooting
phase change material
cooling jacket
core temperature
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Created: Fri, 19 Sep 2014, 14:47:34 EST by Maria Lombardo
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