Effects of Caffeine Ingestion on Skill Performance During an International Female Rugby Sevens Competition

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Portillo, J, Del Coso, J, and Abián-Vicén, J. Effects of caffeine ingestion on skill performance during an international female rugby sevens competition. J Strength Cond Res 31(12): 3351–3357, 2017—The aim of this study was to establish the effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on skills and technical performance during a match in female elite rugby sevens players. On 2 nonconsecutive days of a friendly tournament, 16 women from the Spanish national rugby sevens team (mean age = 23 ± 2 years) ingested 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body mass in the form of an energy drink or the same drink without caffeine (placebo drink). After 60 minutes for caffeine absorption, participants played 3 rugby sevens matches against another national team. Body impacts during the matches were assessed by triaxial accelerometers. The matches were videotaped, and each individual technical action was notated afterward by 2 experienced observers. In comparison with the placebo drink, the ingestion of the caffeinated energy drink increased the rate of body impacts in zone 1 (16.1 ± 4.9 vs. 20.8 ± 9.9 impacts/min, p < 0.05), zone 2 (12.2 ± 10.6 vs. 16.2 ± 15.2 impacts/min, p < 0.05), zone 3 (3.8 ± 1.5 vs. 4.7 ± 2.6 impacts/min, p < 0.05), and zone 5 (0.8 ± 0.4 vs. 1.1 ± 0.6 impacts/min, p < 0.05). The pre-exercise ingestion of the caffeinated energy drink did not affect the frequency or the quality of any rugby-specific technical actions during the games. In conclusion, the ingestion of 3 mg·kg−1 of caffeine in the form of an energy drink increased the number of body impacts during a rugby sevens international competition which suggests a higher engagement of the players during the game. However, the caffeine ingestion did not influence the quality of the technical actions performed during the competition.

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