Physical performance measures in competitive senior archers

Amanda Hockenbary, SPT, Megan Johnson, SPT, and Ike Pohlman, SPT

DPT2018 Archery

37 Comments on “Physical performance measures in competitive senior archers

  1. Were subjects ever tested on the foam with their eyes closed? Assuming archers have exceptional vision, it would be interesting to challenge both their vision and somatosensory systems and measure performance compared to on foam with eyes open. This would more accurately determine the role of vision even when the somatosensory system is challenged.

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    • We did not test on foam with eyes closed due to testing single leg stance (SLS) balance. Typically the subjects weren’t able to stand with SLS on foam with their eye open and that is why we didn’t do SLS with eyes closed on foam.

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    • Like Amanda said, we did not test subjects completing a SLS on foam with their eyes closed. Although it would be something to look at in future research to help give a better picture of an archer’s balance.

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    • Anna, this is a good question and I will answer it with a very generic answer. Currently the Senior Athlete Fitness Exam S.A.F.E. is given to the SA in any sport and the test remains the same regardless of what they are competing in. So, as of now there have been no sport specific adjustments made to the test to further research specific populations. That could be a great way for future researchers to further identify sport specific influences by further challenging the athletes in the areas that they are significantly better than their peers. Thank you for the question!

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  2. I find it interesting that archers generally performed less cardio conditioning compared to other sports but had a significantly higher gate speed. I would assume that those who do more CV conditioning would have a higher gate speed. Is there anything that you think may account for this?

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    • We thought this as well! We are assuming it is due to the sport regulations. They shoot 6 arrow and then they have to go get those arrows within and there is somewhat of a time limit and they shoot 30 arrows at 3 different distances so the archers have to walk quickly over uneven surfaces to return their arrows quite a lot. This is kind of where we thought there might be some gate speed correlation!

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    • The high gait speed of archers was found in another study done by physical therapy students at USD. This finding is what really sparked our interest in finding out more of the reasons why they have such a high gait speed. Dr. Jordre mentioned to us that when she asked them why they are so fast one archer replied that it is because they have to go get all of their arrows. After doing research we realized just how much they walk during one competition. In addition to competition they also are practicing and the faster they go and retrieve their arrows the more repetitions they can get in.

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  3. I find it really interesting that SAs had a higher fast and normal gait speed when compared to others, but showed no significant differences between overall strength and 5x sit to stand. Can gait speed be used as a predictor of overall physical fitness?

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    • Usual gait speed is used to determine risk of all cause mortality in older adults. Usual gait speed faster than 1 m/s is correlated to better health and outcomes. I can get you the studies on this if you are interested!

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    • Like Amanda said, gait speed is a predictor of all cause mortality. Although it would be interesting to take a greater look into the health of archers to actually see if this relationship is true for this group.

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    • Colton, Amanda and Megan already answered your question but regarding your comment about the overall strength we found that the SA competing in archery are approaching significantly higher grip strength values compared to all other SA’s. It should also be noted that in previous studies done with this data on SA by previous students at USD and Dr. Jordre they found that SA’s as a whole group had significantly higher grip strength than age matched community dwelling seniors.

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  4. You state in your poster that “in order to draw a bow and shoot it, requires upper body strength.” Why do you think that the grip strength was not significantly different in the Archers compared to the general population senior athletes?

    Cheers,

    James

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    • A limiting factor of our study was our small population of archers, which was amplified even farther with this PPM as it is gender specific. Although grip strength was not found be significant, it was found to be approaching significant, so possibly with more subjects this would change. Also if a larger population was achieved, it could be possible to compare the results of SA’s who only compete in archery, to those who compete in archery as well as other sports, and to SA’s who do not compete in archery at all, to help get a better understanding of an archer’s strength.

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  5. There are a few reasons why we believe that grip strength ended up not being significant and one of those is the potential lack in number of archers compared to non-archers as well as grip strength is gender dependent which gave us less number of archers in each group. The other two in my group may have more information as well!

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  6. You noted that future research would involve looking at archers that are single sport athletes. Did you record/assess the other sports commonly done by archers? It would be interesting to see if archers also competed in speed walking or other activities that correlate to their high strength training rates compared to other competitors.

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    • Jessi, that would be another great thing to look at for future research but at this time we have not looked at what other sports the athletes compete in. I agree with your thoughts that it would be interesting to see if there was a commonality in the other sports that the archers compete in and if those sports would also improve their strength or gait speed.

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    • We did have them record what other sports they were competing in on their health history questionaire but like Ike said we didn’t look further in to what other sports the archers did compete in besides archery. That would definitely be something that could be done though!

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  7. I find it interesting that these SA had a higher rate of diabetes. I know in your conclusion section you talked about that it could be due to small sample size, but do you have any other hypothesis as to why archers have a higher rate of diabetes?

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    • Shelby, great question. On top of what Megan has already said, we hypothesize that one reason Archer’s could have higher rates of diabetes could be related to what it takes to be successful in the sport. To be successful in archery all you need is to shoot accurately, so athletes with diabetes in this instance may not be as successful at sports like sprinting or biking or badminton but they can be successful at archery so they are drawn to the sport. I think this is one of the things that is appealing to archery as a sport is that from the outside it looks like a sedentary sport so older adults or individuals who do not want to do a ton of exercise could be more likely to pick this sport up and then unknowingly get in a lot of exercise from the walking to get their arrows, and the drawing back of their bow. Thank you for the question.

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  8. Shelby, having a small sample size of archers was one of our main limitations in our study. One thing that did also stick out to us was that they had lower rates of cardiovascular training, which could possibly be related to the diabetes rates. If we had a larger group of archers we would be able to get a better idea of their overall health to help aid in making more correlations.

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  9. Very cool study! It is puzzling that archers report strength training significantly more than non-archers, yet have no significant differences in the strength tests. Other than the small sample size, do you have any hypotheses for why this could be?

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    • Great question Shantel! We think our small population as well as strength being a gender specific measurement was the greatest contributor to the strength testing not showing significant differences. Even though there were not significant differences found the differences we did find were approaching significance, which we think would continue to increase if we had a larger population.

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  10. Great job on your research! I clearly must have underestimated the sport of archery. These athletes said they strength train more, on average, than the other athletes. I am guessing this could be because the weight and effort required to draw the bow. Were any of these archers involved in other sports on the games that could have potentially affected your results? Additionally, with all the walking that this sport requires, do you find it surprising that these athletes reported far less cardiovascular training than their peers?

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    • Great questions Katie! The archers recorded what other sports they were in on the health history questionnaire but we did not look closer as to what exactly the other sports the archers were competing in if any. Whether or not they were involved in other sports is something that could affect our results, which is why if we had a bigger sample population we would be able to create a more heterogenous population, such as archers who only compete in archery. To answer your question as to whether we found it surprising that these athletes report far less cardiovascular training, I would say not particularly. The athletes competing in archery may look at just training for their sport, they don’t necessarily count all the walking is cardiovascular training, it is just part of practicing their archery skills.

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  11. I noticed that the average age of your subject population was 65.79. I am wondering if that is typical of most sports at the NSGs? If not, do you think this was a contributor to any of your significant results?

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    • I am unaware of the typical average age of the participants each sport. It is possible that younger athletes may test better than older athletes but varies depending on each individuals overall fitness level. Due to this the average age could be a possible contributor but would be something that would be looked closer at in future research.

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  12. Hi. I enjoyed hearing about your research findings and reviewing them in this very nice looking poster. I have some comments and questions.

    First, I appreciate that you stated “no direct conclusions can be made from this study,” but rather, that the study merely “suggests”. I think this is a very honest and fair conclusion. Until you have a bigger sample of archers, it will be difficult to say anything with great certainty.

    Secondly, in the section, “Future Research,” you mention getting a bigger more heterogenous population of archers and and eliminating multi sport athletes. All of these would be good changes I think. Have you considered modifying the ‘non-archer’ athlete population? You stated, “archers demonstrate superior gait speed compared to other senior athletes.” It appears as if they are better than all other sports combined, but it might not be the case for some of the other sports individually. Perhaps, you could try to compare archery to other individual sports rather than to all sports. Then you might find another sport whose athletes have superior gait speed/balance? Take swimming for example. Swimming may not require as much gait speed or balance because they are submerged in water. These athletes might bring down the average of the other sports in the “non archer” group.

    Thank you for sharing your work!
    Scott Strand

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    • Scott,
      Thank you for the reply and for appreciating the wording in our conclusion. The answer your question about comparing to other individual sports is that this was already compared by our previous cohort and is one of the reasons we chose to look at archery in greater depth. When compared on a sport to sport basis the archers had the #1 fastest usual gait speed and the #2 fastest fast gait speed behind race walkers. There is only so much information we could fit on to one poster! Great question and I hope this answers your question.

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  13. Great poster guys! Like others, I found it interesting that the archers reported significantly more strength training compared to other athletes, but there wasn’t a significant difference in the strength findings. Other than having a small sample size, do you think it could also be possible the archers only did strength training on their upper body and this could have effected the results? Do you think there could be another test to measure each participants strength other than the methods used?

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    • Great question Chelsie! It is possible that the archers did upper body strength training. In future research asking more about the strength training they do would be beneficial so we are able to get a better picture. Other methods that could be utilized would be MMT or MMT with use of a dynamometer. However, these methods would require longer testing time and possible reduce participation, but would yield a more objective measurement.

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  14. I appreciate this interesting study! I typically forget that archery is a competitive sport. In the conclusion, you mentioned that the terrain when achieving arrows may be uneven and retrieval is completed in a quick manner which could correlate with higher balance and walking speeds scores. How far away is the target placed from the individual and what is the total amount of walking completed by the end of the competition? Is there a difference in distance between female and male competitors?

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    • Courtney,

      In competition targets are the same distance for both males and females, and distances are 40 yards, 50 yards, and 60 yards with 30 arrows shot at each normally in flights of 6 arrows at a time. Total distance walked is around 1 mile per contest. I hope that this answers your question. Thank you!

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  15. Nice job! I bet this was a fun group to interact with and investigate their health and wellness. One thing that I think I find challenging with this research is that SAs do participate in many sports or are just more active in their daily life than their community dwelling counterparts in general. How much of their better balance do you think came from walking with archery versus strength training? I know that I have found some articles addressing swimmers and their balance and some theories are that the DFs are stronger due to the nature of swimming and other articles say swimmers are healthier anyway so they usually do have better balance. I was just curious if you found similar findings with archery or if you had any theories as to how to look at balance objectively.

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    • Great question Kristen! We do think that a lot of their higher balance scores are due to all the walking they complete on uneven surfaces. However, depending on what strength training they do this could also contribute to their balance. In future research, finding out more about the strength training done and other sports they participate in would be beneficial so we are able to get a better picture of our athletes and make more correlations with our findings.

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  16. Great job on your research! Do you believe that the improved speed and quality of gait were influenced by their increased strength training?

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    • Haley, one of the limitations of observational research such as this was is that we cannot say what causes specific changes in our population. We do hypothesize like Megan already said that the amount of walking performed in a competition could be the reason for the increased gait speed and balance. It could be very possible that the increased strength levels and amount of strength training could also be attributing to the improved gait speed but at this time we can only hypothesize as to why the SA competing in Archery have faster gait speeds based on the type of study this is. Thank you for the great question!

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  17. Great question Haley! The higher levels of strength training completed by archers could be correlated to their gait speed. However, we think that a lot of their gait speed is correlated to how much they are walking and that in order to get more practice in they have to walk faster to get their arrows. In future research, asking more questions about their strength training to help get a better picture of our athletes would be beneficial so that we are able to make more correlations with out findings.

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