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21 sep 2006

Health related habits of tennis coaches

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Sports in general, as well as other professions that are in close relation with sport are usually presumed to be in connection with life quality specially regarding health. Most of the laics would conclude that people involved professionally in sport lead a healthy way of life, take care about their…

Autor(es): BOJAN MATKOVI?, LANA RUŽI? & BRANKA R. MATKOVI?
Entidades(es): UNIVERSITY OF ZAGREB, CROATIA
Congreso: IV Congreso Mundial de Ciencia y Deportes de Raqueta
Madrid-21-23 de Septiembre de 2006
ISBN: 84-611-2727-7
Palabras claves: tennis, coaching, health

Resumen habits of tennis coaches

Sports in general, as well as other professions that are in close relation with sport are usually presumed to be in connection with life quality specially regarding health. Most of the laics would conclude that people involved professionally in sport lead a healthy way of life, take care about their dietary habits and avoid most of the habits that would endanger the health. Sports coaches would be a typical example of a professional who should be well aware of the basis of healthy living. Though, this has never been scientifically proved and there is a great lack of published papers dealing with this issue. World health organisation has already established the main factors influencing health those being socio-economic factors, way of life and physical environment (21). The risk factors in relation with the way of life are nutrition, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol consumption and use of drugs. Coaching is definitely a profession that has a high amount of stress involved. The main purpose of sport coaches is to teach the athletes the basic and advanced skills and knowledge that is needed to compete in sports competitions. Coaches lead the team through training which principal goal is improvement of physical fitness, sports technique and skills, knowledge about the sport and tactical assignments in order to improve the performance during competition. Apart from that the coaches are responsible for team spirit, selection process, leadership of the player or team during the competition and many times they are involved in solving the problems that are not always related to sport. All that leads to the extreme working hours, irregular schedule, many hours of evening work and of course many weekends spent working, often much more than regular 40 hours a week. Despite that, the coaches often do not have a permanent employment and even when they work under contract it is not rare for a coach not to get the benefits that were in the contract. Good results are a must and poor results often lead to loss of the employment. Taking that in the account we must presume that coaching is definitely a profession that has a high amount of stress involved and that surely has an impact on health. Though these are well known facts, this profession have never been of major interest of the scientist working in the field of occupational medicine. Sometimes the only information related to the health of the coaches is the notice in a sports magazine announcing the death of a coach caused by myocardial infarction or similar, and usually everybody assumes that as the profession of a coach is related to sport that they also lead a healthy life, full of physical activity with no unhealthy habits. The aim of this research is to determine the health related habits of tennis coaches regarding nutrition, smoking and alcohol consumption.

1. Introduction

Sports in general, as well as other professions that are in close relation with sport are usually presumed to be in connection with life quality specially regarding health. Most of the laics would conclude that people involved professionally in sport lead a healthy way of life, take care about their dietary habits and avoid most of the habits that would endanger the health. Sports coaches would be a typical example of a professional who should be well aware of the basis of healthy living. Though, this has never been scientifically proved and there is a great lack of published papers dealing with this issue. World health organisation has already established the main factors influencing health those being socio-economic factors, way of life and physical environment (21). The risk factors in relation with the way of life are nutrition, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol consumption and use of drugs. Coaching is definitely a profession that has a high amount of stress involved. The main purpose of sport coaches is to teach the athletes the basic and advanced skills and knowledge that is needed to compete in sports competitions. Coaches lead the team through training which principal goal is improvement of physical fitness, sports technique and skills, knowledge about the sport and tactical assignments in order to improve the performance during competition. Apart from that the coaches are responsible for team spirit, selection process, leadership of the player or team during the competition and many times they are involved in solving the problems that are not always related to sport. All that leads to the extreme working hours, irregular schedule, many hours of evening work and of course many weekends spent working, often much more than regular 40 hours a week. Despite that, the coaches often do not have a permanent employment and even when they work under contract it is not rare for a coach not to get the benefits that were in the contract. Good results are a must and poor results often lead to loss of the employment. Taking that in the account we must presume that coaching is definitely a profession that has a high amount of stress involved and that surely has an impact on health. Though these are well known facts, this profession have never been of major interest of the scientist working in the field of occupational medicine. Sometimes the only information related to the health of the coaches is the notice in a sports magazine announcing the death of a coach caused by myocardial infarction or similar, and usually everybody assumes that as the profession of a coach is related to sport that they also lead a healthy life, full of physical activity with no unhealthy habits. The aim of this research is to determine the health related habits of tennis coaches regarding nutrition, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Methods

The sample comprises 49 male tennis coaches from Croatia. For dietary habits, alcohol consumption and smoking habits determination, the new questionnaire was constructed based on previous national and international studies (11,14). The questionnaires were completed anonymously on voluntary basis. Smoking habits were detected with simple questions with Yes or No answers, the number and type of cigarette was determined. Questions about alcohol consumption were connected with the type of drink, daily amounts, heavy drinking and drinking in front of athletes. Dietary habits of the subjects were determined by items regarding the number of meals per day, skipping the meals, intake of particular food subgroups based on the food pyramid, liquid intake and vitamin and mineral supplements intake, specially those used usually in sports. The obtained data were analysed by standard statistical procedures, with statistical software package STATISTICA for Windows.

Results and discussion

Results are presented in tables. Table 1 deals with alcohol consumption of tennis coaches, Table 2 with smoking habits and Table 3 with dietary habits.

Table 1. Alcohol consumption of tennis coaches.

Table 1. Alcohol consumption of tennis coaches

61.2% of coaches are consuming alcohol, mostly beer and wine. It is well established that large amounts of alcohol have detrimental effect on health influencing the most of organs (8). The scientific investigations established J-shaped relationship between the alcohol use and health with the lowest mortality and morbidity risk occurring among light and moderate drinkers (7). Light-moderate drinking is defined as no more than two drinks per day for healthy men (20). Lighter drinking carries lower total mortality risk largely because of lower coronary disease risk. The investigators connect this findings with antioxidant and antithrombotic substances present in wine, mostly in red wine, which are potentially beneficial against atherothrombotic disease and cancer 4,12). Due to Klatsky and his coworkers (9) upon the prospective study of over 12.000 Californian, light-moderate wine drinking is associated with the lowest risk for all- IV Congreso Mundial de Ciencia y Deportes de Raqueta cause and coronary disease mortality. They also reported that light-moderate beer and spirits drinkers had also lower mortality risk relative to lifetime abstainers. The results of our study indicate that all 61% of coaches are light-moderate drinkers and most of them are drinking one to two glasses of wine with their main meals. It seems that coaches are not engaged in occasional heavy drinking and, the most important thing, they are not used to drink in front of their athletes. So we can say that the light-moderate habit of wine or beer drinking actually have beneficial long-term health effects for tennis coaches. Smoking is unfortunately widely accepted and though the campaign against smoking is going on in Croatia, as in many countries worldwide, the real results are still not apparent, and the number of deaths caused by trachea, bronchial and lung cancer is still very high (15,17,18). Concerning the smoking habits it was found that 27.3% of the tennis coaches are smokers. This is under the estimated average ratio in Croatian population which is in male population 34.1% (data from Croatian Ministry of health – School of public Health “Andrija Štampar” – www.snz.hr (25)). The good thing in this finding is that most of the smokers are smoking between 5 and 10 cigarettes per day. Interesting there are no pipe or cigar smokers. Among the nonsmokers there are also those who were smoking before. The investigation carried out by The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs showed that about 70% of young people at the age of 15 tryed smoking.

Table 2. Smoking habits of tennis coaches.

Table 2. Smoking habits of tennis coaches

The dietary habits questionnaire consisted of 18 questions (14). These questions included food intake, dieting, skipping the meals, consumption of different beverages, and vitamin and mineral supplementation. Answers ranged from always (4) to never (1) and the possible range for scores was from 18 to 72. Coaches had 48.6 points on the average. According to the obtained results it is obvious that dietary habits of the coaches are not on adequate level. Especially there is a problem in skipping the meals and eating fast food. Probably this is in connection with their busy schedule due to close follow up of tennis players, mostly of the time not only one player. Coaches are rarely dieting and they do not seek for much nutrition information nor are recording what they eat. The lack of interest for the recent findings in the area of nutrition, not only sport nutrition, can be devastating for coaches because today there are scientific proofs that the adequate dietary habits influence in a large extent to a person’s health, taking apart that coaches are most of the time educators for their players and this lack can affect players’ performance. Tennis coaches are part of the population that has its own specificities and because of their connection to athletes, especially young ones, they way of life deserves to be researched. As sports have a very important role in many nations worldwide, and even though for that athletes take the most of the credits, the coaches are of great importance also, so their education in all fields would surely contribute to improvement of an athlete´s performance.

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