Physical Mental Sport

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Introduction To succeed in a given sport at any level of competition, athletes must possess specific physiologic, psychologic, and biomechanic traits critical to success in that sport, but they must also receive optimal physical, mental, and biomechanical training to maximise this genetic potential (Williams, Kreider & Branch, 1999). However many athletes believe that the combination of genetic traits and optimal training alone are not sufficient to achieve maximum performance, therefore the use of ergogenic aids has become common to improve sports performance beyond the effect of training (Sundgot-Borgen, Berglund & Torstveit, 2003). The use of ergogenic aids will allow athletes to gain that competitive advantage over opponents therefore leading to potential success.

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According to Williams, Kreider & Branch, (1999) ergogenic aids are substances or treatments that are theoretically designed to enhance physical power, mental strength or mechanical edge therefore potentially improving athletic performance. Given the various demands of team sports such as Soccer, Rugby and Hockey, which require short intermittent bouts of high intensity exercise which are interspersed by low level exercise , it seems feasible the use of ergogenic aids in such sports may enhance and benefit performance to gain that competitive edge over opponents. One ergogenic aid which has become popular among amateur, professional and recreational athletes over recent years is Creatine Monohydrate (Cr). Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative which is found in skeletal muscle, but is also a normal dietary constituent with a daily requirement of approximately 2 to 3 grams depending on body size (Ostojic, 2001). The majority of creatine in muscles is stored in the form of phosphocreatine (PCr) which serves as an important contributor to energy metabolism during high intensity exercise (Williams, Kreider & Branch, 1999). PCr provides the high energy phosphate for adenine diphosphate (ADP) to restore adenine triphosphate (ATP) concentration rapidly via the Cr kinase (CK) reaction (Clarkson, 1996). Hultman, Bergstrom and McLennan-Anderson, (1967) demonstrated that depletion of PCr stores within the muscles can lead to a decline in athletic performance during high intensity exercise, so theoretically increasing PCr stores through Cr supplementation would enhance the ability to maintain high intensity exercise over a prolonged period of time, leading to increases in sporting performance. Ahmun (2005) and Hultman, Soderlund, Timmons, Cederblad, & Greenhaff, (1996) demonstrated that the average Cr concentration in human muscle can be increased through Cr supplementation over a 7 day period from 20% pre Cr to 50% post Cr. Since PCr is a substrate for the ATP-PCr energy system which is essential for high intensity exercise of 30 seconds or less it seems logical that the supplementation of Cr would be beneficial to exercise tasks of this duration. Therefore the majority of previous research has focused on bouts of anaerobic performance of <30 seconds. To date the effect of Cr supplementation on athletic performance has been widely researched.

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