The main objective for the pilot study of 12 male padel players was to explore the effects of caffeine on Padel athletes.
“Padel is a growing racket sport in recent years, characterized by being intermittent with intensities similar to the requirements of tennis,” wrote the researchers, affiliated with the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil.
Padel, different from paddle tennis in the US and Canada, is typically played in doubles on an enclosed court a third the size of a tennis court. It is popular in Latin American countries as well as in Spain and Andorra, according to the sport’s Wikipedia page.
Despite the sport’s increased popularity, the sport’s relatively young age means sports nutrition studies specific to it is still sparse, the researchers argued.
“Caffeine is probably one of the most widely used ergogenic resources in the world, but the effects of its consumption on specific test performance in the paddle are not known,” they added.
Benefits most pronounced after fatigue
In the journal Revista Brasileira de Ciências do Esporte, the researchers reported that physiological variables such as heart rate, perceived exertion, and grip endurance (measured using a hydraulic hand dynamometer) was not significantly different between the caffeine and placebo groups.
However, during a precision test, the caffeine group had more accurate hits and less errors compared to the placebo group. Based on the researchers’ statistical analysis of the point difference between the placebo and caffeine groups’ accuracy, “there is a 94% chance that caffeine may have a positive effect, 5% have a trivial effect and 1% a negative effect,” they reported.
The precision test was conducted after intensive training sessions. Because of this, the researchers argued that caffeine’s ergogenic effect may be beneficial for padel players after fatigue.
“We suggest that [further] investigations be made to observe the effects of caffeine in a competitive environment in the paddle,” they added.
The randomized and single blinded study included 12 male padel players from the region Rio Grande do Sul. To be eligible, volunteer participants must have more than six months experience and regular practice in the field and be aged between 22 and 33 years old.
In a randomized manner, participants were given either caffeine or placebo capsules 30 minutes before the start of activities. Only the participants were not informed about which substance was ingested.
The dose used was 6 mg / kg body weight, administered as capsules with doses of 10 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg for caffeine or placebo starch.
After capsule intake, researchers collected heart rate and measured manual grip strength, followed by a 45-minute training session, which in turn is followed by another measurement of heart rate and grip strength. Then, participants conduct the precision test.
This whole process is repeated in another visit, so each participant goes through the protocol at least twice.
The researchers reported no conflict of interest and no notable funding sources.
Source: Revista Brasileira de Ciências do Esporte
Published online ahead of print, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbce.2018.07.002
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