Salivary hormone concentrations and technical-tactical performance indicators in beach volleyball: preliminary evidence

Yago P. Costa*, Jarbas Domingos-Gomes, Franziska Lautenbach, Lawrence D. Hayes, Fábio Y. Nakamura, Jefferson Lima, Lúcio Castellano, Gilmário R. Batista

*Corresponding author for this work

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The present study aimed to investigate (i) differences in salivary testosterone and cortisol concentrations before, during, and after simulated beach volleyball match, depending on match outcome (winning vs. losing); (ii) the relationship between technical-tactical performance indicators in beach volleyball and salivary hormonal concentrations (i.e., testosterone, cortisol). We hypothesized (i) salivary testosterone concentrations would be greater in winners and salivary cortisol would be lower; (ii) testosterone would associate with positive technical-tactical performance and cortisol would associate with negative technical-tactical performance. Sixteen athletes participated in the study and were grouped according to the result of a simulated game (winners: n = 8; losers: n = 8). Salivary hormone concentration of testosterone and cortisol were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (pre-match, post first set, and post-match), and the coefficient of performance and efficiency were used as technical-tactical performance indicators. Regarding testosterone, there was a large effect size for match outcome after the first set (i.e. Winner vs. Losers) and a moderate effect size for the time in winners (pre-match vs. post-match). Regarding cortisol, there was a moderate effect size of time in losers only (pre-match vs. post-match). Moreover, cortisol pre-match was negatively correlated with the offensive performance (attack performance coefficient: r= -0.541; p= 0.030; attack efficiency: r= -0.568; p= 0.022). In conclusion, the effect of match outcome on testosterone and cortisol levels was moderate in winners and losers, respectively. Moreover, resting cortisol concentration appears to be related to a diminished attack technical-tactical performance. However, larger confirmatory studies are required to confirm these data to corroborate winning increases testosterone levels and/or reduces cortisol in a sporting setting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number830185
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Sports and Active Living
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2022


  • exercise physiology
  • exercise psychology
  • young athletes
  • match analysis
  • winner effect


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