The effect ofcaffeine on shooting performance: Positive or Negative?Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) is odorless and a bitteralkaloid which is found in tea, coffee, cola drinks,and chocolate (1, 4). See the Table 1 forcaffeine equivalents in common products (12). Table 1.
Estimated caffeine content in commonproducts (12). The amount of its metabolites level usually increases in theblood within 15–45 minutes after caffeine intake, and reaches to the peak levelafter an hour (1).Theabsorption of caffeine is slower when is consumed with a meal .But can beabsorbed faster by chewing caffeine-containing gum which allows for rapidabsorption through buccal tissue of the mouth. Caffeine is distributed to alltissues very fast and passes easily through the blood-brain barrier for extendingits effects.
The mean half-life of caffeine in the circulation is nearly 3–5 hour.It means that can be interacted with many tissues for a long time (12). InJanuary 2004, caffeine was one of several substances removed from theProhibited Substance List by the World Anti?DopingAgency, yet the supplement is still being closely monitored in doping tests.This strategy now permits the use of caffeine in sporting activities andcompetition for the specific purpose of performance enhancement (1, 2).
Low(40 mg or 0.5 mg /kg) to moderate (300 mg or 4 mg/ kg) doses of caffeineimprove alertness, attention and reaction time, but steady effects are less onmemory and higher-order executive function, such as judgment and decisionmaking. Low and moderate doses of caffeine have not been shown to altersignificantly sensory functions including vision or hearing (12).Effects onphysical performance including time-to-exhaustion, time-trial, muscle strengthand endurance, and high-intensity sprints typical of team sports are observedby dose of more than 200 mg (3 mg/ kg) (12).
See the Table 2 for caffeine doseassociated with cognitive and physical effects.Table2. Caffeine dose (mg/ kg body mass) associated with cognitive andphysical effects in both rested and sleep deprived individuals (12). Somestudies demonstrate that caffeine supplementation improves power, speed,agility, attention, and reaction time in some sports. Now, caffeine is widelyused in various sports as an ergogenic aid. Unfortunately, there are limitedpublished studies on caffeine effects in precision activities such as shooting.
Whatquantity of intentional ingestion of caffeinated products such as cola, coffee,red bull and caffeine tablets may be classified as safe and appropriate for theshooting sport? The results of one study on professional shooters showedthat taking 5 mg/kg of caffeine caused a significant increase in blood pressure,a significant increase in heart rate but a significant decrease in shooting performance.Moreover, taking 3 mg/kg of caffeine caused a significant increase in blood pressure.But this amount of caffeine had no significant effect on the heart rate andshooting performance. Decreased shooting performance maybe due to palpitation,agitation and tremors in body of shooter. The shooter loses his / herconcentration and steady shooting position’s. So, he/she likely fires apendulum shot that increases the shooting error (1).
In addition, caffeine caneffect on the nervous system and body temperature as effector factors .Studieson military soldiers showed that caffeine can improve their shooting performances’under conditions of sleep deprivation. But during conventionalconditions, a low dose of caffeine had no effect onshooting performance and a medium dose of caffeine could be worsen shootingperformance (1, 7). The findings of other study showed that caffeineprovides no ergogenic benefit with respect to reaction time, target trackingtimes and, importantly, performance scores in the Olympic Double Trap. Thetreatment groups ingested 2 mg caffeine / kg of body weight and 4 mg caffeine /kg of body weight (2).
Consumption of 300 mg caffeine provided no performancebenefit to shooting accuracy and reaction time in traditional archery recurvebow discipline (8).Youcan see the results of one study on caffeine effects on Malaysian shootersperformances’ in below. Shooters ingested Nescafe classic coffee as caffeineand Nescafe decaffeinated coffee as placebo (10).Figure 2: Comparison Scores between TreatmentsFigure 3: Comparison Scores between Rounds (1 round=10 shots) (10) Caffeinemay help in increasing mental concentration and reducing perception oftiredness but it didn’t show any effect in this study (10). Side-effectsof caffeine supplementations Thecaffeine supplementation side-effects questionnaire in shooters revealed thatcommonly associated side-effects, such as headache, anxiety, and tremor.
Caffeine administration can induce arm and hand tremor and interfere withshooting performance. Arm trembling was reported after a single cup of coffeeor caffeine administration of 300–600 mg of caffeine. And also, 300 mg of caffeinecaused a marked increase in body sway 40 min after caffeine ingestion comparedwith a placebo trial (3). Figure1: Physiological effects of caffeine (9).
Whencaffeine ingested in excessive amounts for extended periods, caffeine producesa specific toxicity (caffeinism), which consists primarily of the following:· Central nervoussystem features : Headache, lightheadedness, anxiety, agitation, tremulousness,perioral and extremity tingling, confusion, psychosis, seizures · Cardiovascularfeatures : Palpitations or racing heart rate, chest pain· Gastrointestinalfeatures: Nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bowel incontinence,anorexia (4).Clinicianagree that not increase a health risk with consumption of up to 400 mg (?5.5 mg/ kg for a 75 kg individual) of caffeine doses per day byhealthy adults (12). RecommendationsItis recommended that shooters investigate other avenues of their athletic performancefor an enhancement before considering the use of caffeine products as a supplementation.However, if you are contemplating using caffeine products during shootingtraining, please request medical supervision to ensure the levels ofconsumption are safe and appropriate. Some athletes’ experience a perceived orpsychological benefit from the ingestion of caffeine.
This means someindividuals are ‘caffeine responders’, while others are ‘no responders’ withcaffeine consumption. For both groups, our advice is again to seek a medicalconsult before use (2).