Methodological Considerations When Quantifying High-Intensity Efforts in Team Sport Using Global Positioning System Technology

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

Sprints and accelerations are popular performance indicators in applied sport. The methods used to define these efforts using athlete-tracking technology could affect the number of efforts reported. This study aimed to determine the influence of different techniques and settings for detecting high-intensity efforts using global positioning system (GPS) data.

Methods:

Velocity and acceleration data from a professional soccer match were recorded via 10-Hz GPS. Velocity data were filtered using either a median or an exponential filter. Acceleration data were derived from velocity data over a 0.2-s time interval (with and without an exponential filter applied) and a 0.3-second time interval. High-speed-running (≥4.17 m/s2), sprint (≥7.00 m/s2), and acceleration (≥2.78 m/s2) efforts were then identified using minimum-effort durations (0.1–0.9 s) to assess differences in the total number of efforts reported.

Results:

Different velocity-filtering methods resulted in small to moderate differences (effect size [ES] 0.28–1.09) in the number of high-speed-running and sprint efforts detected when minimum duration was <0.5 s and small to very large differences (ES –5.69 to 0.26) in the number of accelerations when minimum duration was <0.7 s. There was an exponential decline in the number of all efforts as minimum duration increased, regardless of filtering method, with the largest declines in acceleration efforts.

Conclusions:

Filtering techniques and minimum durations substantially affect the number of high-speed-running, sprint, and acceleration efforts detected with GPS. Changes to how high-intensity efforts are defined affect reported data. Therefore, consistency in data processing is advised.

Varley is with the Inst of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Jaspers and Helsen are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Leuven, Belgium. Malone is with the School of Health Sciences, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK.

Varley (matthew.varley@gmail.com) is corresponding author.