The Influence of Rotations on Match Running Performance in Female Australian Football Midfielders

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: With female Australian football (AF) gaining popularity, understanding match demands is becoming increasingly important. The aim of this study was to compare running performances of rotated and whole-quarter state-level female AF players during match quarters. Methods: Twenty-two state-level female AF midfielders wore Global Positioning System units during 14 games to evaluate activity profiles. The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) was used as a measure of high-intensity running ability. Data were categorized into whole quarter, rotation bout 1, and rotation bout 2 before being further divided into quartiles. Players were separated into high- or low-Yo-Yo IR1 groups using a median split based on their Yo-Yo IR1 performance. Short (4–6 min), moderate (6–12 min), and long (12–18 min) on-field bout activity profiles were compared with whole-quarter players. Results: High Yo-Yo IR1 performance allowed players to cover greater relative distances (ES = 0.57–0.88) and high-speed distances (ES = 0.57–0.86) during rotations. No differences were reported between Yo-Yo IR1 groups when players were required to play whole quarters (ES ≤ 0.26, likelihood ≤64%). Players who were on field for short to moderate durations exhibited greater activity profiles than whole-quarter players. Conclusions: Superior high-speed running ability results in a greater activity profile than for players who possess lower high-speed running ability. The findings also highlight the importance of short to moderate (4–12 min) rotation periods and may be used to increase high-intensity running performance within quarters in female AF players.

Black, Johnston, and Cole are with the School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Gabbett is with Gabbett Performance Solutions, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, and the Inst for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia. Naughton is with the School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Dawson is with the University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia.

Black (georgia.black@acu.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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