Repeated-Sprint Ability and Team Selection in Australian Football League Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Peter Le Rossignol
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Tim J. Gabbett
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Dan Comerford
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Warren R. Stanton
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Purpose:

To investigate the relationship between selected physical capacities and repeated-sprint performance of Australian Football League (AFL) players and to determine which physical capacities contributed to being selected for the first competition game.

Methods:

Sum of skinfolds, 40-m sprint (with 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-m splits), repeated-sprint ability (6 × 30-m sprints), and 3-km-run time were measured during the preseason in 20 AFL players. The physical qualities of players selected to play the first match of the season and those not selected were compared. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the relationship among variables, and a regression analysis identified variables significantly related to repeated-sprint performance.

Results:

In the regression analysis, maximum velocity was the best predictor of repeated-sprint time, with 3-km-run time also contributing significantly to the predictive model. Sum of skinfolds was significantly correlated with 10-m (r = .61, P < .01) and 30-m (r = .53, P < .05) sprint times. A 2.6% ± 2.1% difference in repeated-sprint time (P < .05, ES = 0.88 ± 0.72) was observed between those selected (25.26 ± 0.55 s) and not selected (25.82 ± 0.80 s) for the first game of the season.

Conclusions:

The findings indicate that maximum-velocity training using intervals of 30–40 m may contribute more to improving repeated-sprint performance in AFL players than short 10- to 20-m intervals from standing starts. Further research is warranted to establish the relative importance of endurance training for improving repeated-sprint performance in AFL football.

Le Rossignol and Gabbett are with the School of Exercise Science, and Stanton, the School of Physiotherapy, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia. Comerford is with the Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club, Brisbane, Australia.

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