Workload Differences Between Training Drills and Competition in Elite Netball

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To examine potential differences in internal and external workload variables between playing positions and between training drills and games within an elite netball team during training and competition. Methods: Nine elite female netballers were monitored during 15 games and all training sessions over 28 weeks. Workload variables assessed were relative PlayerLoad (PL per minute), accelerations, decelerations, jumps, changes of direction, high-intensity events, medium-intensity events, low-intensity events, PL in a forward direction, PL in a sideways direction, PL in a vertical direction, and summated heart-rate zones using heart-rate monitors and inertial measurement units. Results: Conditioning and match play during training were the only drills that matched or exceeded game workloads. Workloads during small-sided games were lower than game workloads for all variables. In games, goalkeeper, goal attack, and goal shooter had a greater frequency of jumps compared with other positions. Midcourt positions had a greater frequency of low-intensity events in a game. Conclusions: Workloads during small-sided games were lower than game workloads across all external and internal variables; therefore, netball staff should modify these small-sided games if they wish them to develop game-based qualities. Specific game workload variables indicate that there are differences within some positional groups; coaches need to be aware that positional groupings may fail to account for differences in workload between individual playing positions.

Simpson and Jenkins are with the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Simpson is also with the Queensland Firebirds, Netball Queensland, Australia. Kelly is with the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Jenkins is also with the School of Health and Sport Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia.

Simpson (marnisimpson93@gmail.com) is corresponding author.

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