To investigate the speed profiles of individual training modes in comparison with wheelchair rugby (WCR) competition across player classifications.
Speed profiles of 15 international WCR players were determined using a radio-frequency-based indoor tracking system. Mean and peak speed (m/s), work:rest ratios, and the relative time spent in (%) and number of high-speed activities performed were measured across training sessions (n = 464) and international competition (n = 34). Training was classified into 1 of 4 modes: conditioning (n = 71), skill-based (n = 133), game-related (n = 151), and game-simulation drills (n = 109). Game-simulation drills were further categorized by the structured duration, which were 3-min game clock (n = 44), 8-min game clock (n = 39), and 10-min running clock (n = 26). Players were grouped by their International Wheelchair Rugby Federation classification as either low-point (≤1.5; n = 8) or high-point players (≥2.0; n = 7).
Conditioning drills were shown to exceed the demands of competition, irrespective of classification (P ≤ .005; effect size [ES] = 0.6–2.0). Skill-based and game-related drills underrepresented the speed profiles of competition (P ≤ .005; ES = 0.5–1.1). Mean speed and work:rest ratios were significantly lower during 3- and 8-min game-simulation drills in relation to competition (P ≤ .039; ES = 0.5–0.7). However, no significant differences were identified between the 10-min running clock and competition.
Although game-simulation drills provided the closest representation of competition, the structured duration appeared important since the 10-min running clock increased training specificity. Coaches can therefore modify the desired training response by making subtle changes to the format of game-simulation drills.