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The Validity and Reliability of GPS Units for Measuring Distance in Team Sport Specific Running Patterns

Denise Jennings, Stuart Cormack, Aaron J. Coutts, Luke Boyd, and Robert J. Aughey

Purpose:

To assess the validity and reliability of distance data measured by global positioning system (GPS) units sampling at 1 and 5 Hz during movement patterns common to team sports.

Methods:

Twenty elite Australian Football players each wearing two GPS devices (MinimaxX, Catapult, Australia) completed straight line movements (10, 20, 40 m) at various speeds (walk, jog, stride, sprint), changes of direction (COD) courses of two different frequencies (gradual and tight), and a team sport running simulation circuit. Position and speed data were collected by the GPS devices at 1 and 5 Hz. Distance validity was assessed using the standard error of the estimate (±90% confidence intervals [CI]). Reliability was estimated using typical error (TE) ± 90% CI (expressed as coefficient of variation [CV]).

Results:

Measurement accuracy decreased as speed of locomotion increased in both straight line and the COD courses. Difference between criterion and GPS measured distance ranged from 9.0% to 32.4%. A higher sampling rate improved validity regardless of distance and locomotion in the straight line, COD and simulated running circuit trials. The reliability improved as distance traveled increased but decreased as speed increased. Total distance over the simulated running circuit exhibited the lowest variation (CV 3.6%) while sprinting over 10 m demonstrated the highest (CV 77.2% at 1 Hz).

Conclusion:

Current GPS systems maybe limited for assessment of short, high speed straight line running and efforts involving change of direction. An increased sample rate improves validity and reliability of GPS devices.

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Variability of GPS Units for Measuring Distance in Team Sport Movements

Denise Jennings, Stuart Cormack, Aaron J. Coutts, Luke J. Boyd, and Robert J. Aughey

Purpose:

To examine the difference in distance measured by two global positioning system (GPS) units of the same model worn by the same player while performing movements common to team sports.

Methods:

Twenty elite Australian football players completed two trials of the straight line movement (10, 20, 40 m) at four speeds (walk, jog, stride, sprint), two trials of the changes of direction (COD) courses of two different frequencies (gradual and tight), and five trials of a team sport running simulation circuit. To assess inter-unit variability for total and high intensity running (HIR) distance measured in matches, data from eight field players were collected in three Australian Hockey League (AHL) matches during the 2009 season. Each subject wore two GPS devices (MinimaxX v2.5, Catapult, Australia) that collected position data at 5 Hz for each movement and match trial. The percentage difference ±90% confidence interval (CI) was used to determine differences between units.

Results:

Differences (±90% CI) between the units ranged from 9.9 ± 4.7% to 11.9 ± 19.5% for straight line running movements and from 9.5 ± 7.2% to 10.7 ± 7.9% in the COD courses. Similar results were exhibited in the team sport circuit (11.1 ± 4.2%). Total distance (10.3 ± 6.2%) and HIR distance (10.3 ± 15.6) measured during the match play displayed similar variability.

Conclusion:

It is recommended that players wear the same GPS unit for each exercise session to reduce measurement error. The level of between-unit measurement error should be considered when comparing results from players wearing different GPS units.

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GPS Analysis of an International Field Hockey Tournament

Denise Jennings, Stuart J. Cormack, Aaron J. Coutts, and Robert J. Aughey

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of multiple games on exercise intensity during a world-class hockey tournament.

Methods:

15 players (mean ± SD age 27 ± 4 y, stature 179 ± 5 cm, body mass 77 ± 5 kg, and estimated VO2 64.2 ± 3.1 mL · kg−1 · min−1) competing in the Champions Trophy (CT). Global-positioning systems assessed total distance (TD), low-speed activity (LSA; 0.10–4.17 m/s), and high-speed running (HSR; >4.17 m/s) distance. Differences in movement demands (TD, LSA, HSR) between positions and matches were assessed using the effect size and percent difference ± 90% confidence intervals. Two levels of comparison were made. First, data from subsequent matches were compared with match 1, and, second, data from each match compared with a tournament average (TA).

Results:

In all matches, compared with game 1, midfielders performed less HSR distance. However, the amount of HSR did not decrease as the tournament progressed. When compared with the TA, defenders showed more variation in each match. All positions showed lower movement outputs when the team won by a large margin.

Conclusions:

It was possible for elite team-sport athletes to maintain exercise intensity when playing 6 matches in a period of 9 days, contrary to the only other investigation of this in elite male field hockey.

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Sweat Characteristics and Fluid Balance Responses During Two Heat Training Camps in Elite Female Field Hockey Players

Paul S.R. Goods, Bradley Wall, Brook Galna, Alannah K.A. McKay, Denise Jennings, Peter Peeling, and Greig Watson

We examined the sweat characteristics and fluid balance of elite female field hockey players during two heat training camps. Fourteen elite female field hockey players from the Australian national squad participated in two heat training camps held ∼6 months apart, following winter- (Camp 1) and summer-based training (Camp 2). Daily waking body mass (BM) and urine specific gravity (USG) were collected, along with several markers of sweat and fluid balance across two matches per camp. There was a 19% mean reduction in estimated whole-body sweat sodium concentration from Camp 1 (45.8 ± 6.5 mmol/L) to Camp 2 (37.0 ± 5.0 mmol/L; p < .001). Waking urine specific gravity ≥ 1.020 was observed in 31% of samples, with no significant differences in mean urine specific gravity or BM between camps (p > .05), but with substantial interindividual variation. Intramatch sweat rates were high (1.2–1.8 L/hr), with greater BM losses in Camp 1 (p = .030), resulting in fewer players losing ≥2% BM in Camp 2 (0%–8%), as compared with Camp 1 (36%–43%; p = .017). Our field data suggest that elite female field hockey players experience substantial sweat losses during competition in the heat regardless of the season. In agreement with previous findings, we observed substantial interindividual variation in sweat and hydration indices, supporting the use of individualized athlete hydration strategies.