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  • Author: Jonathon J.S. Weakley x
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Harry G. Banyard, James J. Tufano, Jonathon J.S. Weakley, Sam Wu, Ivan Jukic and Kazunori Nosaka

Purpose: To compare the effects of velocity-based training (VBT) and 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) percentage-based training (PBT) on changes in strength, loaded countermovement jump (CMJ), and sprint performance. Methods: A total of 24 resistance-trained males performed 6 weeks of full-depth free-weight back squats 3 times per week in a daily undulating format, with groups matched for sets and repetitions. The PBT group lifted with fixed relative loads varying from 59% to 85% of preintervention 1RM. The VBT group aimed for a sessional target velocity that was prescribed from pretraining individualized load–velocity profiles. Thus, real-time velocity feedback dictated the VBT set-by-set training load adjustments. Pretraining and posttraining assessments included the 1RM, peak velocity for CMJ at 30%1RM (PV-CMJ), 20-m sprint (including 5 and 10 m), and 505 change-of-direction test (COD). Results: The VBT group maintained faster (effect size [ES] = 1.25) training repetitions with less perceived difficulty (ES = 0.72) compared with the PBT group. The VBT group had likely to very likely improvements in the COD (ES = −1.20 to −1.27), 5-m sprint (ES = −1.17), 10-m sprint (ES = −0.93), 1RM (ES = 0.89), and PV-CMJ (ES = 0.79). The PBT group had almost certain improvements in the 1RM (ES = 1.41) and possibly beneficial improvements in the COD (ES = −0.86). Very likely favorable between-groups effects were observed for VBT compared to PBT in the PV-CMJ (ES = 1.81), 5-m sprint (ES = 1.35), and 20-m sprint (ES = 1.27); likely favorable between-groups effects were observed in the 10-m sprint (ES = 1.24) and nondominant-leg COD (ES = 0.96), whereas the dominant-leg COD (ES = 0.67) was possibly favorable. PBT had small (ES = 0.57), but unclear differences for 1RM improvement compared to VBT. Conclusions: Both training methods improved 1RM and COD times, but PBT may be slightly favorable for stronger individuals focusing on maximal strength, whereas VBT was more beneficial for PV-CMJ, sprint, and COD improvements.

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Dale B. Read, Ben Jones, Sean Williams, Padraic J. Phibbs, Josh D. Darrall-Jones, Greg A.B. Roe, Jonathon J.S. Weakley, Andrew Rock and Kevin Till

Purpose: To quantify the frequencies and timings of rugby union match-play phases (ie, attacking, defending, ball in play [BIP], and ball out of play [BOP]) and then compare the physical characteristics of attacking, defending, and BOP between forwards and backs. Methods: Data were analyzed from 59 male rugby union academy players (259 observations). Each player wore a microtechnology device (OptimEye S5; Catapult, Melbourne, Australia) with video footage analyzed for phase timings and frequencies. Dependent variables were analyzed using a linear mixed-effects model and assessed with magnitude-based inferences and Cohen d effect sizes (ES). Results: Attack, defense, BIP, and BOP times were 12.7 (3.1), 14.7 (2.5), 27.4 (2.9), and 47.4 (4.1) min, respectively. Mean attack (26 [17] s), defense (26 [18] s), and BIP (33 [24] s) phases were shorter than BOP phases (59 [33] s). The relative distance in attacking phases was similar (112.2 [48.4] vs 114.6 [52.3] m·min−1, ES = 0.00 ± 0.23) between forwards and backs but greater in forwards (114.5 [52.7] vs 109.0 [54.8] m·min−1, ES = 0.32 ± 0.23) during defense and greater in backs during BOP (ES = −0.66 ± 0.23). Conclusions: Total time in attack, defense, and therefore BIP was less than BOP. Relative distance was greater in forwards during defense, whereas it was greater in backs during BOP and similar between positions during attack. Players should be exposed to training intensities from in-play phases (ie, attack and defense) rather than whole-match data and practice technical skills during these intensities.

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Jonathon J.S. Weakley, Dale B. Read, Hugh H.K. Fullagar, Carlos Ramirez-Lopez, Ben Jones, Cloe Cummins and John A. Sampson

Purpose: To investigate whether providing global positioning system feedback to players between bouts of small-sided games (SSGs) can alter locomotor, physiological, and perceptual responses. Methods: Using a reverse counterbalanced design, 20 male university rugby players received either feedback or no feedback during “off-side” touch rugby SSGs. Eight 5v5, 6 × 4-minute SSGs were played over 4 d. Teams were assigned to a feedback or no-feedback condition (control) each day, with feedback provided during the 2-min between-bouts rest interval. Locomotor, heart rate, and differential rating of perceived exertion of breathlessness and leg-muscle exertion were measured and analyzed using a linear mixed model. Outcomes were reported using effect sizes (ES) and 90% confidence intervals (CI), and then interpreted via magnitude-based decisions. Results: Very likely trivial to unclear differences at all time points were observed in heart rate and differential rating of perceived exertion measures. Possibly to very likely trivial effects were observed between conditions, including total distance (ES = 0.15; 90 CI, −0.03 to 0.34), high-speed distance (ES = −0.07; 90 CI, −0.27 to 0.13), and maximal sprint speed (ES = 0.11; 90% CI, −0.11 to 0.34). All within-bout comparisons showed very likely to unclear differences, apart from possible increases in low-speed distance in bout 2 (ES = 0.23; 90% CI, 0.01 to 0.46) and maximal sprint speed in bout 4 (ES = 0.21; 90% CI, −0.04 to 0.45). Conclusions: In this study, verbal feedback did not alter locomotor, physiological, or perceptual responses in rugby players during SSGs. This may be due to contextual factors (eg, opposition) or the type (ie, distance) or low frequency of feedback provided.