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Christopher M. Young, Paul B. Gastin, Nick Sanders, Luke Mackey and Dan B. Dwyer

Context:

The activity profile of competition and training in elite netball has not been comprehensively reported in the literature.

Purpose:

To measure and analyze player load in elite netballers during matches and training sessions. The primary research question was, How does player load vary between playing positions in a match and between matches and training sessions?

Methods:

Various measures of player load were recorded in 12 elite professional netballers with a mean ± SD age of 26 ± 4.9 y and height of 183.2 ± 8.7 cm. Player load was assessed using a published method that uses accelerometry. Load was represented as total load in arbitrary units (au), playing intensity (au/min), and relative time spent in each of 4 playing intensity zones (low, low to moderate, moderate, and high). Data from 15 games and up to 17 training sessions were analyzed for each player.

Results:

Player load in matches for the goal-based positions (goal shooter, goal keeper, and goal defense) tended to be lower than the attacking and wing-based positions (goal attack, wing attack, wing defense, and center). The difference was largely due to the amount of time spent in low-intensity activity. Playing intensity of matches was greater than in training sessions; however, the total time spent in moderate- to high-intensity activities was not practically different.

Conclusions:

Accelerometry is a valuable method of measuring player load in netball, and the present results provide new information about the activity profile of different playing positions.

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Jared A. Bailey, Paul B. Gastin, Luke Mackey and Dan B. Dwyer

Context:

Most previous investigations of player load in netball have used subjective methodologies, with few using objective methodologies. While all studies report differences in player activities or total load between playing positions, it is unclear how the differences in player activity explain differences in positional load.

Purpose:

To objectively quantify the load associated with typical activities for all positions in elite netball.

Methods:

The player load of all playing positions in an elite netball team was measured during matches using wearable accelerometers. Video recordings of the matches were also analyzed to record the start time and duration of 13 commonly reported netball activities. The load associated with each activity was determined by time-aligning both data sets (load and activity).

Results:

Off-ball guarding produced the highest player load per instance, while jogging produced the greatest player load per match. Nonlocomotor activities contributed least to total match load for attacking positions (goal shooter [GS], goal attack [GA], and wing attack [WA]) and most for defending positions (goalkeeper [GK], goal defense [GD], and wing defense [WD]). Specifically, centers (Cs) produced the greatest jogging load, WA and WD accumulated the greatest running load, and GS and WA accumulated the greatest shuffling load. WD and Cs accumulated the greatest guarding load, while WD and GK accumulated the greatest off-ball guarding load.

Conclusions:

All positions exhibited different contributions from locomotor and nonlocomotor activities toward total match load. In addition, the same activity can have different contributions toward total match load, depending on the position. This has implications for future design and implementation of position-specific training programs.