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Sadjad Soltanzadeh and Mitchell Mooney

Although systems thinking has been recently introduced as a means to model team performance, the most central and practically valuable question of this modeling tool is yet to be clearly addressed: how can the coaching team go from the level of team performance to the level of individual performance in order to select and evaluate players? In other words, if performance is a holistic phenomenon, how can the performance of individual players be conceptualized in relation to the whole? We appeal to the concepts of ‘objective’ and ‘function’ to show how team performance is linked to, and based on, the performance of individuals. We first describe team performance in relation to a set of objectives that are aimed to be achieved at different levels. Then we define the concept of function and break down this concept into three types, namely, positional, tactical, and interpreted function. We draw conceptual connections between different types of function and different levels of objectives. These connections show how each type of function links individual performance with team performance and how a team can be engineered as a coherent whole. We finish the paper by discussing some practical implications for coaches.

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Sadjad Soltanzadeh and Mitchell Mooney

Systems thinking has been developed and used in many fields such as management, economics, and engineering in the past few decades. Although implicit elements of systems thinking may be found in some coaching biographies and autobiographies, a critical and explicit work on systems thinking that examines its principles and its relevance to sport sciences and coaching is yet to be developed. The aim of this Insight paper is to explore systems thinking and its potential for modelling and analysing team performance by (a) explaining how systems thinking is used in other fields, (b) highlighting the importance of conceptual analysis and critical thinking next to data collecting practices, and (c) contrasting systems thinking with the common approaches to modelling and analysing team performance.

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Mitchell Mooney, Stuart Cormack, Brendan O’Brien, and Aaron J Coutts

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to determine if Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 (Yo-Yo IR2) and the number of interchange rotations affected the match activity profile of elite Australian footballers.

Method:

Fifteen elite Australian footballers completed the Yo-Yo IR2 before the beginning of the season and played across 22 matches in which match activity profiles were measured via microtechnology devices containing a global positioning system (GPS) and accelerometer. An interchange rotation was counted when a player left the field and was replaced with another player. Yo-Yo IR2 results were further split into high and low groups.

Results:

Players match speed decreased from 1st to 4th quarter, while average-speed (m/min: P = .05) and low-speed activity (LSA, <15 km/h) per minute (LSA m/min; P = .06) significantly decreased in the 2nd half. Yo-Yo IR2 influenced the amount of m/min, high-speed running (HSR, >15 km/h) per minute (HSR m/min) and accelerometer load/min throughout the entire match. The number of interchanges significantly influenced the HSR m/min and m/min throughout the match except in the 2nd quarter. Furthermore, the low Yo-Yo IR2 group had significantly less LSA m/min in the 4th quarter than the high Yo-Yo IR2 group (92.2 vs 96.7 m/min, P = .06).

Conclusions:

Both the Yo-Yo IR2 and number of interchanges contribute to m/min and HSR m/min produced by elite Australian footballers, affecting their match activity. However, while it appears that improved Yo-Yo IR2 performance prevents reductions in LSA m/min during a match, higher-speed activities (HSR m/min) and overall physical activity (m/min and load/min) are still reduced in the 4th quarter compared with the 1st quarter.

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Stuart J. Cormack, Renee L. Smith, Mitchell M. Mooney, Warren B. Young, and Brendan J. O’Brien

Purpose:

To determine differences in load/min (AU) between standards of netball match play.

Methods:

Load/min (AU) representing accumulated accelerations measured by triaxial accelerometers was recorded during matches of 2 higher- and 2 lower-standard teams (N = 32 players). Differences in load/min (AU) were compared within and between standards for playing position and periods of play. Differences were considered meaningful if there was >75% likelihood of exceeding a small (0.2) effect size.

Results:

Mean (± SD) full-match load/min (AU) for the higher and lower standards were 9.96 ± 2.50 and 6.88 ± 1.88, respectively (100% likely lower). The higher standard had greater (mean 97% likely) load/min (AU) values in each position. The difference between 1st and 2nd halves’ load/min (AU) was unclear at the higher standard, while lower-grade centers had a lower (−7.7% ± 10.8%, 81% likely) load/min (AU) in the 2nd half and in all quarters compared with the 1st. There was little intrastandard variation in individual vector contributions to load/min (AU); however, higher-standard players accumulated a greater proportion of the total in the vertical plane (mean 93% likely).

Conclusions:

Higher-standard players produced greater load/min (AU) than their lower-standard counterparts in all positions. Playing standard influenced the pattern of load/min (AU) accumulation across a match, and individual vector analysis suggests that different-standard players have dissimilar movement characteristics. Load/min (AU) appears to be a useful method for assessing activity profile in netball.

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Stuart J. Cormack, Mitchell G. Mooney, Will Morgan, and Michael R. McGuigan

Purpose:

To determine the impact of neuromuscular fatigue (NMF) assessed from variables obtained during a countermovement jump on exercise intensity measured with triaxial accelerometers (load per minute [LPM]) and the association between LPM and measures of running activity in elite Australian Football.

Methods:

Seventeen elite Australian Football players performed the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 2 (Yo-Yo IR2) and provided a baseline measure of NMF (flight time:contraction time [FT:CT]) from a countermovement jump before the season. Weekly samples of FT:CT, coaches’ rating of performance (votes), LPM, and percent contribution of the 3 vectors from the accelerometers in addition to high-speed-running meters per minute at >15 km/h and total distance relative to playing time (m/min) from matches were collected. Samples were divided into fatigued and nonfatigued groups based on reductions in FT:CT. Percent contributions of vectors to LPM were assessed to determine the likelihood of a meaningful difference between fatigued and nonfatigued groups. Pearson correlations were calculated to determine relationships between accelerometer vectors and running variables, votes, and Yo-Yo IR2 score.

Results:

Fatigue reduced the contribution of the vertical vector by (mean ± 90% CI) –5.8% ± 6.1% (86% likely) and the number of practically important correlations.

Conclusions:

NMF affects the contribution of individual vectors to total LPM, with a likely tendency toward more running at low speed and less acceleration. Fatigue appears to limit the influence of the aerobic and anaerobic qualities assessed via the Yo-Yo IR2 test on LPM and seems implicated in pacing.