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Jace A. Delaney, Heidi R. Thornton, John F. Pryor, Andrew M. Stewart, Ben J. Dascombe and Grant M. Duthie

Purpose:

To quantify the duration and position-specific peak running intensities of international rugby union for the prescription and monitoring of specific training methodologies.

Methods:

Global positioning systems (GPS) were used to assess the activity profile of 67 elite-level rugby union players from 2 nations across 33 international matches. A moving-average approach was used to identify the peak relative distance (m/min), average acceleration/deceleration (AveAcc; m/s2), and average metabolic power (Pmet) for a range of durations (1–10 min). Differences between positions and durations were described using a magnitude-based network.

Results:

Peak running intensity increased as the length of the moving average decreased. There were likely small to moderate increases in relative distance and AveAcc for outside backs, halfbacks, and loose forwards compared with the tight 5 group across all moving-average durations (effect size [ES] = 0.27–1.00). Pmet demands were at least likely greater for outside backs and halfbacks than for the tight 5 (ES = 0.86–0.99). Halfbacks demonstrated the greatest relative distance and Pmet outputs but were similar to outside backs and loose forwards in AveAcc demands.

Conclusions:

The current study has presented a framework to describe the peak running intensities achieved during international rugby competition by position, which are considerably higher than previously reported whole-period averages. These data provide further knowledge of the peak activity profiles of international rugby competition, and this information can be used to assist coaches and practitioners in adequately preparing athletes for the most demanding periods of play.

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Jason D. Vescovi

The aim of this study was to examine the impact of maximum sprint speed on peak and mean sprint speed during youth female field hockey matches. Two high-level female field hockey teams (U-17, n = 24, and U-21, n = 20) were monitored during a 4-game international test series using global position system technology and tested for maximum sprint speed. Dependent variables were compared using a 3-factor ANOVA (age group, position, and speed classification); effect sizes (Cohen d) and confidence limits were also calculated. Maximum sprint speed was similar between age groups and positions, with faster players having greater speed than slower players (29.3 ± 0.4 vs 27.2 ± 1.1 km/h). Overall, peak match speed in youth female field hockey players reaches approximately 90% of maximum sprint speed. Absolute peak match speed and mean sprint speed during matches were similar among the age groups (except match 1) and positions (except match 2); however, peak match speed was greater for faster players in matches 3 and 4. No differences were observed in the relative proportion for mean sprint speeds for age groups or positions, but slower players consistently displayed similar relative mean sprint speeds by using a greater proportion of their maximum sprint speed.

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Darren Burgess, Geraldine Naughton and Kevin Norton

Purpose:

The understanding of the gap between Under 18 y (U18) and senior-level competition and the evolution of this gap in Australian Football lack a strong evidence base. Despite the multimillion dollars invested in recruitment, scientific research on successful transition is limited. No studies have compared individual players’ movement rate, game statistics and ball speed in U18 and senior competition of the Australian Football League across time. This project compared differences in player movement and ball speed between matches from senior AFL competitive matches and U18 players in the 2003 and 2009 seasons.

Methods:

TrakPerformance Software and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology were used to analyze the movement of players, ball speed and game statistics. ANOVA compared the two levels of competition over time.

Results:

Observed interactions for distance traveled per minute of play (P = .009), number of sprints per minute of play (P < .001), time spent at sprint speed in the game (P < .001), time on field (P < .001), and ball speed (P < .001) were found. Subsequent analysis identified increases in movement patterns in senior AFL competition in 2009 compared with the same level of competition in 2003 and U18 players in 2003 and 2009.

Conclusions:

Senior AFL players in 2009 were moving further, sprinting relatively more frequently, playing less time and playing at game speeds significantly greater than the same senior competition in 2003 as well as compared with both cohorts of U18 players.

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Dac Minh Tuan Nguyen, Virgile Lecoultre, Yoshiyuki Sunami and Yves Schutz

Background:

Physical activity (PA) and related energy expenditure (EE) is often assessed by means of a single technique. Because of inherent limitations, single techniques may not allow for an accurate assessment both PA and related EE. The aim of this study was to develop a model to accurately assess common PA types and durations and thus EE in free-living conditions, combining data from global positioning system (GPS) and 2 accelerometers.

Methods:

Forty-one volunteers participated in the study. First, a model was developed and adjusted to measured EE with a first group of subjects (Protocol I, n = 12) who performed 6 structured and supervised PA. Then, the model was validated over 2 experimental phases with 2 groups (n = 12 and n = 17) performing scheduled (Protocol I) and spontaneous common activities in real-life condition (Protocol II). Predicted EE was compared with actual EE as measured by portable indirect calorimetry.

Results:

In protocol I, performed PA types could be recognized with little error. The duration of each PA type could be predicted with an accuracy below 1 minute. Measured and predicted EE were strongly associated (r = .97, P < .001).

Conclusion:

Combining GPS and 2 accelerometers allows for an accurate assessment of PA and EE in free-living situations.

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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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Carl Petersen, David B. Pyne, Marc R. Portus, Stuart Karppinen and Brian Dawson

Purpose:

The time-motion characteristics and the within-athlete variability in movement patterns were quantified for the same male fast bowler playing One Day International (ODI) cricket matches (n = 12).

Methods:

A number of different time motion characteristics were monitored using a portable 5-Hz global positioning system (GPS) unit (Catapult, Melbourne, Australia).

Results:

The bowler’s mean workload per ODI was 8 ± 2 overs (mean ± SD). He covered a total distance of 15.9 ± 2.5 km per game; 12 ± 3% or 1.9 ± 0.2 km was striding (0.8 ± 0.2 km) or sprinting (1.1 ± 0.2 km), whereas 10.9 ± 2.1 km was spent walking. One high-intensity (running, striding, or sprinting) repetition (HIR) occurred every 68 ± 12 s, and the average duration of a HI effort was 2.7 ± 0.1 s. The player also completed 66 ± 11 sprints per game; mean sprint distance was 18 ± 3 m and maximum sprinting speed 8.3 ± 0.9 m·s−1.

Conclusions:

The movement patterns of this fast bowler were a combination of highly intermittent activities of variable intensity on the base of ~16 km per game. This information provides insight for conditioning coaches to determine the physical demands and to adapt the training and recovery processes of ODI fast bowlers.

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Sam Coad, Bon Gray, George Wehbe and Christopher McLellan

Purpose:

To examine the response or pre- and postmatch salivary immunoglobulin A concentration ([s-IgA]) to Australian Football League (AFL) match play and investigate the acute and cumulative influence of player workload and postmatch [s-IgA] after repeated participation in AFL match play.

Methods:

Eleven elite AFL athletes (21.8 ± 2.4 y, 186.9 ± 7.9 cm, 87.4 ± 7.5 kg) were monitored throughout 3 matches during the preseason that were separated by 7 d. Saliva samples were collected across each AFL match at 24 h and 1 h prematch and 1, 12, 36, and 60 h postmatch to determine [s-IgA]. Global positioning systems (GPS) with integrated triaxial accelerometers were used to determine total player workload during match play. Hypothesis testing was conducted for time-dependent changes in [s-IgA] and player load using a repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results:

Player load during match 3 (1266 ± 124.6 AU) was significantly (P < .01) greater than in match 1 (1096 ± 115.1 AU) and match 2 (1082 ± 90.4 AU). Across match 3, [s-IgA] was significantly (P < .01) suppressed at 2 postmatch measures (12 and 36 h) compared with prematch measures (24 and 1 h), which coincided with significantly (P < .01) elevated player load.

Conclusion:

The findings indicate that an increase in player load during AFL preseason match play resulted in compromised postmatch mucosal immunological function. Longitudinal assessment of AFL-match player load and mucosal immunological function across the first 60 h of recovery may augment monitoring and preparedness strategies for athletes.

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Gregory Roe, Joshua Darrall-Jones, Christopher Black, William Shaw, Kevin Till and Ben Jones

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of timing gates and 10-Hz global positioning systems (GPS) units (Catapult Optimeye S5) against a criterion measure (50-Hz radar gun) for assessing maximum sprint velocity (Vmax).

Methods:

Nine male professional rugby union players performed 3 maximal 40-m sprints with 3 min rest between efforts with Vmax assessed simultaneously via timing gates, 10-Hz GPSOpen (Openfield software), GPSSprint (Sprint software), and radar gun. Eight players wore 3 GPS units, while 1 wore a single unit during each sprint.

Results:

When compared with the radar gun, mean biases for GPSOpen, GPSSprint, and timing gates were trivial, small, and small, respectively. The typical error of the estimate (TEE) was small for timing gate and GPSOpen while moderate for GPSSprint. Correlations with radar gun were nearly perfect for all measures. Mean bias, TEE, and correlations between GPS units were trivial, small, and nearly perfect, respectively, while a small TEE existed when GPSOpenfield was compared with GPSSprint.

Conclusion:

Based on these findings, both 10-Hz GPS and timing gates provide valid measures of 40-m Vmax assessment compared with a radar gun. However, as error did exist between measures, the same testing protocol should be used when assessing 40-m Vmax over time. Furthermore, in light of the above results, it is recommended that when assessing changes in GPS-derived Vmax over time, practitioners should use the same unit for each player and perform the analysis with the same software, preferably Catapult Openfield.

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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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Craig Twist, Jamie Highton, Mark Waldron, Emma Edwards, Damien Austin and Tim J. Gabbett

Purpose:

This study compared the movement demands of players competing in matches from the elite Australian and European rugby league competitions.

Methods:

Global positioning system devices were used to measure 192 performances of forwards, adjustables, and outside backs during National Rugby League (NRL; n = 88) and European Super League (SL; n = 104) matches. Total and relative distances covered overall and at low (0–3.5 m/s), moderate (3.6–5 m/s), and high (>5 m/s) speeds were measured alongside changes in movement variables across the early, middle, and late phases of the season.

Results:

The relative distance covered in SL matches (95.8 ± 18.6 m/min) was significantly greater (P < .05) than in NRL matches (90.2 ± 8.3 m/min). Relative low-speed activity (70.3 ± 4.9 m/min vs 75.5 ± 18.9 m/min) and moderate-speed running (12.5 ± 3.3 m m/min vs 14.2 ± 3.8 m/min) were highest (P < .05) in the SL matches, and relative high-speed distance was greater (P < .05) during NRL matches (7.8 ± 2.1 m/min vs 6.1 ± 1.7 m/min).

Conclusions:

NRL players have better maintenance of high-speed running between the first and second halves of matches and perform less low- and moderate-speed activity, indicating that the NRL provides a higher standard of rugby league competition than the SL.