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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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Brendan R. Scott, Robert G. Lockie, Timothy J. Knight, Andrew C. Clark and Xanne A.K. Janse de Jonge

Purpose:

To compare various measures of training load (TL) derived from physiological (heart rate [HR]), perceptual (rating of perceived exertion [RPE]), and physical (global positioning system [GPS] and accelerometer) data during in-season field-based training for professional soccer.

Methods:

Fifteen professional male soccer players (age 24.9 ± 5.4 y, body mass 77.6 ± 7.5 kg, height 181.1 ± 6.9 cm) were assessed in-season across 97 individual training sessions. Measures of external TL (total distance [TD], the volume of low-speed activity [LSA; <14.4 km/h], high-speed running [HSR; >14.4 km/h], very high-speed running [VHSR; >19.8 km/h], and player load), HR and session-RPE (sRPE) scores were recorded. Internal TL scores (HR-based and sRPE-based) were calculated, and their relationships with measures of external TL were quantified using Pearson product–moment correlations.

Results:

Physical measures of TD, LSA volume, and player load provided large, significant (r = .71−.84; P < .01) correlations with the HR-based and sRPE-based methods. Volume of HSR and VHSR provided moderate to large, significant (r = .40−.67; P < .01) correlations with measures of internal TL.

Conclusions:

While the volume of HSR and VHSR provided significant relationships with internal TL, physical-performance measures of TD, LSA volume, and player load appear to be more acceptable indicators of external TL, due to the greater magnitude of their correlations with measures of internal TL.

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Sam Coad, Bon Gray and Christopher McLellan

Purpose:

To assess match-to-match variations in salivary immunoglobulin A concentration ([s-IgA]) measured at 36 h postmatch throughout an Australian Football League (AFL) premiership season and to assess the trends between 36-h-postmatch [s-IgA] and match-play exercise workloads throughout the same season.

Methods:

Eighteen elite male AFL athletes (24 ± 4.2 y, 187.0 ± 7.1 cm, 87.0 ± 7.6 kg) were monitored on a weekly basis to determine total match-play exercise workloads and 36-h-postmatch [s-IgA] throughout 16 consecutive matches in an AFL premiership season. Global positioning systems (GPS) with integrated triaxial accelerometers were used to measure exercise workloads (PlayerLoad) during each AFL match. A linear mixed-model analyses was conducted for time-dependent changes in [s-IgA] and player load.

Results:

A significant main effect was found for longitudinal postmatch [s-IgA] data (F 16,240 = 3.78, P < .01) and PlayerLoad data (F 16,66 = 1.98, P = .03). For all matches after and including match 7, a substantial suppression trend in [s-IgA] 36-h-postmatch values was found compared with preseason baseline [s-IgA].

Conclusion:

The current study provides novel data regarding longitudinal trends in 36-h-postmatch [s-IgA] for AFL athletes. Results demonstrate that weekly in-season AFL match-play exercise workloads may result in delayed mucosal immunological recovery beyond 36 h postmatch. The inclusion of individual athlete-monitoring strategies of [s-IgA] may be advantageous in the detection of compromised postmatch mucosal immunological function for AFL athletes.

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Javier Núñez, Eduardo Sáez de Villareal, Javier Gálvez, Gabriel Suarez-Sanchez and Diego Munguía-Izquierdo

Purpose:

To describe the repeated-high-intensity activity and internal training load of rugby sevens players during international matches and to compare the differences between the 1st and 2nd halves.

Methods:

Twelve international-level male rugby sevens players were monitored during international competitive matches (n = 30 match files) using global positioning system technology and heart-rate monitoring.

Results:

The relative total distance covered by the players throughout the match was 112.1 ± 8.4 m/min. As a percentage of total distance, 35.0% (39.2 ± 9.0 m/min) was covered at medium speed and 17.1% (19.2 ± 6.8 m/min) at high speed. A substantial decrease in the distance covered at >14.0 km/h and >18.0 km/h, the number of accelerations of >2.78 m/s and >4.0 m/s, repeated-sprint sequences interspersed with ≤60 s rest, and repeated-acceleration sequences interspersed with ≤30 s or ≤60 s rest was observed in the 2nd half compared with the 1st half. A substantial increase in the mean heart rate (HR), HRmax, percentage of time at >80% HRmax and at >90% HRmax, and Edwards training load was observed in the 2nd half compared with the 1st half.

Conclusion:

This study provides evidence of a pronounced reduction in high-intensity and repeated-highintensity activities and increases in internal training load in rugby sevens players during the 2nd half of international matches.

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Dean J. McNamara, Tim J. Gabbett, Geraldine Naughton, Patrick Farhart and Paul Chapman

Purpose:

This study investigated key fatigue and workload variables of cricket fast bowlers and nonfast bowlers during a 7-wk physical-preparation period and 10-d intensified competition period.

Methods:

Twenty-six elite junior cricketers (mean ± SD age 17.7 ± 1.1 y) were classified as fast bowlers (n = 9) or nonfast bowlers (n = 17). Individual workloads were measured via global positioning system technology, and neuromuscular function (countermovement jump [relative power and flight time]), endocrine (salivary testosterone and cortisol concentrations), and perceptual well-being (soreness, mood, stress, sleep quality, and fatigue) markers were recorded.

Results:

Fast bowlers performed greater competition total distance (median [interquartile range] 7049 [3962] m vs 5062 [3694] m), including greater distances at low and high speeds, and more accelerations (40 [32] vs 19 [21]) and had a higher player load (912 [481] arbitrary units vs 697 [424] arbitrary units) than nonfast bowlers. Cortisol concentrations were higher in the physical-preparation (mean ± 90% confidence intervals, % likelihood; d = –0.88 ± 0.39, 100%) and competition phases (d = –0.39 ± 0.30, 85%), and testosterone concentrations, lower (d = 0.56 ± 0.29, 98%), in the competition phase in fast bowlers. Perceptual well-being was poorer in nonfast bowlers during competition only (d = 0.36 ± 0.22, 88%). Differences in neuromuscular function between groups were unclear during physical preparation and competition.

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate differences in the physical demands of cricket fast bowlers and nonfast bowlers and suggest that these external workloads differentially affect the neuromuscular, endocrine, and perceptual fatigue responses of these players.

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Geoff Minett, Rob Duffield and Stephen P. Bird

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of an acute multinutrient supplement on game-based running performance, peak power output, anaerobic by-products, hormonal profiles, markers of muscle damage, and perceived muscular soreness before, immediately after, and 24 h following competitive rugby union games.

Methods:

Twelve male rugby union players ingested either a comprehensive multinutrient supplement (SUPP), [RE-ACTIVATE:01], or a placebo (PL) for 5 d. Participants then performed a competitive rugby union game (with global positioning system tracking), with associated blood draws and vertical jump assessments pre, immediately post and 24 h following competition.

Results:

SUPP ingestion resulted in moderate to large effects for augmented 1st half very high intensity running (VHIR) mean speed (5.9 ± 0.4 vs 4.8 ± 2.3 m·min−1; d = 0.93). Further, moderate increases in 2nd half VHIR distance (137 ± 119 vs 83 ± 89 m; d = 0.73) and VHIR mean speed (5.9 ± 0.6 v 5.3 ± 1.7 m·min−1; d = 0.56) in SUPP condition were also apparent. Postgame aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 44.1 ± 11.8 vs 37.0 ± 3.2 UL; d = 1.16) and creatine kinase (CK; 882 ± 472 vs. 645 ± 123 UL; d = 0.97) measures demonstrated increased values in the SUPP condition, while AST and CK values correlated with 2nd half VHIR distance (r = −0.71 and r = −0.76 respectively). Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) was observed postgame in both conditions; however, it was significantly blunted with SUPP (P = .05).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest SUPP may assist in the maintenance of VHIR during rugby union games, possibly via the buffering qualities of SUPP ingredients. However, correlations between increased work completed at very high intensities and muscular degradation in SUPP conditions, may mask any anticatabolic properties of the supplement.

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Joanne Hausler, Mark Halaki and Rhonda Orr

Purpose:

To investigate activity profiles of Australian rugby league players during match play by competition, position, and match outcome in the New South Wales (NSW) second-tier competitions.

Methods:

Eighteen NSW Cup (NSWC) and 22 National Youth Competition (NYC) players, participating in this prospective cohort study, were categorized into 3 positional groups: forwards, adjustables, and outside backs. Global positioning system devices were used to examine activity profiles (distance and relative distance covered in walking, jogging, moderate, high, very high, and sprinting speed zones and quantification of high-speed movement) during match play in 21 NSWC and 22 NYC matches (N = 339 files).

Results:

NSWC players performed more sprints (36.5 ± 9.3 vs 28.4 ± 9.2) and greater relative distance in moderate speed zones (18.4 ± 3.2 vs 15.8 ± 3.1 m/min) than NYC. NSWC outside backs covered greater relative distance in jogging (29.4 ± 2.9 vs 24.8 ± 2.7 m/min) and moderate speed zones (17.0 ± 2.6 vs 12.8 ± 2.8 m/min) than their NYC counterparts. Adjustables performed more sprints (39.4 ± 10.1 vs 27.0 ± 9.2), high-intensity accelerations (3.7 ± 1.4 vs 1.9 ± 1.4), and relative distance (84.8 ± 4.3 vs 88.6 ± 4.8 m/min) than forwards and greater relative distance (81.5 ± 3.8 m/min) and sprints (31.0 ± 8.0) than outside backs. Adjustables recorded greater relative distance (19.8 m/min) in moderate speed zones than forwards (16.7 ± 3.1 m/min) and outside backs (14.9 ± 2.7 m/min). Adjustables covered ~685 m more than outside backs during a win.

Conclusions:

This is the first study to document the activity profiles of the NSW second-tier rugby league competition. The findings underscore the elevated match demands of adjustables and indicate higher intensity of play in NSWC than NYC that may more closely resemble the demands of National Rugby League match play.

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Rich D. Johnston, Tim J. Gabbett and David G. Jenkins

Purpose:

To assess the influence of playing standard and physical fitness on pacing strategies during a junior team-sport tournament.

Methods:

A between-groups, repeated-measures design was used. Twenty-eight junior team-sport players (age 16.6 ± 0.5 y, body mass 79.9 ± 12.0 kg) from a high-standard and low-standard team participated in a junior rugby league tournament, competing in 5 games over 4 d (4 × 40-min and 1 × 50-min game). Players wore global positioning system (GPS) microtechnology during each game to provide information on match activity profiles. The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (level 1) was used to assess physical fitness before the competition.

Results:

High-standard players had an initially higher pacing strategy than the low-standard players, covering greater distances at high (ES = 1.32) and moderate speed (ES = 1.41) in game 1 and moderate speed (ES = 1.55) in game 2. However, low-standard players increased their playing intensity across the competition (ES = 0.57–2.04). High-standard/high-fitness players maintained a similar playing intensity, whereas high-standard/low-fitness players reduced their playing intensities across the competition.

Conclusions:

Well-developed physical fitness allows for a higher-intensity pacing strategy that can be maintained throughout a tournament. High-standard/low-fitness players reduce playing intensity, most likely due to increased levels of fatigue as the competition progresses. Low-standard players adopt a pacing strategy that allows them to conserve energy to produce an “end spurt” in the latter games. Maximizing endurance fitness across an entire playing group will maximize playing intensity and minimize performance reductions during the latter stages of a tournament.

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Jocelyn K. Mara, Kevin G. Thompson and Kate L. Pumpa

Purpose:

To investigate the physical and physiological response to different formats of various-sided games.

Methods:

Eighteen elite women’s soccer players wore 15-Hz global positioning system devices and heart-rate (HR) monitors during various-sided games (small, 4 vs 4 and 5 vs 5; medium, 6 vs 6 and 7 vs 7; large, 8 vs 8 and 9 vs 9).

Results:

Players covered more relative sprinting distance during large-sided games than in small-sided (P < .001, d = 0.69) and medium-sided (P < .001, d = 0.54) games. In addition, a greater proportion of total acceleration efforts that had a commencement velocity <1 m/s were observed in small-sided games (44.7% ± 5.5%) than in large-sided games (36.7% ± 10.6%) (P = .018, d = 0.94). This was accompanied by a greater proportion of acceleration efforts with a final velocity equivalent to the sprint threshold in large-sided games (15.4% ± 7.7%) than in small-sided games (5.2% ± 2.5%) (P < .001, d = 1.78). The proportion of time spent in HR zone 4 (>85% maximum HR) was greater during small-sided games (69.8% ± 2.5%) than in medium- (62.1% ± 2.8%, d = 2.90) and large-sided games (54.9% ± 3.1%) (P < .001, d = 5.29).

Conclusions:

The results from this study demonstrate that coaches can use small-sided games as an aerobic conditioning stimulus and to develop players’ explosiveness and repeat-sprint ability over short durations. Large-sided games can be used to maintain aerobic capacity and develop maximum speed over longer distances.

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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.