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