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Liam Anderson, Patrick Orme, Rocco Di Michele, Graeme L. Close, Jordan Milsom, Ryland Morgans, Barry Drust and James P. Morton

Purpose:

To quantify the accumulative training and match load during an annual season in English Premier League soccer players classified as starters (n = 8, started ≥60% of games), fringe players (n = 7, started 30–60% of games) and nonstarters (n = 4, started <30% of games).

Methods

Players were monitored during all training sessions and games completed in the 2013–14 season with load quantified using global positioning system and Prozone technology, respectively.

Results:

When including both training and matches, total duration of activity (10,678 ± 916, 9955 ± 947, 10,136 ± 847 min; P = .50) and distance covered (816.2 ± 92.5, 733.8 ± 99.4, 691.2 ± 71.5 km; P = .16) were not different between starters, fringe players, and nonstarters, respectively. However, starters completed more (all P < .01) distance running at 14.4–19.8 km/h (91.8 ± 16.3 vs 58.0 ± 3.9 km; effect size [ES] = 2.5), high-speed running at 19.9–25.1 km/h (35.0 ± 8.2 vs 18.6 ± 4.3 km; ES = 2.3), and sprinting at >25.2 km/h (11.2 ± 4.2 vs 2.9 ± 1.2 km; ES = 2.3) than nonstarters. In addition, starters also completed more sprinting (P < .01, ES = 2.0) than fringe players, who accumulated 4.5 ± 1.8 km. Such differences in total high-intensity physical work done were reflective of differences in actual game time between playing groups as opposed to differences in high-intensity loading patterns during training sessions.

Conclusions

Unlike total seasonal volume of training (ie, total distance and duration), seasonal high-intensity loading patterns are dependent on players’ match starting status, thereby having potential implications for training program design.

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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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Nick B. Murray, Georgia M. Black, Rod J. Whiteley, Peter Gahan, Michael H. Cole, Andy Utting and Tim J. Gabbett

Purpose:

Throwing loads are known to be closely related to injury risk. However, for logistic reasons, typically only pitchers have their throws counted, and then only during innings. Accordingly, all other throws made are not counted, so estimates of throws made by players may be inaccurately recorded and underreported. A potential solution to this is the use of wearable microtechnology to automatically detect, quantify, and report pitch counts in baseball. This study investigated the accuracy of detection of baseball pitching and throwing in both practice and competition using a commercially available wearable microtechnology unit.

Methods:

Seventeen elite youth baseball players (mean ± SD age 16.5 ± 0.8 y, height 184.1 ± 5.5 cm, mass 78.3 ± 7.7 kg) participated in this study. Participants performed pitching, fielding, and throwing during practice and competition while wearing a microtechnology unit. Sensitivity and specificity of a pitching and throwing algorithm were determined by comparing automatic measures (ie, microtechnology unit) with direct measures (ie, manually recorded pitching counts).

Results:

The pitching and throwing algorithm was sensitive during both practice (100%) and competition (100%). Specificity was poorer during both practice (79.8%) and competition (74.4%).

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate that the microtechnology unit is sensitive to detect pitching and throwing events, but further development of the pitching algorithm is required to accurately and consistently quantify throwing loads using microtechnology.

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Matthias W. Hoppe, Christian Baumgart, Jutta Bornefeld, Billy Sperlich, Jürgen Freiwald and Hans-Christer Holmberg

The aims of this study were (1) to assess the running activities of adolescent tennis players during match play with respect to velocity, acceleration, and deceleration; (2) to characterize changes in these activities during the course of a match; and (3) to identify potential differences between winners and losers. Twenty well-trained adolescent male athletes (13 ± 1 y) played one simulated match each (giving a total of 10 matches), during which distances covered at different velocity categories (0 to < 1, 1 to < 2, 2 to < 3, 3 to < 4, and ≥ 4 m·s−1) and number of running activities involving high velocity (≥ 3 m·s−1), acceleration (≥ 2 m·s−2), and deceleration (≤ −2 m·s−2) were monitored using a global positioning system (10 Hz). Heart rate was also assessed. The total match time, total distance covered, peak velocity, and mean heart rate were 81.2 ± 14.6 min, 3362 ± 869 m, 4.4 ± 0.8 ms−1, and 159 ± 12 beats min−1, respectively. Running activities involving high acceleration (0.6 ± 0.2 n·min−1) or deceleration (0.6 ± 0.2 n·min−1) were three times as frequent as those involving high velocity (0.2 ± 0.1 n·min−1). No change in the pattern of running activities (P ≥ .13, d ≤ 0.39) and no differences between winners and losers (P ≥ .22, d ≤ 0.53) were evident during match play. We conclude that training of well-trained adolescent male tennis players need not focus on further development of their running abilities, since this physical component of multifactorial tennis performance does not change during the course of a match and does not differ between the winners and losers.

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

Purpose:

Bowling workload is linked to injury risk in cricket fast bowlers. This study investigated the validity of microtechnology in the automated detection of bowling counts and events, including run-up distance and velocity, in cricket fast bowlers.

Method:

Twelve highly skilled fast bowlers (mean ± SD age 23.5 ± 3.7 y) performed a series of bowling, throwing, and fielding activities in an outdoor environment during training and competition while wearing a microtechnology unit (MinimaxX). Sensitivity and specificity of a bowling-detection algorithm were determined by comparing the outputs from the device with manually recorded bowling counts. Run-up distance and run-up velocity were measured and compared with microtechnology outputs.

Results:

No significant differences were observed between direct measures of bowling and nonbowling events and true positive and true negative events recorded by the MinimaxX unit (P = .34, r = .99). The bowling-detection algorithm was shown to be sensitive in both training (99.0%) and competition (99.5%). Specificity was 98.1% during training and 74.0% during competition. Run-up distance was accurately recorded by the unit, with a percentage bias of 0.8% (r = .90). The final 10-m (–8.9%, r = .88) and 5-m (–7.3%, r = .90) run-up velocities were less accurate.

Conclusions:

The bowling-detection algorithm from the MinimaxX device is sensitive to detect bowling counts in both cricket training and competition. Although specificity is high during training, the number of false positive events increased during competition. Additional bowling workload measures require further development.

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Nicola Furlan, Mark Waldron, Mark Osborne and Adrian J. Gray

Purpose:

To assess the ecological validity of the Rugby Sevens Simulation Protocol (R7SP) and to evaluate its interday reliability.

Methods:

Ten male participants (20 ± 2 y, 74 ± 11 kg) completed 2 trials of the R7SP, separated by 7 d. The R7SP comprised typical running and collision activities, based on data recorded during international rugby sevens match play. Heart rate (HR) was monitored continuously during the R7SP, and the participants’ movements were recorded through a 20-Hz global positioning system unit. Blood lactate and rating of perceived exertion were collected before and immediately after the 1st and 2nd halves of the R7SP.

Results:

The average activity profile was 117 ± 5 m/min, of which 27 ± 2 m/min was covered at high speed, with a calculated energetic demand of 1037 ± 581 J/kg, of which ~40% was expended at a rate above 19 W/kg. Mean HR was 88% ± 4% of maximal HR. Participants spent ~45% ± 27% of time above 90% of maximal HR (t >90%HRmax). There were no significant differences between trials, except for lactate between the halves of the R7SP. The majority of the measured variables demonstrated a between-trials coefficient of variation (CV%) lower than 5%. Blood lactate measurements (14–20% CV) and t >90%HRmax (26% CV) were less reliable variables. In most cases, the calculated moderate worthwhile change was higher than the CV%.

Conclusions:

The R7SP replicates the activity profile and HR responses of rugby sevens match play. It is a reliable simulation protocol that can be used in a research environment to detect systematic worthwhile changes in selected performance variables.

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Ademir F.S. Arruda, Christopher Carling, Vinicius Zanetti, Marcelo S. Aoki, Aaron J. Coutts and Alexandre Moreira

Purpose:

To analyze the effects of a very congested match schedule on the total distance (TD) covered, high-intensity-running (HIR) distance, and frequency of accelerations and body-load impacts (BLIs) performed in a team of under-15 soccer players (N = 10; 15.1 ± 0.2 y, 171.8 ± 4.7 cm, 61 ± 6.0 kg) during an international youth competition.

Methods:

Using global positioning systems, player performances were repeatedly monitored in 5 matches performed over 3 successive days.

Results:

Significant differences were observed between matches (P < .05) for the frequency of accelerations per minute, BLIs, and BLIs per minute. No differences were observed for the TD covered, TD run per minute, number of high-intensity runs, distance covered in HIR, per-minute peak running speed attained, or frequency of accelerations. The frequency of accelerations per minute decreased across the competition while BLIs were higher during the final than in all other matches.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that BLIs and acceleration might be used as an alternative means to represent the external load during congested match schedules rather than measures related to running speed or distance covered.

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Daniel Castillo, Matthew Weston, Shaun J. McLaren, Jesús Cámara and Javier Yanci

The aims of this study were to describe the internal and external match loads (ML) of refereeing activity during official soccer matches and to investigate the relationship among the methods of ML quantification across a competitive season. A further aim was to examine the usefulness of differential perceived exertion (dRPE) as a tool for monitoring internal ML in soccer referees. Twenty field referees (FRs) and 43 assistant referees (ARs) participated in the study. Data were collected from 30 competitive matches (FR = 20 observations, AR = 43 observations) and included measures of internal (Edwards’ heart-rate-derived training impulse [TRIMPEDW]) ML, external (total distance covered, distance covered at high speeds, and player load) ML, and ML differentiated ratings of perceived respiratory (sRPEres) and leg-muscle (sRPEmus) exertion. Internal and external ML were all greater for FRs than for ARs (–19.7 to –72.5), with differences ranging from very likely very large to most likely extremely large. The relationships between internal-ML and external-ML indicators were, in most cases, unclear for FR (r < .35) and small to moderate for AR (r < .40). The authors found substantial differences between RPEres and RPEmus scores in both FRs (0.6 AU; ±90% confidence limits 0.4 AU) and ARs (0.4; ±0.3). These data demonstrate the multifaceted demands of soccer refereeing and thereby highlight the importance of monitoring both internal and external ML. Moreover, dRPE represents distinct dimensions of effort and may be useful in monitoring soccer referees’ ML during official matches.

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Nicola Marsh, Nick Dobbin, Craig Twist and Chris Curtis

This study assessed energy intake and expenditure of international female touch players during an international tournament. Energy intake (food diary) and expenditure (accelerometer, global positioning system) were recorded for 16 female touch players during a four-day tournament, competing in 8.0 ± 1.0 matches; two on Days 1, 2, and 4, and three on Day 3. Total daily energy expenditure (43.6 ± 3.1 Kcal·kg-1 body mass (BM)) was not different (p > .05) from energy intake (39.9 ± 9.4 Kcal·kg-1 BM). Carbohydrate intakes were below current recommendations (6–10 g·kg-1 BM) on Days 1 (4.4 ± 0.6 g·kg-1 BM) and 3 (4.7 ± 1.0 g·kg-1 BM) and significantly below (p < .05) on Day 2 (4.1 ± 1.0 g·kg-1 BM). Protein and fat intakes were consistent with recommendations (protein, 1.2–2.0 g·kg-1 BM: fat, 20–35% total Kcal) across Days 1–3 (protein, 1.9 ± 0.8, 2.2 ± 0.8, and 2.0 ± 0.7 g·kg-1 BM; fat, 35.6 ± 6.8, 38.5 ± 6.4, and 35.9 ± 5.4% total Kcal). Saturated fat intakes were greater (p < .05) than recommendations (10% total Kcal) on Days 1–3 (12.4 ± 2.9, 14.2 ± 5.1, and 12.7 ± 3.5% total Kcal). On average, female touch players maintained energy balance. Carbohydrate intakes appeared insufficient and might have contributed to the reduction (p < .05) in high-intensity running on Day 3. Further research might investigate the applicability of current nutrition recommendations and the role of carbohydrate in multimatch, multiday tournaments.

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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.