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Carlo Castagna, Matthew Varley, Susana C.A. Póvoas and Stefano D’Ottavio

Purpose:

To test the interchangeability of 2 match-analysis approaches for external-load detection considering arbitrary selected speeds and metabolic power (MP) thresholds in male top-level soccer.

Methods:

Data analyses were performed considering match physical performance of 60 matches (1200 player cases) of randomly selected Spanish, German, and English first-division championship matches (2013–14 season). Match analysis was performed with a validated semiautomated multicamera system operating at 25 Hz.

Results:

During a match, players covered 10,673 ± 348 m, of which 1778 ± 208 m and 2759 ± 241 m were performed at high intensity, as measured using speed (≥16 km/h, HI) and metabolic power (≥20 W/kg, MPHI) notations. High-intensity notations were nearly perfectly associated (r = .93, P < .0001). A huge method bias (980.63 ± 87.82 m, d = 11.67) was found when considering MPHI and HI. Very large correlations were found between match total distance covered and MPHI (r = .84, P < .0001) and HI (r = .74, P < .0001). Player high-intensity decelerations (≥–2 m/s2) were very largely associated with MPHI (r = .73, P < .0001).

Conclusions:

The speed and MP methods are highly interchangeable at relative level (magnitude rank) but not absolute level (measure magnitude). The 2 physical match-analysis methods can be independently used to track match external load in elite-level players. However, match-analyst decisions must be based on use of a single method to avoid bias in external-load determination.

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Nicola Furlan, Mark Waldron, Kathleen Shorter, Tim J. Gabbett, John Mitchell, Edward Fitzgerald, Mark A. Osborne and Adrian J. Gray

Purpose:

To investigate temporal variation in running intensity across and within halves and evaluate the agreement between match-analysis indices used to identify fluctuations in running intensity in rugby sevens.

Methods:

Data from a 15-Hz global positioning system (GPS) were collected from 12 elite rugby sevens players during the IRB World Sevens Series (N = 21 full games). Kinematic (eg, relative distance [RD]) and energetic (eg, metabolic power [MP]) match-analysis indices were determined from velocity–time curves and used to investigate between-halves variations. Mean MP and RD were used to identify peak 2-minute periods of play. Adjacent 2-minute periods (prepeak and postpeak) were compared with peak periods to identify changes in intensity. MP and RD were expressed relative to maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) and speed at V̇O2max, respectively, and compared in their ability to describe the intensity of peak periods and their temporal occurrence.

Results:

Small to moderate reductions were present for kinematic (RD; 8.9%) and energetic (MP; 6%) indices between halves. Peak periods (RD = 130 m/min, MP =13 W/kg) were higher (P < .001) than the match average (RD = 94 m/min, MP = 9.5 W/kg) and the prepeak and postpeak periods (P < .001). RD underestimated the intensity of peak periods compared with MP (bias 16%, limits of agreement [LoA] ± 6%). Peak periods identified by RD and MP were temporally dissociated (bias 21 s, LoA ± 212 s).

Conclusions:

The findings suggest that running intensity varies between and within halves; however, the index used will influence both the magnitude and the temporal identification of peak periods.

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Mário A.M. Simim, Gustavo R. da Mota, Moacir Marocolo, Bruno V.C. da Silva, Marco Túlio de Mello and Paul S. Bradley

capacity measures ( Özkan et al., 2012 ; Simim et al., 2013 , 2017 ). Thus, research has yet to examine the physiological and metabolic demands of AS match-play. The physical demands of able-bodied soccer matches have traditionally been determined using match analysis in addition to physiological and

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Paul S. Bradley and Jack D. Ade

depicts the generalized model using a Venn format. Three performance factors are represented in isolation and combination as circles. The regions in which factors overlap are the intersections. The area whereby all factors overlay is called the union (black dot) and denotes innovation in match analysis as

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Cesar Gallo-Salazar, Juan Del Coso, David Sanz-Rivas and Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez

located at opposite corners of the court (ie, 2 m laterally from the doubles line and 3 m behind the baseline). After both sessions, the same expert in match analysis downloaded match data for their subsequent analysis, following previously published protocols. 1 , 24 The variables calculated from the

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Matthew C. Varley, George P. Elias and Robert J. Aughey

Purpose:

To compare the peak 5-min period of high-velocity running (HiVR) during a soccer match using a predefined vs a rolling time interval.

Methods:

Player movement data were collected from 19 elite Australian soccer players over 11 competitive matches (77 individual match files) using a 5-Hz global-positioning system. Raw velocity data were analyzed to determine the period containing the greatest HiVR distance per match half and the distance covered in the subsequent epoch. Intervals were identified using either a predefined (distance covered in 5 min at every 5-min time point) or rolling (distance covered in 5 min from every time point) method. The percentage difference ± 90% confidence limits were used to determine differences between methods.

Results:

Predefined periods underestimated peak distance covered by up to 25% and overestimated the subsequent epoch by up to 31% compared with rolling periods. When the distance decrement between the peak and following period was determined, there was up to a 52% greater reduction in running performance using rolling periods than predefined ones.

Conclusions:

It is recommended that researchers use rolling as opposed to predefined periods when determining specific match intervals because they provide a more accurate representation of the HiVR distance covered. This will avoid underestimation of both match running distance and the decrement in running performance after an intense period of play. This may have practical implications for not only researchers but also staff involved in a club setting who use this reduction as evidence of transient fatigue during a match.

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Jace A. Delaney, Grant M. Duthie, Heidi R. Thornton, Tannath J. Scott, David Gay and Ben J. Dascombe

Rugby league involves frequent periods of high-intensity running including acceleration and deceleration efforts, often occurring at low speeds.

Purpose:

To quantify the energetic cost of running and acceleration efforts during rugby league competition to aid in prescription and monitoring of training.

Methods:

Global positioning system (GPS) data were collected from 37 professional rugby league players across 2 seasons. Peak values for relative distance, average acceleration/deceleration, and metabolic power (Pmet) were calculated for 10 different moving-average durations (1–10 min) for each position. A mixed-effects model was used to assess the effect of position for each duration, and individual comparisons were made using a magnitude-based-inference network.

Results:

There were almost certainly large differences in relative distance and Pmet between the 10-min window and all moving averages <5 min in duration (ES = 1.21–1.88). Fullbacks, halves, and hookers covered greater relative distances than outside backs, edge forwards, and middle forwards for moving averages lasting 2–10 min. Acceleration/deceleration demands were greatest in hookers and halves compared with fullbacks, middle forwards, and outside backs. Pmet was greatest in hookers, halves, and fullbacks compared with middle forwards and outside backs.

Conclusions:

Competition running intensities varied by both position and moving-average duration. Hookers exhibited the greatest Pmet of all positions, due to high involvement in both attack and defense. Fullbacks also reached high Pmet, possibly due to a greater absolute volume of running. This study provides coaches with match data that can be used for the prescription and monitoring of specific training drills.

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Alex Ross, Nicholas D. Gill and John B. Cronin

Purpose:

To compare the running demands and match activity profiles of international and provincial rugby sevens players.

Participants:

84 rugby sevens players, consisting of 16 international players from 1 team and 68 provincial players from 8 teams.

Methods:

Global positioning system analysis was completed during international and provincial tournament matches. Video analysis was also used to quantify the individual match activities during tournament matches.

Results:

Trivial to moderate differences were found in the running demands of international and provincial players, with internationals covering a greater distance at very high speed (ES = 0.30) and performing a greater number of sprints (ES = 0.80). Small differences were found between the 2 levels in all but total tackles (ES = 0.07) and defensive ruck effectiveness (ES = 0.64). International matches incurred a greater overall ball-in-play time than provincial matches (proportion ratio = 1.32).

Conclusions:

These findings demonstrate that both physical and technical factors distinguish international and provincial rugby sevens, although overall match demands are similar.

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Georgia M. Black and Tim J. Gabbett

Purpose:

No study has investigated the frequency and nature of repeated high-intensity-effort (RHIE) bouts across elite and semielite rugby league competitions. This study examined RHIE activity in rugby league match play across playing standards.

Participants:

36 elite and 64 semielite rugby league players.

Methods:

Global positioning system analysis was completed during 17 elite and 14 semielite matches.

Results:

The most commonly occurring RHIE bouts involved 2 efforts (2-RHIE) for both elite and semielite players. Only small differences were found in 2-RHIE activity between elite and semielite match play (effect size [ES] ≥0.31 ± 0.15, ≥88%, likely). RHIE bouts were more likely to involve contact as the number of efforts in a bout increased (ES ≥0.40 ± 0.15, 100%, almost certainly). Semielite players performed a greater proportion of 2-contact-effort RHIE bouts than their elite counterparts (68.2% vs 60.6%, ES 0.33 ± 0.15, 92%, likely), while elite players performed a greater proportion of 3-effort bouts (26.9% vs 21.1%, ES 0.31 ± 0.15, 88%, likely). Elite players also had a shorter recovery (1.00−3.99 vs ≥4.00 min) between RHIE bouts (ES ≥1.60 ± 0.71, ≥94%, likely).

Conclusion:

These findings highlight the RHIE demands of elite and semielite rugby league match play. Elite players are more likely to perform RHIE bouts consisting of 3 efforts and to have a shorter recovery time between bouts. Exposing players to these RHIE demands in training is likely to improve their ability to tolerate the most demanding passages of match play.

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Thomas Kempton, Anita C. Sirotic and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose:

To examine differences in physical and technical performance profiles using a large sample of match observations drawn from successful and less-successful professional rugby league teams.

Methods:

Match activity profiles were collected using global positioning satellite (GPS) technology from 29 players from a successful rugby league team during 24 games and 25 players from a less-successful team during 18 games throughout 2 separate competition seasons. Technical performance data were obtained from a commercial statistics provider. A progressive magnitude-based statistical approach was used to compare differences in physical and technical performance variables between the reference teams.

Results:

There were no clear differences in playing time, absolute and relative total distances, or low-speed running distances between successful and less-successful teams. The successful team possibly to very likely had lower higher-speed running demands and likely had fewer physical collisions than the less-successful team, although they likely to most likely demonstrated more accelerations and decelerations and likely had higher average metabolic power. The successful team very likely gained more territory in attack, very likely had more possessions, and likely committed fewer errors. In contrast, the less-successful team was likely required to attempt more tackles, most likely missed more tackles, and very likely had a lower effective tackle percentage.

Conclusions:

In the current study, successful match performance was not contingent on higher match running outputs or more physical collisions; rather, proficiency in technical performance components better differentiated successful and less-successful teams.