Physical demands and technical performance in Australian Football League Women's (AFLW) competition match-play

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Journal Article
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2018, 21 (7), pp. 748 - 752
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© 2017 Sports Medicine Australia Objectives: To compare positional differences in the physical and technical demands of Australian Football League Women's (AFLW) match-play. A secondary aim was to examine the time course changes in activity profiles during AFLW match-play. Design: Longitudinal observational study. Methods: Global positioning system data were collected from 26 players (6 positional groups) from the same club during seven AFLW matches. Absolute and relative physical performance data were categorised into total distance, high-speed running (>14.4 km h−1, HSR), very high-speed running (>18.0 km h−1, VHSR), and sprinting distance (>20.0 km h−1, Sprint). Technical performance data was obtained from a commercial statistics provider. A mixed model analysis was used to examine differences between positional groups and playing quarters. Results: Absolute measures of running performance did not differ between position groups. Relative total distance was moderately greater (ES = ∼0.80, p < 0.05) for midfielders, small backs and small forwards (125–128 m min−1) than tall backs and tall forwards (102–107 m min−1). Relative HSR distance was greater (ES = ∼0.73) for midfielders and small backs (∼28 m min−1) than tall backs (17 m min−1). Analysis of technical performance indicators showed: midfielders and small forwards had the most inside 50s; tall backs had the highest number of rebound 50s; tall forwards scored more goals; while midfielders made more tackles (p < 0.05). All relative running performance measures were reduced in the fourth quarter when compared to the first and second quarters (ES = 0.32–0.77). Conclusions: These data can be used as benchmarks for temporal analysis of AFLW match demands and assist in developing specific training strategies.
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