Junior athlete development in professional Australian football : physical profiling, match analysis and training to improve performance

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Australian Football is a field sport encompassing physical and technical skill elements. The physical and activity profiles of elite and sub-elite players have been described previously, however few studies have investigated elite-junior players. This thesis applies five study designs to profile the anthropometric, physical, activity and technical profiles across three competition tiers. 𝘚𝘡𝘢π˜₯𝘺 π˜–π˜―π˜¦ profiles and compares characteristics of elite-junior and professional players, finding progressive differences across the tiers. 𝘚𝘡𝘢π˜₯𝘺 π˜›π˜Έπ˜° describes and compares the match-play activity profiles of elite-junior, sub-elite and elite players, finding an increase in match-play intensity across the tiers. 𝘚𝘡𝘢π˜₯𝘺 π˜›π˜©π˜³π˜¦π˜¦ describes and compares the characteristics of selected and non-selected elite-junior players, and suggests that sub-elite competitions provide a viable match-play pathway to develop elite-junior players. 𝘚𝘡𝘢π˜₯𝘺 𝘍𝘰𝘢𝘳 describes the characteristics of first-year players during the pre-season period, demonstrating increases to strength and power during an initial development period. 𝘚𝘡𝘢π˜₯𝘺 𝘍π˜ͺ𝘷𝘦 examines the positive influence of a 12-week resistance training intervention on the strength and power characteristics of elite-junior players, compared to undertaking skills training alone. Together, these findings can influence and direct the training and match-play practices of elite-junior athletes, with the aim of optimally preparing and transitioning players to elite competition tiers.
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