The effect of intense exercise periods on physical and technical performance during elite Australian Football match-play: A comparison of experienced and less experienced players.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
J Sci Med Sport, 2016, 19, (7), pp. 596-602
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OBJECTIVES: The physical and technical responses of experienced (≥5 years) and less experienced (1-4 years) elite Australian Football (AF) players were compared following the most intense passages of match-play. DESIGN: Descriptive cohort study. METHODS: Time-motion analyses were performed using global positioning systems (MinimaxX S4, Catapult Innovations, Melbourne, Australia) on one elite AF team during 13 matches. The global positioning data were categorised into total distance, low-speed activity (0-2.78ms(-1)), moderate-speed running (2.79-4.14ms(-1)) and high-speed running (≥4.15ms(-1)) distances. A standardised 5-point technical coding criteria was used to rate the number and quality of skill involvements during match-play. RESULTS: Following the most intense 3-min running period the experienced players covered greater distances at high-speeds in match quarters two (effect size, ES=0.42±0.30) and three (ES=0.38±0.33) than their less experienced counterparts. Compared with less experienced players, experienced players performed more skill involvements during the second quarter (ES=0.42±0.33) and fourth quarter peak 3-min bouts of exercise intensity (ES=0.40±0.30) and quarter one (ES=0.49±0.29) and three subsequent periods (ES=0.33±0.20). CONCLUSIONS: Less experienced players exhibited greater reductions in physical and technical performance following peak periods of match-play. These findings suggest that training may require a greater emphasis on developing the ability of less experienced players to maintain physical performance and gain possession of the football following intense periods of match-play.
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