Standardisation of acceleration zones in professional field sport athletes

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 2014, 9 (5), pp. 1161 - 1168
Issue Date:
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Running acceleration data provides important information about the physical demands placed on field sport athletes. However, the absence of clearly defined acceleration zones has contributed to the minimal examination of this variable. This study aimed to develop a standardised set of acceleration zones and determine any differences in accelerations between elite and sub-elite Australian footballers. Thirty-nine professional male Australian footballers performed a 30 m sprint from a standing start. Timing lights were placed at 0, 10, 20 and 30 m to calculate accelerations over 0-10, 10-20 and 20-30 m splits. The accelerations over these splits were 3.27 m·s-2, 1.81 m·s-2 and 0.33 m·s-2. The differences between the elite and sub-elite groups for time, velocity and acceleration over the splits were examined using independent t-tests and effect sizes. Acceleration zones were determined by using maximal acceleration to establish the subsequent acceleration zones. In this case 20%, 45% and 85% of maximum acceleration were used to develop low (0.65-1.46 m·s-2), moderate (1.47-2.77 m·s-2) and high (>2.78 m·s-2) zones. No differences between the elite and sub-elite athletes for each acceleration category were found. The development of standardised acceleration zones will assist with the assessment and understanding of accelerations in field sport athletes. This has the potential to improve the implementation of training programs and recovery sessions. Further, these accelerations zones are seemingly applicable for both elite and sub-elite field sport athletes.
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