The aim of the study was to compare training and match loads for cerebral palsy football athletes in a state-level development program to assess the specificity of training for competition in the para sport.
Time-motion analysis and heart-rate monitoring were applied during 20 training sessions of the Western Australia CP Football 2017 training season and seven competition matches of the 2017 Australian National Championships. The study used an observational study design with between-subjects and within-subjects comparisons of training and match loads.
There were no significant differences between training and match loads in players’ measurements of speed components and heart rates, with two exceptions: higher match distance covered in very high speed (g = 0.33) and time in heart rate zone 1 (<75% heart rate max, g = 0.45) and less time in heart rate zone 2 (g = 0.42).
Our results indicate that the athletes were conditioned to perform at similar intensities implemented during training, as demonstrated by the consistency between competition and training data in total distance, relative speed zones, and relative heart rate zones. Coaches should apply this knowledge in the programming of training volume and intensities to obtain peak match fitness and specifically prepare athletes for competition in cerebral palsy football.