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Maximum Distance and High-Speed Distance Demands by Position in NCAA Division I Collegiate Football Games

Sanders, Gabriel J.1; Roll, Brad2; Peacock, Corey A.3

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: October 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 10 - p 2728–2733
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002105
Original Research

Sanders, GJ, Roll, B, and Peacock, CA. Maximum distance and high-speed distance demands by position in NCAA division I collegiate football games. J Strength Cond Res 31(10): 2728–2733, 2017—The purpose of the study was to quantify the average and maximum distances traveled by National Collegiate Athletic Association division I football athletes during competitive games. Using global positioning system devices (Catapult Sports), total and low-, moderate-, and high-speed distances were quantified by each position. Understanding maximal workloads can enhance conditioning practice periodization protocols. A total of 40 football athletes were included in the analysis. For the data to be included, athletes were required to participate in ≥75% of the offensive or defensive snaps for any given game. There was a total of 286 data downloads from 13 different games for 8 different football positions. Data were calculated and compared by offensive and defensive position to establish the mean, SD, and maximum distances (in meters) traveled during competitive games. A total maximum distance range (Max Range) was established to account for athletes who accumulated in-game total distances greater than the M + 1SD for each position. A percent was also calculated to highlight how often athletes accumulated distance workloads in the Max Range. One-way analysis of variance revealed there was a main effect of football position for all distance variables (p ≤ 0.001). Regardless of position, 12.0–16.7% of the time athletes accumulated in-game total distances in the Max Range. Conditioning and practice periodization protocols for distance should be position specific or individualized to avoid under or over conditioning. In addition, using a Max Range for distance can help ensure athletes are achieving distance workloads that are similar to the demands of a competitive game.

1Department of Kinesiology and Health, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky;

2Department of Strength and Conditioning, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee; and

3Department of Kinesiology, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Address correspondence to Gabriel J. Sanders,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.