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Peak Movement and Technical Demands of Professional Australian Football Competition

Johnston, Rich D.1,2; Murray, Nick B.3; Austin, Damien J.3; Duthie, Grant4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 01, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003241
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Johnston, RD, Murray, NB, Austin, DJ, and Duthie, G. Peak movement and technical demands of professional Australian football competition. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—The aim of this study was to determine the average peak movement and technical demands of professional Australian football (AF) across a number of period durations using an observational cohort design. This information will be able to guide duration-specific intensities for training drills. Microtechnology and technical performance data were recorded across 22 games of the 2017 AF League season. The peak 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, and 10-minute rolling periods were determined from each game for each player for each frequency of skill involvements. Average speed (m·min−1) and accelerometer load (PlayerLoad; PL·min−1) were used as measures of physical output, and any disposal of the football or tackle was used as a technical involvement. Linear mixed models and Cohen's effect size (ES) statistic were used to determine the impact technical involvements had on movement profiles. There were substantial reductions in average speed across each duration as the number of technical involvements increased, other than for the 10-minute period. The reductions in speed were greatest during the 1-minute period for 1 (ES = −0.59 ± 0.13), 2 (ES = −1.96 ± 0.17), and 3 (ES = −2.39 ± 0.27) involvements. Similarly, less pronounced reductions were seen for accelerometer load, other than during the 7- and 10-minute periods where there were small to moderate increases in load for periods with technical involvements. Players may have to perform as many as 3 technical involvements a minute while covering 150–160 m·min−1. This information provides coaches with the peak speed, accelerometer load, and technical demands of competition. There are reductions in movement profiles as the number of technical involvements increases.

1School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia;

2Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom;

3Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club, Brisbane, Australia; and

4School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia

Address correspondence to Dr. Rich Johnston, richard.johnston@acu.edu.au.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.