Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Use of relative speed zones increases the high-speed running performed in team sport match play. J Strength Cond Res 29(12): 3353–3359, 2015—This study investigated the activity profiles of junior rugby league players competing in 3 distinct age groups (Under 13, 14, and 15), and 2 distinct playing standards (division 1 and 4). In addition, we reported global positioning system (GPS) data using predefined absolute speed thresholds and speed thresholds expressed relative to a players' individual peak velocity. Ninety male junior rugby league players, representing 1 of 6 teams competing in the Brisbane junior rugby league competition, underwent measurements of peak velocity (through a 40-m sprint) and GPS analysis during competitive matches. Data were described as both absolute speed zones and relative to the individual player's peak velocity. Absolute measures of moderate-, high-, and very high-speed running distances increased with age with the differences among groups typically small to moderate (effect size = 0.24–0.68) in magnitude. However, when data were expressed relative to a players' capacity, younger players and those from lower playing divisions exhibited higher playing intensities and performed greater amounts of high-intensity activity. Moderate and negative relationships (r = -0.43 to -0.46) were found between peak velocity and the amount of relative high-speed running performed. These findings suggest that individualization of velocity bands increases the high-speed running attributed to slower players and decreases the high-speed running attributed to faster players. From a practical perspective, consideration should be given to both the absolute and relative demands of competition to provide insight into training prescription and the recovery requirements of individual players.

Document Type

Journal Article

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