Senior Club-Level Rugby Union Player’s Positional Movement Performance Using Individualized Velocity Thresholds and Accelerometer-Derived Impacts in Matches
Takamori, S; Hamlin, MJ; Kieser, DC; King, D; Hume, P; Yamazaki, T; Hachiya, M; Olsen, PD
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Takamori, S, Hamlin, MJ, Kieser, DC, King, D, Hume, P, Yamazaki, T, Hachiya, M, and Olsen, PD. Senior club-level rugby union player's positional movement performance using individualized velocity thresholds and accelerometer-derived impacts in matches. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-Game demands of professional rugby union players have been well documented; however, there is minimal game demand information using individualized velocity thresholds and collision loads, particularly for amateurs. This study investigated movement patterns of 20 male amateur rugby players during 16 senior premier division one matches using global positioning system (GPS) devices sampling at 10 Hz. Derived GPS variables included distances, velocities, sprinting, and impacts. Data files from 86 player games (≥60 minutes of play per game) were categorized into broad (forwards and backs) and specific (front row, second row, back row, half back, inside back, and outside back) positional groups for analysis. It was most likely that backs covered more distance in the high-speed running (>60% maximal velocity) zone (502 ± 157 m) compared with forwards (238 ± 147 m) (100/0/0%, chances of positive/trivial/negative differences, effect size [ES] = 1.3), performed more striding (backs 1,116 ± 240, forwards 954 ± 240 m, 96/4/0%, ES = 0.5), and sprinting (backs 121 ± 58, forwards 90 ± 65 m, 93/7/0%, ES = 0.5). However, forwards had higher collision loads (35 ± 12 arbitrary units) compared with backs (20 ± 6, 99.9/0.1/0%, ES = 1.3) with back row forwards completing the highest collision load of any playing position (40 ± 13). Our example match movement performance and impact information is valuable to coaches and support staff in preparing player profiles for similar-level rugby players to help manage their workloads.