A comparison of the physiological demands of rugby union match-play when determined by absolute (ABS) or individual (IND) velocity bands in Global Positioning System (GPS) analysis

Macleod, Amy Elizabeth (2016) A comparison of the physiological demands of rugby union match-play when determined by absolute (ABS) or individual (IND) velocity bands in Global Positioning System (GPS) analysis. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3176582


Since turning professional in 1995 there have been considerable advances in the research on the demands of rugby union, largely using Global Positioning System (GPS) analysis over the last 10 years.

A systematic review on the use of GPS, particularly the setting of absolute (ABS) and individual (IND) velocity bands in field based, intermittent, high-intensity (HI) team sports was undertaken. From 3669 records identified, 38 studies were included for qualitative analysis. Little agreement on the definition of movement intensities within team sports was found, only three papers, all on rugby union, had used IND bands, with only one comparing ABS and IND methods. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine if there is a difference in the demands within positions when comparing ABS and IND methods for GPS analysis and if these differences are significantly different between the forward and back positional groups.

A total of 214 data files were recorded from 26 players in 17 matches of the 2015/2016 Scottish BT Premiership. ABS velocity zones 1-7 were set at 1) 0-6, 2) 6.1-11, 3) 11.1-15, 4) 15.1-18, 5) 18.1-21, 6) 21.1-15 and 7) 25.1-40km.h-1 while IND zones 1-7 were 1) <20, 2) 20-40, 3) 40-50, 4) 50-70, 5) 70-80, 6) 80-95 and 7) 95-100% of player’s individually determined maximum velocity (Vmax). A 40m sprint test measured Vmax using OptaPro S4 10 Hz (catapult, Australia) GPS units to derive IND bands. The same GPS units were worn during matches. GPS outputs analysed were % distance, % time, high intensity efforts (HIEs) over 18.1 km.h-1 / 70% max velocity and repeated high intensity efforts (RHIEs) which consists of three HIEs in 21secs.

General linear model (GLM) analysis identified a significant difference in the measurement of % total distance covered, between the ABS and IND methods in all zones for forwards (p<0.05) and backs (p<0.05). This difference was also significant between forwards and backs in zones 1, shown as mean difference ± standard deviation (3.7±0.7%), 6 (1.2±0.4%) and 7 (1.0±0.0%) respectively (p<0.05). Percentage time estimations were significantly different between ABS and IND analysis within forwards in zones 1 (1.7±1.7%), 2 (-2.9±1.3%), 3 (1.9±0.8%), 4 (-1.4±0.8%) and 5 (0.2±0.4%), and within backs in zones 1 (-10±1.5%), 2 (-1.2±1.1%), 3 (1.8±0.9%) and 5 (0.6±0.5%) (p<0.05). The difference between groups was significant in zones 1, 2, 4 and 5 (p<0.05). The number of HIEs was significantly different between forwards and backs in zones 6 (6±2) and 7 (3±2). RHIEs were significantly different between ABS and IND for forwards (1±2, p<0.05) although not between groups.

Until more research on the differences in ABS and IND methods is carried out, then neither can be deemed a criterion method. In conclusion, there are significant differences between the ABS and IND methods of GPS analysis of the physical demands of rugby union, which must be considered when used to inform training load and recovery to improve performance and reduce injuries.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Global Positioning Systems, GPS, rugby union, match-play, high intensity, team-sports.
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences > Life Sciences Human Biology/Sports Science
Supervisor's Name: Penpraze, Ms. V. and MacFarlane, Dr. N.
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Miss Amy E Macleod
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7571
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2016 12:24
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2016 08:59
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7571

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