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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Oct 15

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12859-2


lingua: Inglese

Sprint mechanical properties of professional rugby league players according to playing standard, age and position, and the association with key physical characteristics


Department of Health Professions, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

BACKGROUND: This study determined the influence of playing standard, age, and position on the horizontal force-velocity (FV) properties of rugby league players, and the association with other characteristics.
METHODS: This observational study used a cross-sectional design with a range of physical characteristics recorded from 132 players from 5 Super League clubs. Sprint data was used to derived theoretical maximal force (F0) and velocity (V0), power (Pmax), maximal rate of force (RFmax) and the rate of decrease in RFmax (DRF). Differences between playing standard, age groups and playing positions were determined (P value and standardised mean difference (SMD) along with correlational analysis to assess the relationship between FV properties and key physical characteristics.
RESULTS: Senior players reported lower split time (SMD = -0.26--0.59, P =0.002-0.017), absolute F0, Pmax and V0 (SMD = 0.47-0.78, P <0.001-0.010). Players aged <21 years reported higher split times and lower absolute F0 compared to 21-26 years (SMD = -0.84--0.56, P <0.001-0.04) and a lower V0 than >26 years (SMD = -0.40, P=0.002). Hit-up forwards were slower than outside backs (SMD = -0.30--0.89, P <0.001-0.042), though produced the highest absolute F0 and Pmax. Split times F0, V0, Pmax and RFmax were associated with change of direction and countermovement jump performance, whilst FVslope and DRF were associated with countermovement jump performance. F0 and Pmax were associated with medicine ball throw distance (r = 0.302-0371, P = ≤0.001). There was no association with prone Yo-Yo IR1 distance (r = -0.16-0.09, P =0.060-0.615).
CONCLUSIONS: These results provide insight into the horizontal FV properties with reference to key sub-groups, and highlights several associations with other characteristics across large sample of rugby league players. The result of this study should be used when interpreting the sprint ability of rugby league players, planning the long-term development of youth players, and inform programme design for all.

KEY WORDS: Sprint mechanics; Collision Sport; Power; Team sport; Training implications

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