Weak Relationships between Stint Duration, Physical and Skilled Match Performance in Australian Football


Australian Rules football comprises physical and skilled performance for more than ninety minutes of play. The cognitive and physiological fatigue experienced by participants during a match may reduce performance. Consequently, the length of time an athlete is on the field before being interchanged (known as a stint), is a key tactic which could maximize the skill and physical output of the Australian Rules athlete. This study developed two methods to quantify the relationship between athlete time on field, skilled and physical output. Professional male athletes (n = 39) from a single elite Australian Rules football club participated, with physical output quantified via player tracking systems across 22 competitive matches. Skilled output was calculated as the sum of involvements performed by each athlete, collected from a commercial statistics company. A random intercept and slope model was built to identify how a team and individuals respond to physical outputs and stint lengths. Stint duration (mins), high intensity running (speeds >14.4 km∙hr-1) per minute, meterage per minute and very high intensity running (speeds >25 km∙hr-1) per minute had some relationship with skilled involvements. However, none of these relationships were strong, and the direction of influence for each player was varied. Three conditional inference trees were computed to identify the extent to which combinations of physical parameters altered the anticipated skilled output of players. Meterage per minute, player, round number and duration were all related to player involvement. All methods had an average error of 10 to 11 involvements, per player per match. Therefore, other factors aside from physical parameters extracted from wearable technologies may be needed to explain skilled output within Australian Rules football matches.

In Frontiers in Physiology (Frontiers)