The Physical and Physiological Demands of Elite International Female Field Hockey Players During Competitive Match-Play

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Abstract

The aim of the current investigation was to quantify the physical and physiological demands of elite international female field hockey match-play across halves of play. Thirty-eight participants (24 ± 5 years; 173 ± 5 cm; 72 ± 5 kg) took part in nineteen competitive matches during the 2014 – 2015 season. Participants were monitored with GPS technology and heart rate monitors. Players were categorized based on three different playing positions. Activity was categorized into total (m), high-speed running distance (m; >16 km·h-1) and relative distance (m·min-1) due to the use of rolling substitutions. Heart rate was classified based on the percentage of players individual HRpeak determined via a Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 1 test. Players spent on average 44 ± 7 min in match-play. The total distance covered was 5558 ± 527 m (125 ± 23 m·min-1) with 589 ± 160 m (13 ± 4 m·min-1) completed at high-speed. Defenders covered a greater total distance compared to other positions of play (p ≤ 0.001). Midfield players covered a greater distance at high-speed (p ≤ 0.001) with the forwards having a higher relative distance (p ≤ 0.001). The HRpeak of the players was 199 ± 1 b.min-1 with a mean exercise intensity of 86 ± 7.8 % of HRpeak. The time spent >85% HRpeak decreased significantly across the halves (p = 0.04, η2 = 0.09, Small). Defenders were found to spend more time >85 % HRpeak when compared to forwards (p ≤ 0.001). The current investigation provides normative data that coaches should consider when constructing training regimen.

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