Changes in Player Activity Profiles Following the 2015 Fih Rule Changes in Elite Women’s Hockey

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The aim of this study was to compare the player activity profiles of elite international women hockey players pre (2014) and post (2015) the 2015 FIH match rule changes at team and positional levels. The match activity profiles (n=400) of 19 female hockey players (Age 23±4 years, mass 63.6±5.5 kg, VO2max 57±6 ml·kg-1·min-1 in 2014, 58±6 ml·kg-1·min-1 in 2015) were recorded during competitive international matches in 2014 (match n=12) and 2015 (match n=13) using 10Hz GPS units. The practical utility of an effect was only classified as substantial when there was a >75% likelihood that the ±90% CI of the ES was equal to or greater than the small (ES ± 0.2) reference value. Mean match time decreased by over two minutes from 71.72±1.38 to 69.40±4.72mins. There were increases at the team level in relative substitutions (SUB), relative distance (RD), High Speed Running (HSR - 3.08-5.27m·s-1) and surges (S), with a fall in Low Speed Running (LSR- 0-3.05m·s-1) between 2014 and 2015. There were no changes in the between-position differences observed from 2014 to 2015. Within-positions, there were relative increases in RD for all positions, HSR and S for midfield, and in SUB and S in forwards. The 2015 FIH rule changes appear to have increased the general intensity of international women’s hockey. However the different facets of physical performance did not change uniformly across team positions. Therefore specific modifications to conditioning practises for each position may be warranted to more accurately reflect match demands.

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