Acceleration and Fatigue in Team Sports

Team sport

A team sport is an activity in which the entire group works together to achieve the same goal. For example, runners participating in a relay race share the same goal of getting the baton around the track in the shortest possible time. To accomplish this, they need to communicate with one another, avoid dropping the baton, and make sure the changeover takes place in the correct place. Relay runners put in long hours of training to achieve this goal. In addition, they celebrate the race’s results together.

Systematic review of external acceleration load in team sport athletes

Previous team sport research has predominantly quantified external acceleration load through count-based metrics. However, the filtering processes used to generate MEDs and acceleration values can vary greatly and should be documented in future research. This will ensure more consistency and reproducibility of athlete acceleration data and enable further research.

In this systematic review, we analyzed the accepted studies that described the external acceleration load of team sport athletes using various player-tracking technologies, including GPS/GNSS, local positioning systems, and optical-based tracking systems. We focussed on how these technologies quantify acceleration load and how this load is presented to practitioners.

The pooled sample used in the study involved 349 male participants. The majority were soccer players while the remaining athletes were from rugby, Australian football, hurling, and basketball. In most cases, we used total distance (TD) divided by heart rate to calculate the external acceleration load. However, recent studies have suggested using accelerations as an additional external acceleration load parameter. This may impact the sensitivity of the method. Further, it is vital to conduct more studies on team sports involving female players and in other team sports with a wider diversity of participants.

Methods of calculating external acceleration load

Various methods have been developed to calculate external acceleration load (EAL) in team sports. These methods vary depending on the sport and training modality. Advances in technology have made it easy to quantify activity metrics with power meters and accelerometers. The key to calculating EAL is the understanding of the critical elements of the activity.

Historically, external loads have been limited to practice and are mainly practice-related. Strength training, however, must also be accounted for when tracking training programs. Typically, external loads were measured in kilograms or pounds and were an easy way to compare internal and external workloads.

In order to optimize performance, coaches have implemented methods to determine the best training dose and appropriate recovery period. These techniques include various tools for monitoring training volume and intensity. These include heart rate monitoring, GPS, subjective perception of effort, and objective measurements of physical effort. In team sports, the internal and external loads are often more complex to measure and use, because players play different positions and their response to external load may vary from one another.

Effects of external acceleration load on muscle soreness in team sport athletes

Recent research on high-intensity accelerations and decelerations in team sports has suggested that these forces can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue in athletes. However, the exact mechanism is still unclear. Researchers have identified several factors that could affect muscle soreness and fatigue, including the intensity of the accelerations and decelerations.

High-intensity decelerations often impose sudden velocity reductions. This can adversely affect muscle damage and limit the development of maximum voluntary force. As a result, it is essential to avoid excessive muscle damage during these exercises to maximize athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury. Fortunately, loading strategies can help athletes avoid these deceleration effects.

The frequency of high-intensity decelerations varied across sports. However, American Football athletes were more likely to experience very high-intensity accelerations. This resulted in more muscle soreness and fatigue than other athletes.

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