Quantification of an Elite Futsal Team’s Microcycle External Load by Using the Repetition of High and Very High Demanding Scenarios

Illa J., Fernandez D., Reche X., Carmona G., Tarragó J.R.

The primary aim of this study was to characterize the repetition of high-demanding and very high-demanding scenarios in match play for velocity, distance, and neuromuscular locomotor variables among an elite futsal team. Additionally, the study examined how these demanding scenarios were distributed throughout the microcycle. Using a rolling average method with a 1-minute time window, the most demanding scenario of match play was assessed in thirteen elite futsal players across thirteen official matches and six in-season microcycles, employing a local positioning system. The mean of the top three match play observations for each variable and player was utilized to establish the reference value for the most demanding scenario (100%). Subsequently, the data were analyzed to quantify the number of high-demanding scenarios (80–90% of the individual most demanding scenario) and very high-demanding scenarios (>90% of the individual most demanding scenario). The number of scenarios was then assessed in relation to the number of days prior to the match (match day minus X), with differences between match days evaluated using a bootstrap confidence interval approach. The findings revealed that during a single match, players encountered repeated high- and very high-demanding scenarios. Furthermore, the training session two days before the match closely resembled the match, exceeding it only in scenarios of locomotor velocity variables, albeit with significantly fewer scenarios of neuromuscular variables. Notably, the number of high- and very high-demanding scenarios in the training session preceding the match decreased significantly compared to other phases of the microcycle and the match itself. This novel monitoring approach may assist practitioners in accurately assessing external load demands during both competition and training.

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