The Use of Microtechnology to Quantify the Peak Match Demands of the Football Codes: A Systematic Review

Whitehead S., Till K., Weaving D., Jones B.

Background: Quantifying the peak match demands within the football codes is useful for the appropriate prescription of external training load. Wearable microtechnology devices can be used to identify the peak match demands, although various methodologies exist at present.

Objectives: This systematic review aimed to identify the methodologies and microtechnology-derived variables used to determine the peak match demands, and to summarize current data on the peak match demands in the football codes.

Methods: A systematic search of electronic databases was performed from the earliest record to May 2018; keywords relating to microtechnology, peak match demands, and football codes were used.

Results: Twenty-seven studies met the eligibility criteria. Six football codes were reported: rugby league (n=7), rugby union (n=5), rugby sevens (n=4), soccer (n=6), Australian Football (n=2), and Gaelic Football (n=3). Three methodologies were identified: moving averages, segmental, and ‘ball in play’. The moving averages are the most commonly used (63%) and superior method, identifying higher peak demands than other methods. The most commonly used variables were relative distance covered (63%) and external load in specified speed zones (57%).

Conclusion: This systematic review has identified moving averages to be the most appropriate method for identifying the peak match demands in the football codes. Practitioners and researchers should choose the most relevant duration-specific period and microtechnology-derived variable for their specific needs. The code-specific peak match demands revealed can be used for the prescription of conditioning drills and training intensity.

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