Time-on-Pitch or Full-Game GPS Analysis Procedures for Elite Field Hockey?

White A.D., MacFarlane N.

Purpose: The current study aimed to assess the impact of full-game (FG) and time-on-pitch (TOP) procedures for global positioning system (GPS) analysis on the commonly used markers of physical performance in elite field hockey.

Methods: Sixteen international male field hockey players, aged 19–30, were studied (yielding 73 player analyses over 8 games). Physical activity was recorded using a 5-Hz GPS.

Results: Distance covered, player load, maximum velocity, high-acceleration efforts, and distance covered at specified speed zones were all agreeable for both analysis procedures (P > .05). However, the percentage time spent in the 0–6 km/h range was higher for FG (ES: –21% to –16%; P < .001), whereas the percentage time in all other speed zones (1.67–3.06 m/s, 3.06–4.17 m/s, 4.17–5.28 m/s, and > 6.39 m/s) and relative distance (m/min) were higher for TOP (ES: 8–10%, 2–7%, 2–3%, 1–1%, 0–1%, respectively; P < .001). Conclusions: These data highlight the importance of selecting appropriate GPS analysis procedures tailored to the specific demands of the sport. While FG and TOP analysis procedures are comparable for distance-related variables in field hockey, they significantly differ for time-dependent factors. Failure to use the correct analysis procedure could lead to inaccurate perceptions of physiological demand, potentially influencing training prescription in terms of both intensity and volume.

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