Establishing Running Intensities of Elite Field Hockey Players During Competitive Match-Play
Field hockey requires players to perform at varying intensities throughout a competitive match, involving high-speed running combined with tactical skills in order to outscore the opposition. A greater understanding of specific running demands imposed by competitive match-play may aid coaches in appropriate prescription of training and adequate recovery programmes. Purpose: to determine peak duration- and position-specific running intensities during field hockey competition, using a rolling average method. Methods: twenty one elite male field hockey players were analysed through 15Hz Global Positioning System (GPS) technology across a 16 match competitive season. Peak values for relative distance (m·min-1) and high-speed distance (m·min-1) were calculated, placed in a velocity-time curve and analysed using a rolling average method across ten different durations (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 min) for each playing position. Results: Forwards and midfielders covered significantly (p < 0.05) more relative distance than defenders for averages 1 to 6, with the forwards covering the greatest maximum relative distance and high-speed relative distance. There was a substantial decrease in relative distance and high-speed distance as the length of the rolling average increased, presenting small to moderate differences between durations 4 to 10 min, with the magnitude of differences between lengths decreasing as the rolling average length increased. Conclusion: These findings suggest that match-play running demands are significantly more intense than previously reported for all positions. As forwards exhibited a greater running intensity throughout, position specific training drills should replicate the most demanding phases of field hockey competition.