Widening margin in activity profile between elite and sub-elite Australian football: a case study

J Sci Med Sport. 2013 Jul;16(4):382-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2012.10.003. Epub 2013 Feb 5.


Objectives: It is not known if the activity profile of elite Australian football players changes across two levels of competition. The aims of this study were therefore to: (1) classify the activity profile of elite and sub-elite Australian football for players from one elite Australian football club; and (2) compare the activity profile of elite footballers across both elite and sub-elite competitions.

Design: Quantitative case-study approach.

Methods: Movement was recorded by 5Hz global positioning system and expressed relative to game time for total; and high-velocity running distance (4.17-10.00ms(-1)) and maximal accelerations (2.78-10.00ms(-2)). The difference was expressed as a percentage and effect size statistic with confidence intervals.

Results: Elite Australian football players had 8% greater total 11% more high intensity running; and 16% more maximal accelerations during matches in 2009 compared to 2008. Players at a sub-elite level had no change in total; 9% less high intensity running but 23% greater maximal accelerations during the same period. In 2008 there was a 5% lower total covered by players in sub-elite competition; no difference in high intensity running; and 28% less maximal accelerations compared to elite. In 2009 the gap was larger for distance of running as sub-elite had 15% less total and 20% less high intensity running than elite. Similar to 2008, sub-elite players had 23% less maximal accelerations in 2009.

Conclusions: The activity profile of players in the elite competition has increased over these two seasons, but not in the sub-elite. This has implications for teams where players must move between competitions during the season.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Football / physiology*
  • Football / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Young Adult