Monitoring and prescription of GPS training load in elite academy soccer athletes

  • Will Abbott

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Application of global positioning system (GPS) technology is poorly understood within soccer, with limited consideration of the individual or population. The current thesis investigated an individualised approach to monitoring and prescription of training load in elite academy soccer. Study One, Study Two and Study Three focused upon individualising the training load monitoring process. Study Four and Study Five progressed the focus to the individual prescription of training load for soccer athletes.

Global speed thresholds have typically been utilised to classify high-speed locomotion, masking important information regarding the relative intensity. Study One examined discrepancies between global and individual thresholds when monitoring high-speed locomotion. GPS data was collected for 19 Premier League academy soccer athletes, over a six-week period. For each athlete and training session, high-speed running (HSR), very highspeed running (VHSR), and sprinting (SPR) distances were calculated using both global and individual thresholds. Athletes were sub-divided into high (HIMAS), medium (MEMAS), and low (LOMAS) maximum aerobic speed groups. In LOMAS athletes, individual thresholds produced higher HSR, VHSR and SPR distances compared to global. In HIMAS athletes, individual analysis method produced 549m less HSR, and 341m less VHSR distance compared to global. Global thresholds produced high-speed locomotion distances significantly higher, or lower than individual thresholds for 47% of athletes, suggesting that using field tests to individualise speeds thresholds will allow accurate quantification of individual athlete intensity.

Study Two examined discrepancies between global and individual thresholds when quantifying acceleration tasks. Thirty-one elite soccer athletes were studied over a four-week period. For each athlete and training session: low-, moderate-, and high-intensity acceleration distances were calculated using both global and individual thresholds. Athletes were subdivided into high (HIACC), medium (MEACC), and low (LOACC) maximum accelerative capacity groups. For MEACC athletes, moderate- and high-intensity acceleration distances were significantly higher utilising global thresholds compared to individual. For HIACC
athletes, significantly higher distances were produced utilising global thresholds, for low-, moderate-, and high-intensity acceleration. Findings highlighted the discrepancies between acceleration distances calculated utilising global and individual thresholds, and the variation in discrepancies between athletes of differing physical capacities.
Date of AwardAug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorGary Brickley (Supervisor) & Nicholas Smeeton (Supervisor)

Cite this

Monitoring and prescription of GPS training load in elite academy soccer athletes
Abbott, W. (Author). Aug 2018

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis