Applied sport science of rugby league

Johnston, Rich D. and Gabbett, Tim J. and Jenkins, David G. (2014) Applied sport science of rugby league. Sports Medicine, 44 (8). pp. 1087-1100. ISSN 0112-1642


Rugby league is a team sport in which players engage in repeated high-intensity exercise involving frequent collisions. Recent research, much of which has involved global positioning system (GPS) technology, has provided coaches and sport scientists with a deeper understanding of match demands, particularly at the elite level. This has allowed for the development of training programmes that prepare players for the most intense contact and running demands likely to be experienced in competition. At the elite level, rugby league players have well-developed aerobic and anaerobic endurance, muscular strength and power, reactive agility, and speed. Upper- and lower-body strength and aerobic power are associated with a broad range of technical and sport-specific skills, in addition to a lower risk of injury. Significant muscle damage (as estimated from creatine kinase concentrations) and fatigue occurs as a result of match-play; while muscle function and perceptual fatigue generally return to baseline 48 h following competition, increases in plasma concentrations of creatine kinase can last for up to 5 days post-match. Well-developed physical qualities may minimise post-match fatigue and facilitate recovery. Ultimately, the literature highlights that players require a broad range of physical and technical skills developed through specific training. This review evaluates the demands of the modern game, drawing on research that has used GPS technology. These findings highlight that preparing players based on the average demands of competition is likely to leave them underprepared for the most demanding passages of play. As such, coaches should incorporate drills that replicate the most intense repeated high-intensity demands of competition in order to prepare players for the worst-case scenarios expected during match-play.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2017 01:37
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2021 05:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: athletic injuries; body composition; competitive behavior; fatigue; geographic information systems; humans; motor skills; muscle strength; physical education and training; physical endurance; risk factors; running; soccer; task performance and analysis
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
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