Informing in-season tactical periodisation in team sport: development of a match difficulty index for Super Rugby

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Robertson, Samuel ORCID: 0000-0002-8330-0011 and Joyce, David G (2015) Informing in-season tactical periodisation in team sport: development of a match difficulty index for Super Rugby. Journal of Sports Sciences, 33 (1). 99 - 107. ISSN 0264-0414


In team sports, tactical periodisation refers to the planned manipulation of training loads with the aim of prioritising athlete readiness for matches of greatest importance. Although monitoring of athletes’ physical condition is often used to inform this planning, the direct influence of external factors on match difficulty has not been well quantified. In this study, a ‘match difficulty index’ (MDI) for use in Super Rugby was developed, based on the influence imparted by five external factors on previous match outcomes. Specifically, information relating to match location, days break between matches, time-zone change and opposition ladder position (both current and previous year) were collected for matches played during the 2011–2013 Super Rugby seasons. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess the importance of each of these factors with respect to match outcome (win/loss), with opposition ladder position and match location (home, domestic away or international) exerting the greatest influence on match difficulty. Three separate cross-validated models were constructed, with match outcome classification performance reported as 66.2%, 65.5% and 63.7% respectively. The three MDI models emanating from this study can each be used to inform tactical periodisation program design both prior to and during the regular season.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/02640414.2014.925572
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords prediction; logistic regression; training; competition phase; receiver operating characteristic curve
Citations in Scopus 25 - View on Scopus
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