Monitoring Strategies for Predicting Position-Specific Match Performance in State-Level Netball Athletes

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Graham, Scott (2019) Monitoring Strategies for Predicting Position-Specific Match Performance in State-Level Netball Athletes. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Introduction: Monitoring athlete performance in training and competition can assist conditioning professionals and sport scientists to enhance performance outcomes whilst also minimising the risk of injury, illness and non-functional overreaching. Yet the monitoring of athletes to improve position-specific match performance has never been investigated in the team-sport of netball. Aims: This thesis aims to examine the extent to which three common forms of athlete monitoring relate to match performance in state-level netball athletes, providing practitioners with guidelines for maximising performance outcomes. Study 1 - Purpose: To determine any substantial differences in physical capacities between positional groups within the state-level netball cohort of this thesis, to justify an investigation into position-specific monitoring strategies for enhancing match performance. Methods: Forty-six state-level netball athletes completed physical capacity assessments in the second week of their preseason, over two-seasons. Tests included stature, 20 m sprint (with 5 m and 10 m splits), 505-change-of-direction, countermovement jump, single-leg bounding and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level One. Results: There were numerous substantial differences between positions with mid-court athletes typically displaying the greatest overall physical capacity followed by defenders then shooters. Study 2 - Purpose: To investigate the reliability of a tracking metric (Player LoadTM) within a court-based sport environment, to determine its efficacy for objectively investigating activity profiles within state-level netball matches by position. Methods: Eighteen state-level netball athletes’ accelerations were tracked with two accelerometers, each housed within an athlete tracking unit (OptimEye S5, Catapult Sports, Australia), taped together with axes aligned during netball match-play. Results: The inter-device Player LoadTM was reliable with the typical error was 5.9 (90% compatibility limits (CL) 5.2 to 6.7), with the CV 4.8% being well below the SWD of 8.2%. Study 3 - Purpose: To utilise the Player LoadTM metric to determine substantial differences between positions by analysing the peak intensities during state-level netball matches, to further justify an investigation into position-specific monitoring strategies for enhancing match performance. Methods: Twenty-eight netball athletes wore an accelerometer (S5 Optimeye, Catapult sports) for all matches, in one season. Peak Player LoadTM was quantified over 30-seconds and one to ten-minute time periods. Results: Across all time periods post 30-seconds, only one comparison was not meaningfully different i.e., three-thirds v two-thirds at the one-minute timepoint (effect size: 0.27, CL -0.05 to 0.60). Study 4 - Purpose: Following a strong justification for investigating position-specific monitoring strategies to enhance match performance, this study aimed to determine the extent to which performance indicators, coach ratings and their combination predict match outcome in netball. Methods: Two seasons worth (39-40 matches) of performance indicators and coach ratings were collected for players of a state-level netball club with one team in each of three divisions (27 championship, 23 division-one, and 19 19-&-under females). There were five performance measures being coach weighted performance indicators (CWPI) and a novel equal weighting (EWPI); coach ratings of overall performance; multiple linear regression was also used to derive correlations for combinations of coach rating with the CWPI and with the EWPI. Results: For team performance the combination of EWPI and coach rating was the strongest predictor of points differential. No measure of position-specific match performance was consistently related to points differential across all three teams. Study 5 Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which three monitoring strategies predict five measures of position-specific match performance. Methods: State-level netball athletes (n = 46, age = 20.29 ± 4.15 years) were monitored over a two-year period and were split into three position groups (defenders, mid-courts and shooters). Training load (sessional rate-of-perceived exertion), wellness questionnaires and CMJ were collected. All five predictor measures from Study 4 were the criterion for position-specific match performance. Results: Training load dose was the only monitoring tool related to match performance for all three position groups. There were no substantial relationships between wellness questionnaires and match performance for any group. Only shooters were found to have substantial relationships between CMJ and match performance. Thesis conclusions: Netball athletes have substantial differences in physical capacities dependent on positions played. The peak intensities reached during match-play is also substantially different for positions. There is no superior approach for match performance assessment in netball for predicting points differential. The monitoring of training load doses provides important information for coaching and conditioning staff to predict future match performance for all position groups. The use of wellness questionnaire data does not provide useful information for predicting an athlete’s match performance. Finally, only shooters demonstrated a relationship between CMJ and match performance. The findings of this thesis indicate that to enhance match performance in netball, a position-specific monitoring approach is required.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords performance; team sport; netball; netball players; physical capacity assessment; monitoring; coach ratings
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