Profile of position movement demands in elite junior Australian rules footballers Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated the positional movement patterns in elite junior Australian Football (AF). Thirty players (17.1 ± 0.9 years) participating in this study were tracked over seven home games of the regular 2006 Victorian junior (Under 18) league season. Using lapsed-time video analysis, each position for an entire match was videotaped on three separate occasions over the course of the season. Data analysed included the number of individual efforts, duration and frequency of efforts; distance and percentage time for the classifications of standing, walking jogging, running and sprinting. Results showed that the midfield position travelled the greatest distance (4173 ± 238 m per quarter; p < 0.05; ES = .94) whilst the full forward/full back travelled the least (2605 ± 348 m per quarter, p < 0.05, ES = 1.21). For all positions, walking or jogging accounted for the greatest number of efforts (45-55%), conversely running and sprinting accounted for 5-13% of match efforts. The majority of efforts across all classifications were between 0-3.99 s. The data from this study provides further evidence that AF is an intermittent sport characterised by high intensity movements separated by low intensity movements at a ratio of one high intensity effort every 12-40 s. However, careful interpretation of the data is required when training junior AF players for specific positions, given the specific group studied. Key pointsTraining for Australian Football should incorporate repeated sprint bouts rather than long continuous running that reflect the characteristics of the sport.Specialised positional training (involving distances and repetitions) can be prescribed to prepare junior athletes for specialist roles in senior level Australian Football.Differences between elite junior and senior Australian football provides further evidence to coaches that junior athletes should not be trained as adults.

publication date

  • September 1, 2009