The activity profile of competition and training in elite netball has not been comprehensively reported in the literature.
To measure and analyze player load in elite netballers during matches and training sessions. The primary research question was, How does player load vary between playing positions in a match and between matches and training sessions?
Various measures of player load were recorded in 12 elite professional netballers with a mean ± SD age of 26 ± 4.9 y and height of 183.2 ± 8.7 cm. Player load was assessed using a published method that uses accelerometry. Load was represented as total load in arbitrary units (au), playing intensity (au/min), and relative time spent in each of 4 playing intensity zones (low, low to moderate, moderate, and high). Data from 15 games and up to 17 training sessions were analyzed for each player.
Player load in matches for the goal-based positions (goal shooter, goal keeper, and goal defense) tended to be lower than the attacking and wing-based positions (goal attack, wing attack, wing defense, and center). The difference was largely due to the amount of time spent in low-intensity activity. Playing intensity of matches was greater than in training sessions; however, the total time spent in moderate- to high-intensity activities was not practically different.
Accelerometry is a valuable method of measuring player load in netball, and the present results provide new information about the activity profile of different playing positions.