Match-to-match variation in physical activity and technical skill measures in professional Australian Football Academic Article uri icon


  • To determine the match-to-match variability in physical activity and technical performance measures in Australian Football, and examine the influence of playing position, time of season, and different seasons on these measures of variability.Longitudinal observational study.Global positioning system, accelerometer and technical performance measures (total kicks, handballs, possessions and Champion Data rank) were collected from 33 players competing in the Australian Football League over 31 matches during 2011-2012 (N=511 observations). The global positioning system data were categorised into total distance, mean speed (mmin(-1)), high-speed running (>14.4 kmh(-1)), very high-speed running (>19.9 kmh(-1)), and sprint (>23.0 kmh(-1)) distance while player load was collected from the accelerometer. The data were log transformed to provide coefficient of variation and the between subject standard deviation (expressed as percentages).Match-to-match variability was increased for higher speed activities (high-speed running, very high-speed running, sprint distance, coefficient of variation %: 13.3-28.6%) compared to global measures (speed, total distance, player load, coefficient of variation %: 5.3-9.2%). The between-match variability was relativity stable for all measures between and within AFL seasons, with only few differences between positions. Higher speed activities (high-speed running, very high-speed running, sprint distance), but excluding mean speed, total distance and player load, were all higher in the final third phase of the season compared to the start of the season.While global measures of physical performance are relatively stable, higher-speed activities and technical measures exhibit a large degree of between-match variability in Australian Football. However, these measures remain relatively stable between positions, and within and between Australian Football League seasons.


publication date

  • 2015