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The reliability of Functional Movement Screening (FMS) and in-season changes in physical function and performance among elite rugby league playersFunctional Movement Screening (FMS) comprises seven tests that assess fundamental movement characteristics of athletes. However, the reliability of the FMS protocol and its sensitivity to changes in physical performance has not been appropriately investigated. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the real-time reliability of the FMS protocol and to establish changes in both FMS and tests of physical performance throughout a season. The reliability of the FMS components (12 in total) were assessed via a non-parametric statistical approach, based on two trials, separated by one week. Score on the FMS, strength (3 RM full squat, 1 RM bench press), running speed (10 & 40 m) and jump height of 12 elite male under-19 rugby league players was monitored at pre-, mid- and late-season periods. There was no bias found between trials for the FMS, with the majority of components reaching 100% ‘perfect agreement’. There were no effects of season stage on any of the FMS components; however, an improvement in every performance test was apparent between the pre- and both mid- and late-season periods. Our findings demonstrate that the FMS can be reliably administered to elite rugby league players but question its sensitivity to systematic changes in athletic performance.
A three-season comparison of match performances among selected and unselected elite youth rugby league playersThis study compared technical actions, movements, heart rates and perceptual responses of selected and unselected youth rugby league players during matches (under-15 to under-17). The players’ movements and heart rates were assessed using 5 Hz Global Positioning Systems (GPS), while their technical actions were analysed using video analysis. The maturity of each player was predicted before each season for statistical control. There were no differences (P > 0.05) between selected and unselected players in the under-15 or the under-17 age groups for any variables. However, in the under-16 group, the selected players (57.1 ± 11.9 min) played for longer than the unselected players (44.1 ± 12.3 min; P = 0.017; ES = 1.08 ± CI = 0.87), and covered more distance (5,181.0 ± 1063.5 m cf. 3942.6 ± 1,108.6m, respectively; P = 0.012; ES = 1.14 ± CI = 0.88) and high intensity distance (1,808.8 ± 369.3 m cf. 1,380.5 ± 367.7 m, respectively; P = 0.011; ES = 1.16 ± CI = 0.88). Although successful carries per minute was higher in the selected under-15 group, there were no other differences (P > 0.05) in match performance relative to playing minutes between groups. Controlling for maturity, the less mature, unselected players from the under-16 group performed more high-intensity running (P < 0.05). Our findings question the use of match- related measurements in differentiating between selected and unselected players, showing that later maturing players were unselected, even when performing greater high-intensity running during matches.