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dc.contributor.advisorTwist, Craig
dc.contributor.advisorHighton, Jamie
dc.contributor.authorFairbank, Matthew
dc.identifier.citationFairbank, M. (2023). An Examination of the Field-Based Training Practices in European Super League’s first Quadruple Winning Champions [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.en_US
dc.description.abstractUsing a case study approach, the primary aim of this thesis was to develop an understanding of field-based training practices of a successful professional rugby league team. The research findings were applied to inform the coaching practices of the club but also offered insight that might be of interest more widely given the success of the team over an extended period. Chapter 4 quantified the types of training used during a preseason by the team. There was a 4-week increase in external load, followed by a “regeneration week” in week 5 before an increase in load during week 6. A weekly cycle also emerged with Monday primarily comprising Rugby Skill drills and Speed drills, Tuesday largely Rugby Skill based alongside Conditioning and Game-Based Training, Thursday was a mix of training types with Friday primarily consisting of Game-Based Training that also coincided with the week’s highest values for total distance, high-speed running, and high metabolic distance. Chapter 5 examined the associations between the types of training in preseason and improvements in intermittent running performance (i.e., prone Yo-Yo IR1). The intensity (r = 0.61; 95% CI 0.18, 0.84) and PlayerLoadTM (r = 0.44; 95% CI -0.05, 0.76) during Game-Based Training and high-speed running (r = 0.61; 95% CI 0.18, 0.84) in Conditioning had positive associations with the mean change in prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance (200 ± 143 m [18.1 ± 13.5%]). Total duration of Game-Based Training had a negative association with change in prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance (r = -0.57; 95% CI -0.82, -0.12). These data enable the manipulation of training practices to target specific external metrics (e.g., intensity, PlayerLoadTM, high-speed running) when improvements in intermittent running capacity of professional rugby league players is the desired goal. Chapter 6 examined the differences in external and internal load of field-based training between the three different in-season match-day microcycles and assessed the differences in external demands of matches between the microcycles. Game-Based Training contributed the most to external (total distance, high metabolic distance and PlayerLoadTM) and internal load (highest HRmax, time spent in HR band 5 and HR band 6) for the main training day in long (MD-5), medium (MD-4), and short (MD-2) turnarounds. Both short (86.7 ± 7.9 m.min-1) and medium (86.5 ± 10.9 m.min-1) turnaround matches resulted in lower intensity values than long turnarounds (89.5 ± 7.6m.min-1; P < 0.05). No other differences in external demands were observed between the 3 different match-day microcycles. The consistency in match-day external demands is a desirable outcome as the training week has effectively prepared athletes to perform in match. Additionally, the extensive use of Game-Based Training allowed for the maintenance of physical qualities whilst technically and tactically developing and preparing players for competition. Chapter 7 examined the effect altering match rules (because of COVID-19) had on the external demands of match play. There were increases in whole team high-speed running (r = 0.09; 95% CI 0.02, 0.15 c.f. r = 0.29; 95% CI 0.20, 0.38) and an increased ball-in-play time (52.16 ± 5.01 min c.f. 55.58 ± 4.04 min). These changes highlight the impact of rule changes on the movement demands of professional rugby league matches and the implications for the design of appropriate training practices to better prepare players. Chapter 8 assessed the effects altering the area size per-person of Game-Based Training and the length of Conditioning drills has on key external load metrics. The study showed that increasing the area of Game-Based Training by 10 m2 per-person resulted in athletes covering greater distance (539.3 ± 49.6 m c.f. 500.9 ± 62.9 m & 555.4 ± 55.9 m c.f. 491.4 ± 40.1 m), higher intensities (132.1 ± 12.1 m.min-1 c.f. 122.4 ± 15.4 m.min-1 & 136.8 ± 13.8 m.min-1 c.f. 121.4 ± 9.9 m.min-1), and greater high metabolic distances (122.4 ± 32.0 m c.f. 81.8 ± 22.9 m & 153.0 ± 33.0 m c.f. 120.3 ± 27.1 m). However, the smaller area Game-Based Training showed significantly greater cognitive load (dRPE-C; 73.2 ± 7.8 c.f. 56.3 ± 17.9 AU), possibly due to increased technical/tactical involvements. Increasing the length of conditioning drills resulted in an increase in all external metrics for the shuttle runs, with the linear run experiencing an increase in intensity but a reduction in total distance and PlayerLoadTM. Chapter 8 also found that the coefficient of variation (%CV) between-players during Game-Based Training was higher than previously reported in soccer, with high-speed distance found to have the highest level of variability (23 – 58%), whereas linear running Conditioning drills had much lower variability (4 – 5 %). Game-Based Training is an effective training method, however the variability experienced could leave players under or over trained if this method was solely used, highlighting the importance of using it as a part of balanced programme.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Chesteren_US
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International*
dc.subjectRugby Leagueen_US
dc.subjectField-based trainingen_US
dc.subjectEuropean Super Leagueen_US
dc.titleAn Examination of the Field-Based Training Practices in European Super League’s first Quadruple Winning Championsen_US
dc.typeThesis or dissertationen_US
dc.rights.embargoreasonAwaiting Awards Boarden_US
dc.rights.usageThe full-text may be used and/or reproduced in any format or medium, without prior permission or charge, for personal research or study, educational, or not-for-profit purposes provided that: - A full bibliographic reference is made to the original source - A link is made to the metadata record in ChesterRep - The full-text is not changed in any way - The full-text must not be sold in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders. - For more information please email

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