Relationships between opponent ranking and locomotor activity in international field hockey
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 20:18 authored by Carl James, Oliver Gibson, Ash Willmott, Craig Stewart, Aishwar Dhawan
No research has investigated the effect of opponent world ranking (WR) on locomotor activity within modern (post-2015) international men's hockey. A retrospective analysis of 71 matches (vs. 24 opponents, WR# 12 ± 11, WR# 1–86) investigated the relationships between opponent ranking at team and positional levels, on locomotor activity. Data were analysed using linear mixed modelling to; (1) explore relationships between opponent ranking and locomotor activity and (2) to compare between predefined ranking groups (WR# 1–8 ‘HIGHER’ [n = 8], WR# 9–17 ‘SIMILAR’ [n = 8] and WR >#18 ‘LOWER’ [n = 8]), relative to the reference team (WR# 11). Significant relationships were found between opponent world ranking and total distance (β = −6.11; p = 0.003), high-speed running ([HSR], β = −4.87, p < 0.001), sprint distance ([SD], β = −2.41, p < 0.001), sprint efforts ([SE], β = −0.10, p < 0.001) and average speed (β = −0.19, p < 0.001), but not low-speed running (β = −0.94, p = 0.57). When analysed by ranking groups, HSR, SD and SE increased against HIGHER (+12%–14% vs. grand mean, p < 0.05) and reduced against LOWER teams (−15%–18% vs. grand mean, p < 0.05). The largest differences in SD were observed in forwards (HIGHER +14% and LOWER −19%) and defenders (HIGHER +20% and LOWER −18%). In international hockey, average speed is greatest when facing higher-ranked rather than similarly ranked opponents. Furthermore, high-speed but not low-speed activity, is modulated by opponent ranking.
Publication titleInternational Journal of Sports Science and Coaching
- Accepted version