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Caldbeck, P (2020) CONTEXTUAL SPRINTING IN PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The demands of football are well researched. The sport is typically characterised by periods of low-intensity running interspersed by intermittent, intense, high-velocity multidirectional running(Shephard, 1999; Bloomfield et al., 2007; Bradley et al., 2009, 2013; Bush et al., 2015). Recently there has been substantial research in the area focused on quantifying the locomotor demands of football. However, some have questioned this abundance of research as potentially being reductionist and one-dimensional in nature(Ade et al., 2016; Bradley and Ade, 2018). This has led to suggestions for the application of a more integrated model whereby morec ontextualised data supplements these locomotor outputs to provide a more holistic view of match demands. Sprinting has been noted as crucial to the outcome of a match(Faude et al., 2012). Alongside this,it has been suggested as the key injury mechanism behind the most frequent muscular injury (Hamstring strain) in football(Schache et al., 2012; Schuermans et al., 2017). Thus, sprinting is a key area for performance enhancement and injury prevention. It is anecdotally accepted that sprinting in football differs from that of track and field. Yet, surprisingly little is known beyond the aforementioned locomotor data. It has been observed that high-intensity running in football is highly variable in how and why it occurs during a match(Ade et al., 2016). Therefore, the current thesis sought to provide a comprehensibly detailed description of sprinting in football. Particular focus was placed upon defining how and why sprinting occurs.

Study 1(Chapter 3), therefore, sought to develop effective and subsequently reliable means of quantifying how and why sprinting occurs in a football match. Two classification systems were accordingly developed. Firstly, to quantify the movements associated with sprinting in football. And secondly, to quantify the tactical-contexts within which these sprints occurred. Through the application of a previously outlined model, both systems were successfully developed. These were then both deemed adequately reliable for their application in Premier League football. The developed systems were thus judged acceptable for application in subsequent research.

Study 2(Chapter 4) aimed to classify the specific movements associated with sprinting in Premier League football. A previously developed classification system (Chapter 3), The Sprint Movement Classification System, was applied to classify and quantify all movements present in sprinting during football. The analysis was categorised in three main areas: Transition Movements, Initiation Movements and Actualisation Movements. This allowed for a comprehensive description of sprinting and its constituent movements. Sprinting in football was found to consist of a large variety of different movement patterns. These findings suggest that training to enhance match sprinting performance should not be confined to traditional track and field-based sprinting programmes. Practice should reflect the specific-nature of football-based sprinting.

Study 3 (Chapter 5) then sought to explain further why these different movements may occur during sprinting in football. The aim was to define the tactical-context in which these efforts happen, thus attempting to explain why sprinting occurs. To achieve this, a previously developed classification system (Chapter 3) was employed, The Sprint Tactical-Context Classification System. This system focused on two key areas: Phase of Play and Tactical Outcome. This allowed for the sprint effort to be contextualised within the match itself, providing a comprehensive understanding of why sprinting occurs. The study found that sprinting occurs across a variety of different phases of play and tactical outcomes. Thus, the findings suggest that key contexts such as Closing Down, Covering and Run the Channel should be the focus of training programs seeking to enhance sprinting ability during a match. Drill design should reflect the findings of the most common contexts in which sprints occur to ensure transfer to match play through enhanced specificity.

In summary, the findings of the current thesis provide a deeper understanding of the specific nature of sprinting in football. The results should be used accordingly to enhance training programme design. Sprinting is characterised by a variety of different movement patterns and occurs within a wide variety of contexts during a match. This more holistic understanding of sprinting in a football match should assist practitioners in designing highly specific drills and exercises that aim to enhance performance and reduce injury risk. Alongside the scientific research, the doctoral programme sought to achieve development professionally. Within this, aims were set for both research and professional skills. The journey towards these aims is presented periodically throughout the thesis, within the reflective threads. These included growth in general research skills, leadership qualities and the creation of a personal brand within the subject area. Much of these aims were met and developments occurred professionally alongside the scientific research outcomes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sprint, Sprinting, Speed, Contextual, Soccer, Football, Demands, Movement, Tactics
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2020 17:01
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:09
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00013617
Supervisors: Drust, P and Roberts, S
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13617
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