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LTPD Pathway
Functional Screening
Anatomical Adaptation
Game Demands
Conditioning for Rugby
Periodisation in Rugby

The demands of the game

Time-motion analysis

The benefits of time-motion analysis

Time-motion analysis provides an objective measure and evaluation of the physical demands of the game of Rugby. Studies completed to date have sought to quantify the locomotion, speed and contact activities that take place in the game. In simple terms, ‘time-motion’ studies use non-invasive methods of measurement such as video tracking in recording the motion and movement of a player or players, and the duration of a given bout of activity during match play.

The limitations of time-motion analysis

Traditional time-motion analysis describes the main physical activities and most frequent activities that take place during match play. It does not describe the extent of physical force applied during contact within match play. For example, time-motion analysis does not quantify the impact of being tackled or tackling or the impact and force generated during other intense physical activities such as scrummaging, rucking and mauling. The efficiency of movement is also not described. The speed of changing direction or the rate of acceleration and deceleration and the pathway of running patterns used are not described using traditional video based time-motion analyses.

However, recent developments in Global Positioning System monitoring which include the use of in-built accelerometers can provide information and data on these important force and velocity metrics.

Further, it must be stressed that the game of Rugby places demands on technical, tactical and psychological factors over and above those that can be described in a physical time-motion analysis. Players will have different abilities in technical and psychological domains and these will also influence the way they react to any given situation during match play. Players also vary in terms of strength, power and speed and indeed these individual differences and other differences in terms of courage, and durability all need to be borne in mind when planning training and practice.

While this topic focuses mainly on the physical fitness development of the player, it recognises the importance of attending to all of the above areas in the process of preparing players to play.

For the moment, let us describe the information gained through time-motion studies of Rugby match play.