Do we train how we play? Investigating skill patterns in Australian football

Danielle Ireland, Brian Dawson, Peter Peeling, Leanne Lester, Jarryd Heasman, Brent Rogalski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine the frequency of task-constraints between game-scenario training drills and competition games for all disposals, by considering, temporal, distance, pressure and related situational factors. Methods: The skill patterns of elite-level Australian football players (n = 33) were compared relative to playing environment (training/games), disposal type (handballs/kicks), and further categorised by ‘state of play’ factors. Results: Game measures relating to high-intensity pressure applied to the ball-carrier and receiving players were significantly under-represented during training, particularly for kicks (all p < 0.001). Physical pressure acts such as tackling were more frequent in games (p < 0.001). Further, kicks executed in 0-1 s also occurred more frequently in games compared to training (p < 0.001). For handballs, most (8/9) constraint frequencies were higher at training than in games (p < 0.03–0.001). Conclusion: It is likely that for training to more closely resemble games, ball-disposals (especially kicking) must be produced under highly contested conditions and executed within minimal time. These findings may enhance current training practices in the Australian football league, as well as assist in the development and prescription of innovative training drills to better prepare players for the specific game demands they experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-274
Number of pages10
JournalScience and Medicine in Football
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019

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