Player movement patterns and game activities in the Australian Football League

Brian Dawson, R. Hopkinson, B. Appleby, G. Stewart, C. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


In the Australian Football League (AFL), specific game movements and activities have not been studied since the 1970s and 1980s and the game is now much faster than it was 2030 years ago(4). Using lapsed-time video analysis, AFL players from five different positions (full forward/full back, centre half forward/centre half back, small forward/small back, mid fielders and ruckmen) had their movement patterns (stand, walk, jog, fast-run, splint, change of direction) and game activities (possessions, ruck duels, ground ball contests, shepherds, spoils, bumps and tackles) recorded in two games each in the 2000 season. A descriptive analysis of the results was undertaken. The main findings were: full forward/full back were most different from the other positions, as they were seen to stand more and jog and fast-run less; ruckmen and midfielders were involved in more game activities than the other positions; for all positions, there were more than 150 high intensity movements (fast-run plus sprint) in the game, but these accounted for only 4-6% of total movement time; virtually all of the high intensity movements lasted for <6 secs; more than half of all sprints involved at least one change of direction, mostly within the 0-90degrees arc (left or right) and all ground ball contests took <6 secs, with midfielders having 2-3 times as many as the other positions. Improvements in specific pre-season and in-season training practices for different positions should be possible after careful interpretation of these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-291
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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