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    A classification of specific movement skills and patterns during sprinting in English Premier League soccer

    Caldbeck, Paul and Dos’Santos, Thomas (2022) A classification of specific movement skills and patterns during sprinting in English Premier League soccer. PLoS One, 17 (11). e0277326-e0277326. ISSN 1932-6203

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    The aim of this study was to quantify and contextualize sprinting actions (≥ 7.0 m/s) of English Premier League (EPL) soccer match-play with respect to the movement skills and patterns employed. Video footage (3.2.6, Premier League DVMS, ChyronHego) and raw video-based locomotor coordinates of 901 sprint efforts from 10 matches of an EPL soccer team (2017–2018), were evaluated using the Football Sprint Movement Classification System pertaining to transition, initiation, and actualisation of sprint movement skills and patterns. The results from a one-way ANOVA or independent t-test revealed that, generally, most sprinting actions begun from a linear initiation position compared to lateral or rear (63%, d = 5.0–5.3, p < 0.01), without a change of direction (COD) (48%, d = 4.9–5.6, p < 0.01) compared to lateral, front-back, back-front, and from forward travelling (linear and diagonal) transition movements (68%, d< = 2.1–5.7, p < 0.01) compared to lateral or rear. Additionally, most sprints were initiated with a rolling acceleration (66%, d = 3.2, p < 0.01) compared to explosive acceleration, often performed with a degree of curvature (86%, d = 7.2, p < 0.01) compared to linear, with torso rotation (62%, d = 2.7, p < 0.01) compared to no rotation, and typically end with an action such as duelling with an opponent or involvement with the ball (49%). Additionally, the sprint movement characteristics proportions slightly differed across playing positions. Overall, this study confirms that sprints during EPL soccer matches are initiated from and performed with a variety of different movement skills and patterns in relation to different sport-specific outcomes. This data can be used to assist in the development of more effective physical preparation programmes, inform position-specific contextualized sprinting drills to achieve better specificity and potential transfer of training, while also informing speed testing protocols.

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