A comparison of work-rest ratios between professional referees and semi-professional referees with the use of time-motion analysis.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of the study was to assess the physical demands of different standards of referees in rugby union. Ten games (n=10) were analysed through time-motion analysis, using 5 professional referees (n=5) and 5 semi-professional referees (n=5). The movements of each participant were coded through the utilisation of an analysis system (Sportscode, V9, Sportstec Australia) using 10 different speed thresholds. In order to assess reliability, one game was chosen at random and analysed using an intra-operator reliability test. This test indicated that the system observer achieved a very good, level of reliability for Sprinting (k=0.84), jogging (k=0.91) and walking (k=0.88). A series of Mann Whitney U tests were executed to produce the inferential statistics. The results of the study indicated that a mean frequency distribution for professional referees utilised the rest (‘other’) modality 280.2±24.5 significantly less than the semi-professional referees 367.2±32.2 (p=0.006). Jogging forwards was another modality that presented a significant difference, with the professional referees utilising this speed threshold 220.8±35.7 compared to the semi-professionals 191.2±30.4 (p=0.004). Jogging backwards followed, with professional referees using this threshold 57.8±6.4 whereas semi-professional referees counted at 19.8±8.9 (p=0.000). The mean time spent in each threshold presented some significant differences also. Professional referees 1.0±0.0s in the sprinting sideways threshold, compared with the semi-professionals 1.2±1.0s (p=0.05). Walking backwards also presented a significant difference (p=0.16) with professional referees utilising this modality 2.7 ± 1.8s compared with semi-professional referees 2.3±1.8s. Finally jogging backwards presented a significant difference (p=0.001) having professional referees spending 1.6±1.1s compared to the semi-professionals 1.7±1.0s. Furthermore the workrest ratios displayed a similarity between the work rates of professional referees (78%- 22%) and semi-professional referees (76%-24%). To conclude significance was found between the frequency of some of the speed thresholds and the time spent in these thresholds. However it was found that there was no significant difference between the work-rest ratios of the professional and semi-professional referees.
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