Sports Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 1025–1044 | Cite as

Physiological and Metabolic Responses of Repeated-Sprint Activities

Specific to Field-Based Team Sports
  • Matt SpencerEmail author
  • David Bishop
  • Brian Dawson
  • Carmel Goodman
Review Article


Field-based team sports, such as soccer, rugby and hockey are popular worldwide. There have been many studies that have investigated the physiology of these sports, especially soccer. However, some fitness components of these field-based team sports are poorly understood. In particular, repeated-sprint ability (RSA) is one area that has received relatively little research attention until recent times. Historically, it has been difficult to investigate the nature of RSA, because of the unpredictability of player movements performed during field-based team sports. However, with improvements in technology, time-motion analysis has allowed researchers to document the detailed movement patterns of team-sport athletes. Studies that have published time-motion analysis during competition, in general, have reported the mean distance and duration of sprints during field-based team sports to be between 10–20m and 2–3 seconds, respectively. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these studies have not reported the specific movement patterns of RSA, which is proposed as an important fitness component of team sports. Furthermore, there have been few studies that have investigated the physiological requirements of one-off, short-duration sprinting and repeated sprints (≪10 seconds duration) that is specific to field-based team sports. This review examines the limited data concerning the metabolic changes occurring during this type of exercise, such as energy system contribution, adenosine triphosphate depletion and resynthesis, phosphocreatine degradation and resynthesis, glycolysis and glycogenolysis, and purine nucleotide loss. Assessment of RSA, as a training and research tool, is also discussed.


Rugby Union Sprint Repetition Recovery Duration Australian Rule Football Sprint Duration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matt Spencer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • David Bishop
    • 1
  • Brian Dawson
    • 1
  • Carmel Goodman
    • 1
  1. 1.Team Sport Research Group, School of Human Movement and Exercise ScienceThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyAustralian Institute of SportCanberraAustralia

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