Biology of Sport
eISSN: 2083-1862
ISSN: 0860-021X
Biology of Sport
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vol. 40
Review paper

Arbitrary absolute vs. individualized running speed thresholds in team sports: A scoping review with evidence gap map

Filipe Manuel Clemente
1, 2
Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo
Marco Beato
Jason Moran
Adam Kawczynski
Piotr Makar
Hugo Sarmento
José Afonso

Escola Superior Desporto e Lazer, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Álvares, 4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Instituto de Telecomunicações, Delegação da Covilhã, Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal
3 Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. School of Physical Therapy. Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences. Universidad Andres Bello. Santiago, Chile
School of Health and Sports Sciences, University of Suffolk, Ipswich, UK
School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, UK
Gdańsk University of Physical Education and Sport, Poland
University of Coimbra, Research Unit for Sport and Physical Activity (CIDAF), Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education, Coimbra, Portugal
Centre of Research, Education, Innovation, and Intervention in Sport (CIFI2D), Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Portugal
Biol Sport. 2023;40(3):919–943
Online publish date: 2023/02/01
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The aims of this scoping review were (i) to characterize the main methodological approaches to assessing individualized running speed thresholds in team sports players; (ii) to assess the use of traditional arbitrary (absolute) thresholds compared to individualized running speed thresholds in team sports players; (iii) to provide an evidence gap map (EGM) about the approaches and study designs employed in investigations in team sports and (iv) to provide directions for future research and practical applications for the strength and conditioning field. Methods studies were searched for in the following databases: (i) PubMed; (ii) Scopus; (iii) SPORTDiscus and (iv) Web of Science. The search was conducted on 15/07/2022. Risk of bias was assessed using the Risk of Bias Assessment Tool for Nonrandomized Studies (RoBANS). From 3,195 potentially relevant articles, 36 were eligible for inclusion in this review. Of the 36 included articles, 27 (75%) focused on the use of arbitrary and individualized running speed thresholds to describe the locomotor demands (e.g., high intensity running) of players. Thirty-four articles used individualized speed running thresholds based on physical fitness assessments (e.g., 40-m linear sprint) or physical performance (e.g., maximal acceleration). This scoping review supported the need for a greater focusto be placed on improving the methodological aspects of using individualized speed running thresholds in team sports. More than just creating alternatives to arbitrary thresholds, it is essential to increase the replicability of methodological conditions whilst ensuring that research comparing the most adequate measures and approaches to individualization takes into consideration the population and context of each study.

sports, athletic performance, geographic information systems, soccer, football, exercise test, human physical conditioning

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