SHANE RICE: How anaerobic speed reserve can get your team championship ready

THE ASR method is something I have researched over the past 18 to 24 months. Combining MAS and MSS is a much more accurate way of conditioning and profiling the players for the championship ahead. I would only use ASR for the summer, mainly because I find it difficult to find true MSS in the early pre-season.

Before diving into the fascinating world of physiology, let’s establish some key definitions that will frame our chat:

Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS): The slowest speed at which an athlete reaches their V02 max.

Maximum Sprint Speed (MSS): The maximum speed an athlete can sprint.

Anaerobic Speed Reserve (ASR): The speed range between MAS and MSS.

Filling the glass just above half with water represents your MAS. Adding oil, which sits on top of the water, represents your ASR. The top of the oil marks your MSS.

Let’s put some numbers to this concept. Suppose an athlete’s MAS is 18km/h and their MSS is 30km/h. The ‘oil’ between 18-30km/h represents the ASR.

Gathering Data

Collecting the necessary data involves simple tests. For MSS, you can use GPS data or speed gates. I have used both.

The GPS data is much easier to do with 20-plus players. I would set out a start line, another line at 30 metres and another line at 40 metres.

The player will build to the 30-metre line and max effort sprint to the 40-metre line, collecting their top speed over 10 metres. I would not do this from a dead stop. For MAS, a 1.2km time trial can be used, where the athlete runs the distance as fast as possible. The speeds from these tests allow you to create a bar chart and compare results over time or between athletes.

Practical Implications

Athletes with the same MAS but different MSS scores demonstrate the importance of considering ASR in training. For example, let’s compare two athletes, Rian O Neill and Con O’ Callaghan, both with a MAS of 18km/h. Rian has an MSS of 30km/h, while Con MSS is 36km/h. Thus, their ASR is 12km/h and 18km/h, respectively.

If conditioning training were prescribed based solely on MAS, Rian would work closer to his MSS than Con, leading to potential overexertion for Rian or undertraining for Con. Incorporating ASR allows coaches to optimise conditioning work.

Training Examples

Consider these two scenarios:

Example 1: I prescribe running at 120% MAS. For both Rian and Con, this equates to 21.6km/h.

Example 2: I prescribe running at 100% MAS + 20% ASR. Rian runs at 20.4km/h and Con runs at 21.6km/h.

In the second example, accounting for ASR ensures Rian does not overwork during training. This nuanced approach involves prescribing intervals based on ASR percentages rather than just MAS percentages.

Instead of 15-second intervals at 120% MAS, training can be adjusted to 20% of the ASR. Consequently, an athlete with a larger reserve will perform more work or run at higher speeds than an athlete with the same MAS but a smaller reserve.

Optimising Training Based on ASR

Understanding and utilizing ASR allows coaches to group athletes based on their speed profiles, considering muscle fibre types and tailoring conditioning work accordingly.

This approach is particularly valuable in Gaelic Football with diverse athlete types.

By integrating ASR into training programs, coaches can ensure each athlete is optimally challenged, preventing overtraining or undertraining, and ultimately preparing the team for peak performance in championship settings.

The nuanced application of ASR transforms conditioning sessions, aligning them more closely with the physiological capacities of each athlete, thus driving the entire team towards greater success.

Gaelic Athletic Academy

Shane Rice


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