Tactical positioning behaviours in short-track speed skating: A static and dynamic sequence analysis

Andrew Hext*, Florentina Johanna Hettinga, Ciarán McInerney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Tactical positioning is essential for success in short-track speed skating as the race format (direct, head-to-head competition over multiple laps) prioritises finishing position over finishing time. Despite this, current research into tactical positioning treats the race’s laps as discrete, independent events. Accordingly, the aggregate metrics used to summarise each lap’s tactical positioning behaviour do not allow us to explore the sequential nature of the data, e.g., Lap 2 occurs after Lap 1 and before Lap 3. Here, we capture the sequential relationships between laps to investigate tactical positioning behaviours in short-track speed skating. Using intermediate and final rankings from 500 m, 1,000 m, and 1,500 m elite short-track races, we analyse whole-race and sub-race race sequences of group and winner tactical positioning behaviours. This approach, combined with a large dataset of races collected over eight seasons of competition (n = 4,135), provides the most rigorous and comprehensive description of tactical positioning behaviours in short-track speed skating to date. Our results quantify the time-evolving complexity of tactical positioning, offer new thoughts on race strategy, and can help practitioners design more representative learning tasks to enhance skill transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-735
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number8
Early online date26 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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