Physical match demands across different playing positions during transitional play and high-pressure activities in elite soccer.

Article


Bortnik L, Bruce-Low, S., Burger, J., Alexander, J., Harper, D., Morgans, R., Carling, C., McDaid, K. and Rhodes, D. 2024. Physical match demands across different playing positions during transitional play and high-pressure activities in elite soccer. Biology of Sport. 41 (2), p. 73–82. https://doi.org/10.5114/biolsport.2024.131815
AuthorsBortnik L, Bruce-Low, S., Burger, J., Alexander, J., Harper, D., Morgans, R., Carling, C., McDaid, K. and Rhodes, D.
Abstract

This study explored physical match demands across different playing positions during transitional play, to inform the need for position-specific training interventions. Data was collected using 10 Hz GPS units from 10 competitive matches including 23 elite soccer players of the 1st Polish Division (Ekstraklasa) in season 2020–21. A total of 4249 positional observations were made; center backs (n = 884), full backs (n = 972), central defensive midfielders (n = 236), central attacking midfielders (n = 270), central midfielders (n = 578), wingers (n = 778), and attackers (n = 531). Match data reflected distances covered per minute (m·min−1): total distance (TD), high-speed running distance (HSRD, > 19.8 km·h⁻¹), sprint distance (SD, > 25.2 km·h⁻¹), and the frequency of high-intensity accelerations and decelerations (A+D, > 3 m·s⁻²; n·min⁻¹). Total absolute sprint distance (SD, > 25.2 km·h⁻¹) and total relative sprint distance (Rel B5) were also quantified. A univariate analysis of variance revealed position-specific differences. Significant effects of position were found for all analysed metrics during transitional play (large ESs; p < .001). Central attacking midfielders displayed higher TD (m·min⁻¹), fullbacks covered highest SD (m·min⁻¹) and wingers achieved the highest A+D (n ·min⁻¹) (p ≤ 0.05). Centre backs displayed the lowest physical outputs when compared to all other positions, except in A+D (n ·min⁻¹) during defensive transitions (p ≤ 0.05). Attackers displayed the highest physical metrics during high pressure activities (p ≤ 0.05). Coaches should carefully consider positional transitional demands to better inform training design. With specific attention paid to drills that replicate game play.

JournalBiology of Sport
Journal citation41 (2), p. 73–82
ISSN0860-021X
Year2024
Publisher Termedia Publishing
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5114/biolsport.2024.131815
Publication dates
Online04 Oct 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Jan 2024
Copyright holder© 2023, Institute of Sport - National Research Institute
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