Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Analysis of Physical Load among Professional Soccer Players during Matches with Respect to Field Position

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Analysis of Physical Load among Professional Soccer Players during Matches with Respect to Field Position

Article excerpt


One of the requirements put on soccer players is to cope with physical load during a match. Physical activity means any movement performed thanks to contracting skeletal muscles. It leads to increased energy expenditure of an individual (Caspersen, Powell, & Christenson, 1985) and is determined by duration, frequency, intensity and type of muscle contraction (Howley, 2001). In sport games, physical activity can be described as repeating short intervals of physical activity at high or maximum intensity, alternating with intervals of lower intensity or physical rest that is regenerative in nature. Thus, in soccer we speak about intermittent load. Hoff and Helgerud (2004) states that individual technique, tactics and physical fitness are important determinants in evaluating differences in soccer performance. The course of a soccer game is variable and a player's performance is influenced by several variables, such as field position (Di Salvo et al., 2007), cultural differences (Rienzi, Drust, Reilly, Carter, & Martin, 2000), level of the game (Mohr, Krustrup, & Bangsbo, 2003), team quality (Rampinini, Coutts, Castagna, Sassi, & Impellizzeri, 2007), exertion (Carling, Espie, Le Gall, Bloomfield, & Jullien, 2010), substitution (Carling et al., 2010) , physical fitness level (Krustrup et al., 2003; Maly, Zahalka, & Mala, 2011; Malý, Zahálka, & Malá, 2014; Malý, Zahálka, Malá, Hrasky, & Gryc, 2014) age (Da Silva, Kirkendall, & Neto, 2007; Malý, Zahálka, Malá, et al., 2014) and period of the season (Lehnert, Psotta, Chvojka, & De Ste Croix, 2014). Each player has different physical abilities, technical skills, tactical thinking and psychological characteristics and therefore he has his own role in the team. The coach's task is to use these predispositions in each player (selecting the correct disposition and game system). This leads to an individual approach on the part of the coach regarding the players both in training and real matches (Bangsbo, 1995). The players perform high intensity running over short distances with focus on quick restoration of the body in a short period. In a soccer match, which is characterized by intermittent physical load, high demands are put on aerobic capacity. Some authors (Bangsbo, 1994; Mohr et al., 2003) reported that players are able to run 9 - 12 km during a match. High load intensity is a crucial element distinguishing players of elite and lower levels. Elite level players perform 2 - 3 km higher in running intensity (> 15 km/h) and 0.6 km in sprint (> 20 km/h) (Iaia, Rampinini, & Bangsbo, 2009). The rest of the match, which accounts for approximately 80 - 90 % of performance, is made up of lower or medium activities (Bangsbo, 1994; Rienzi et al., 2000). Mohr et al. (2003) reports, in professional players, that central defenders cover smaller total distances and perform fewer high intensity runs during the match in comparison to players in other field positions. Compared with a central defender, fullbacks perform much more sprints and their total covered distance is performed at high intensity. Attackers cover a total distance at similar intensity to fullbacks. The number of sprints in attackers is considerably greater than in midfielders or defenders and their total covered distance is smaller, too. Midfielders undergo similar physical load during the match as fullbacks and attackers, in terms of intensity, however, total covered distance is greater and number of sprints lower (Bangsbo, 1994; Bangsbo, Norregaard, & Thorso, 1991). There are also individual differences among players of the same playing positions in the same team (Mohr et al., 2003).

The main aim of the study was to find out the level of internal physical load of elite soccer players during a training match and to detect differences among the field positions from the perspective of their load during the game.

Material & methods


The screened sample was composed of elite professional soccer teams (the winner of the Czech soccer league, n = 13, age = 23±3. …

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