Analysis of Physical Activity Profiles When Running with the Ball in a Professional Soccer Team

Carling, C.

This study aimed to analyze the physical demands associated with running with the ball in professional soccer matches. The research objectives were to determine activity profiles during match-play, examine the effects of fatigue, and investigate differences according to playing position.

Using data from thirty French League 1 matches spanning two competitive seasons, multi-camera computerized tracking was employed to analyze player movements. The study involved 28 players, revealing that, on average, players covered a total distance of 191 ± 38 meters with the ball. The analysis showed that 34.3% of this distance was covered at speeds greater than 19.1 km/h, 25.6% between 14.1 and 19.0 km/h, 12.5% between 11.1 and 14.0 km/h, and 27.6% at speeds exceeding 11.0 km/h.

Key findings included a mean distance covered per possession of 4.2 ± 0.7 meters, with a speed at ball reception of 10.3 ± 0.9 km/h. The mean and peak speed during runs were 12.9 ± 1.0 km/h and 24.9 ± 2.4 km/h, respectively. Additionally, the mean time in possession, duration, and touches per possession were 53.4 ± 8.1 seconds, 1.1 ± 0.1 seconds, and 2.0 ± 0.2, respectively.

Significant differences were observed across playing positions for all variables, indicating that the demands of running with the ball varied depending on the player’s role on the field. Although total distance run did not differ between halves, it varied over the course of matches, notably decreasing just before halftime.

These findings provide valuable insights into the physical and technical requirements associated with running with the ball in professional soccer, which can inform the development of both general and individualized training programs for players.

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