Contextualised Peak Periods Of Play In English Premier League Matches

Ju W., Doran D., Hawkins R., Gómez-Díaz A., Martin-Garcia A., Ade J.D., Laws A., Evans M., Bradley P.S.

The present study aimed to determine the physical-tactical trends of elite players/teams during peak 1-, 3- and 5-min periods of match-play. A total of 50 English Premier League matches (n = 583 player observations) were analyzed by coding the players’ physical-tactical activities through the synchronization of tracking data and video.

The contextualized data showed that during the peak periods (i.e., the most demanding passage of play), players/teams covered the largest distances for ‘Recovery Run’ (28–37%) out of possession and ‘Support Play’ (9–13%) in possession. In the following periods, players covered less high-intensity distance versus the average with a more pronounced decline in the next 1-min period than longer duration 3- and 5-min periods (48% vs ~25–30%, ES: 0.4–0.5, P < 0.01); team data showed similar trends with different relative patterns (31% vs 17–30%, ES: 0.5–0.8, P < 0.01). After peak periods, players/teams performed 20–53% less high-intensity distances for ‘Covering’ and ‘Recovery Run’ (ES: 0.2–0.7, P < 0.01) out of possession. However, players covered 28–91% less distance for ‘Run with Ball’ (ES: 0.1–0.5, P < 0.05) when in possession. Some physical-tactical actions exhibited inconsistency in different time durations of the next periods; however, these physical-tactical data were position-specific. This may signify that each position has certain physical-tactical actions to execute even after the peak periods, especially when they are tactically required to do so. As the data demonstrate unique physical-tactical trends of players/teams during the peak and next periods of play, this could help practitioners prescribe position- and player-specific drills and better understand transient decrements in high-intensity running after intense passages of play.

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