Differences in Worst-Case Scenarios Calculated by Fixed Length and Rolling Average Methods in Professional Soccer Match-Play

Oliva-Lozano J.M., Martín-Fuentes I., Fortes V., Muyor J.M.

Research Aim:
The aims of this study were to describe the worst-case scenarios (WCS) in professional soccer players calculated by fixed length and rolling average methods with regards to each playing position.

Methods:
The study was conducted over a three-mesocycle competitive period. The WCS of three distance-related variables (total distance covered (TD), high-speed running distance (HSRD), sprint distance (SPD)) in four time windows (1, 3, 5, 10 minutes) were calculated according to playing position (central defender, full-back, midfielder, wide midfielder, and forward) using fixed length and rolling average methods.

Results:
A significant effect of the type of method used to calculate the WCS was observed in TD, HSRD, and SPD. Additionally, there was a significant interaction between the type of method and WCS duration in TD, HSRD, and SPD.

Conclusion:
The use of fixed length methods of different durations significantly underestimated the WCS of TD, HSRD, and SPD across the most common playing positions in professional soccer players. Therefore, the application of rolling averages is recommended for an appropriate WCS analysis in professional soccer match-play.

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