Energy Cost and Metabolic Power in Elite Soccer: A New Match Analysis Approach

Cristian Osgnach, Stefano Poser, Riccardo Bernardini, Roberto Rinaldo, Pietro Enrico Di Prampero

Title: Refining Match Performance Assessment in Professional Soccer: Incorporating Accelerations into Metabolic Demands

Purpose: This study aimed to enhance the assessment of soccer players’ metabolic demands during matches by incorporating accelerations alongside traditional measures of high intensities based on running speed.

Methods: The study utilized video match analysis to assess the metabolic demands of professional soccer players. Accelerations were considered alongside running speed, with the energy cost of accelerated running estimated based on previous research equating it to running uphill at a constant speed. Individual parameters were introduced to customize performance profiles, particularly concerning energy expenditure from anaerobic sources. Data from 399 Serie A players during the 2007–2008 season were analyzed.

Results: The mean match distance covered was 10,950 ± 1044 m, with an average energy expenditure of 61.12 ± 6.57 kJ/kg. Total distance covered at high power output (920 W/kg) accounted for approximately 26% of the total distance and 42% of the total energy expenditure. High intensities, expressed as high-power output, were found to be two to three times larger than those based solely on running speed.

Conclusions: This approach to match performance assessment allowed for the estimation of instantaneous metabolic power, thereby redefining the concept of “high intensity” based on actual metabolic power rather than speed alone. By incorporating accelerations into the analysis, a more comprehensive understanding of players’ metabolic demands during matches can be achieved, providing valuable insights for training and performance optimization.

View this research