Match-Play Activity Profile in Professional Soccer Players during Official Games and the Relationship between External and Internal Load

Suarez Arrones L, Torreno N, Requena B, Sáez De Villarreal E, Casamichanna D, Caros Barbero-Alvarez J, Munguia-Izquierdo D

Aim: The aim was to quantify for the first time the physical and physiological profile of professional soccer players in official games using GPS and heart rate response.

Methods: Thirty professional soccer players were investigated during a half in competitive club level matches (n=348) using GPS devices.

Results: The relative total distance was 118.9±10.7 m·min⁻¹ and player’s work-to-rest ratio was 2.1:1. Defenders covered the lowest total distance, while Second-Strikers (2nd S) and Wide-Midfielders (W-MD) traveled the greatest total distance. Defenders presented the lowest work-to-rest ratio values. Playing position also impacted on all sprinting performance results, except in average sprint distance and time of sprint. The number of sprints and repeated-sprint sequences recorded by the W-MD and Strikers (S) were significantly greater than any other group. The average Heart Rate (HR) recorded was 87.1%HRmax and the relationship between the external and internal load value (effindex) was 1.4 with significant differences in both between playing positions. W-MD recorded a significantly smaller average HR than any other group and Centre-Backs showed a significantly smaller effindex value than any other group. Conversely, W-MD showed a significantly greater effindex value than any other group, except the 2nd S.

Conclusion: This study has verified a number of statistically significant differences between the different playing positions. Coaches should be focused on the specific physical and physiological requirements of the playing positions to optimize the training prescription in soccer. The relationships between external and internal load measures among position-specific indicates that players with less overall running performance during match-play were the worst in effindex.

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