Position-Specific Player Load During Match-Play in a Professional Football Club

Baptista, I., Johansen, D., Seabra, A., Pettersen, S.A.

This study aimed to provide new insights into the physical profiles of elite football players across different playing positions using time-motion analysis and triaxial accelerometers. Data from 23 official home matches involving 18 players from five positions (central backs, full-backs, central midfielders, wide midfielders, and central forwards) were analyzed.

The results revealed significant differences in work-rate during sprints, decelerations, and accelerations among the various playing positions. Specifically, central backs and central midfielders exhibited lower work-rates in these aspects compared to full-backs, wide midfielders, and central forwards.

Additionally, wide midfielders and full-backs were found to perform significantly more turns (>90°) compared to central backs. Interestingly, the distance covered in high-intensity runs (above 19.8 km/h) differed among positions, with central backs, central midfielders, wide midfielders, and central forwards predominantly covering distances of 1–5 meters, while full-backs covered distances of 6–10 meters.

These findings provide valuable insights for coaches in designing individualized training programs tailored to the specific demands of each playing position during match-play. Such tailored training programs could help optimize player performance and minimize the risk of injury.

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