Physical Match Performance in Sub-elite Soccer Players - Introduction of a new Index.Int J Sports Med. 2020 Jul 06 [Online ahead of print]IJ
This investigation examined the position-specific physical performance in different locomotor categories and physiological demands concurrently in official games of sub-elite players and to present a new performance index (PI). Time-motion (distance, velocity, acceleration) and heart rate data of 55 soccer players were simultaneously captured via a GPS tracking system. The relationship between external and internal match-load (PI) was determined on the basis of heart rate, average velocity and acceleration. In contrast to the mean heart rate (85.2±3.2%, P=0.806, ηp²=0.03), the average total distance covered (9946±715 m) was largely affected by players' position (P<0.001, ηp²=0.63). Furthermore, a mixed design ANOVA showed a large interaction effect between position and locomotor category (P<0.001, ηp²=0.44). On average, PI was 1.57±0.37 m/min²/%, with notably lower values in the 2nd half. The position-specific profiles already reported for higher leagues were also present in sub-elite soccer players. Despite lower values for total distance and smaller distances in the high-intensity zones (>14.4 km/h), internal loads were comparable to those observed in European top leagues. In comparison to a performance measure that ignores accelerations, PI was shown to be less dependent on the playing position and had higher variability. Consequently, PI is better suited to distinguish between players' performance.