ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of match-factors on the match-running of elite female soccer players. Players from the same women’s national team (n = 45) were monitored during 47 international fixtures (files = 606) across four years (2012-2015) using 10-Hz global positioning system devices. A mixed model was used to analyse the effects of altitude, temperature, match-outcome, opposition ranking and congested schedules. At altitude (>500 m) a small increase in the number of accelerations (ES = 0.40) and a small decrease in total distance (ES = -0.54) was observed, whereas at higher temperatures there were decreases in all metrics (ES = -0.83 to -0.16). Playing a lower-ranked team in a draw resulted in a moderate increase in high-speed running (ES = 0.89), with small to moderate decreases in total distance and low-speed running noted in a loss or a win. Winning against higher-ranked opponents indicated moderately higher total distance and low-speed running (ES = 0.75), compared to a draw. Whilst the number of accelerations were higher in a draw against lower-ranked opponents, compared to a win and a loss (ES = 0.95 and 0.89 respectively). Practitioners should consider the effect of match-factors on match-running in elite female soccer.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Downloaded from by BhDMf5ePHKav1zEoum1tQfN4a+kJLhEZgbsIHo4XMi0hCywCX1AWnYQp/IlQrHD3XI41p+sDLxZddHU0ngAeitcvbXROJ9DSsKfm1OIJV7KI4jy2xTWiAw== on 06/27/2018
Downloadedfrom by BhDMf5ePHKav1zEoum1tQfN4a+kJLhEZgbsIHo4XMi0hCywCX1AWnYQp/IlQrHD3XI41p+sDLxZddHU0ngAeitcvbXROJ9DSsKfm1OIJV7KI4jy2xTWiAw== on 06/27/2018
Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand;
Canadian Soccer Association, Ottawa, Canada;
Canadian Sport Institute—Pacific, Vancouver, Canada;
Institute of Sport,
Exercise and Active Living, College of Sport and Exercise Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia;
School of
Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia; and
Sports Medicine and Shoulder
Service, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York
Trewin, J, Meylan, C, Varley, MC, Cronin, J, and Ling, D. Effect
of match factors on the running performance of elite female
soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 32(7): 2002–2009,
2018—The purpose of this study was to examine the effects
of match factors on the match running of elite female soccer
players. Players from the same women’s national team (n= 45)
were monitored during 47 international fixtures (files = 606)
across 4 years (2012–2015) using 10-Hz global positioning
system devices. A mixed model was used to analyze the effects
of altitude, temperature, match outcome, opposition ranking,
and congested schedules. At altitude (.500 m), a small
increase in the number of accelerations (effect size [ES] =
0.40) and a small decrease in total distance (ES = 20.54)
were observed, whereas at higher temperatures, there were
decreases in all metrics (ES = 20.83 to 20.16). Playing
a lower ranked team in a draw resulted in a moderate increase
in high-speed running (ES = 0.89), with small to moderate
decreases in total distance and low-speed running noted in
a loss or a win. Winning against higher ranked opponents
indicated moderately higher total distance and low-speed run-
ning (ES = 0.75), compared with a draw. Although the number
of accelerations were higher in a draw against lower ranked
opponents, compared with a win and a loss (ES = 0.95 and
0.89, respectively). Practitioners should consider the effect of
match factors on match running in elite female soccer.
KEY WORDS altitude, temperature, situational factors, global
positioning system, match analysis
The growth of female soccer as a sport was high-
lighted by the 2015 Women’s World Cup being
the first to include 24 teams. Furthermore, the
female game is becoming increasingly profes-
sional; however, the understanding and research of the
female game is limited compared with the male game. Pre-
viously, wearable technology could only be worn during
friendly matches, but recent law changes have enabled the
use of global positioning system (GPS) in competitive soccer
matches (2), providing the means for a variety of factors,
such as altitude, match outcomes, and opposition rankings,
that affect the movement profiles of athletes to be quantified
(9,23,32). Understanding the effects these factors have on
performance, in addition to the natural variation of match-
running metrics, is vital to analyze match performances with
increased certainty. Furthermore, identifying if these factors
affect female athletes differently to male athletes, because of
physiological differences between sex, is of importance to
improve training protocols.
Environmental challenges are ever present, with the 2010
and 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cups played at high altitudes
and in high temperatures (30,31). Total distance (;10%) and
accelerations (;4%) were observed to decline at altitude
(1,600–3,600 m), compared with sea level, in elite male
and female youth players (1,5,17). Lower (15%) high-speed
running has been observed in elite male soccer players at
temperatures greater than 218C, compared with less than
218C (7). Only one previous investigation has observed
female National Collegiate Athlete Association soccer play-
ers while playing at altitude (1,839 m), with a decrease in
total distance (;213%, p,0.001) and high-speed running
(;211%, p= 0.039) distances compared to sea level (5).
Physiological differences in sex may exacerbate performance
changes in response to environmental factors, such as ther-
moregulation and menstrual cycle changes in core temper-
ature, and further research is needed to document the
changes in match-running performance in response to the
environment for female soccer players.
Address correspondence to Joshua Trewin,
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Ó2018 National Strength and Conditioning Association
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Opposition ranking is a situational factor, which has been
investigated; however, varying definitions make it difficult
to compare data (9,13,34,35). Nonetheless, greater total
distance (2.5%) and high-speed running distance (5.3–
7.7%), in addition to greater high-speed running distance
with the ball (1.2–19%), have been observed when playing
more successful teams compared with less successful teams
in male soccer (9,13,34,35). Elite female soccer players were
reported to cover the greatest match running across all
movement thresholds against similarly ranked opponents
(20). Reduced leg power production in women (40) may
result in shorter passing ranges for women compared with
men resulting in different tactical approaches and impact-
ing match running relative to different opposition. World
rankings determined over several years may also affect
match running differently compared with a single season
observed in male soccer. This may be due to a larger pool
of teams/players available to play, which may adjust the
style of an opposition team.
With regard to the analysis of match outcomes in
relation to match-running performance, Spanish Premier
League players were observed to cover greater high-speed
(16%) and sprint distance (5.4%) in a loss, whereas in a win,
the distances covered at low (5.6%) and moderate (9.1%)
speeds were higher (9). In addition, a greater percentage of
time spent running at high speed (1.3%, p=0.004)was
reported in English Premier League attackers while win-
ning a match (36). Considering these findings for the most
part relating to the male game, it would make sense to
examine female performances, where the differences in
opposition quality and playing styles could result in differ-
ent outcomes.
Finally, researchers have considered the idea of a con-
gested schedule affecting match running because of small
recovery periods between the first and subsequent matches,
with often trivial findings being reported (14,16). These find-
ings have been questioned within the elite male game, with
less than 41% of players completing 90 minutes during back-
to-back matches (8). However, the elite female game can
often require national teams to play tournaments where 4
games are played in 8 days (such as the Cyprus and Algarve
cups) or FIFA windows with 2 games played within a 3-day
period. Therefore, the possibility of players being exposed to
back-to-back 90-minute games is more likely, the effects of
which require investigation.
Previous studies have used male athletes to examine the
effects of environmental and situational factors on the
match-running performance of soccer players. However,
a single international female team of elite players has never
been used in a single study, which enables changes to be
observed within player over repeated games i.e., repeated
measures design. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to
examine the effects of altitude, temperature, opposition
ranking, and match outcomes on the match running of elite
female soccer players.
Experimental Approach to the Problem
The current longitudinal study design was designed to
examine the physical demands of elite International female
soccer players using GPS technology across a full compet-
itive match. Forty-five International soccer players were
observed within 47 competitive matches, with both inter-
national friendlies and competitive matches analyzed.
Match data were only included for players who completed
greater than 75 minutes of match play, with all games
playedintemperaturesranging2328C and altitudes from
sea level to 1,356 m.
Elite female soccer players from the same senior national
team (n= 45) provided informed consent to participate in
longitudinal tracking and data analysis, which was approved
by the University of Victoria Human Research Ethics Board.
For subjects under 18 years of age, parental consent also was
obtained. Only outfield players were included in the current
study, with players belonging to the following positional
groups, forward (n= 18), midfield (n= 9), full back (n=
11), and center back (n= 7). Subject age range was 15–34
years of age. As this was a longitudinal study this was differ-
ent each year. Informed written consent was obtained from
all subjects, with those under 18 years requiring parental
consent. Ethics was obtained by the University of Victoria
Human Research Ethics Board.
Speed data were collected from players through GPS
technology sampling at 10 Hz (Minimax S4; Catapult
Innovations, Melbourne, Australia). The reliability and
validity of 10 Hz devices to measure velocity (coefficient
of variation [CV] = 3.1–8.3% Pearson correlation = 0.94–
0.97), distance (typical error = 1.3–11.5%, no significant
difference to criterion), and reliability of microsensor met-
rics (CV = 1.9%) have been previously reported (6,22,39).
Only files from players completing a full game defined as
.75 minutes were included in the analysis (Files = 606).
This inclusion criterion was based on previous congested
schedule research (12), and that an extra 15 minutes of
playing time does not have a large effect in match data
when normalized to minutes played (Table 1). Raw files
were exported from manufacturer software (Sprint 5.1, Cat-
apult Innovations) and analyzed using a custom-built MS
Excel spreadsheet (2013, Microsoft, USA), with speed cal-
culated using the Doppler shift method, as opposed to the
differentiation of positional data (38). This method is asso-
ciated with a higher level of precision (38). The match-to-
match variation of the outcome measures of interest has
been reported previously using the same data set for 90-
minute performances (37). The mean number of satellites
and horizontal dilution of precision for games was 11.9 6
0.4 and 0.96 60.05, respectively. The number of satellites
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
VOLUME 32 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2018 | 2003
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
and the horizontal dilution of precision provide an insight
into the quality of the GPS data analyzed (27).
The following match factors were investigated and
defined as such. Opposition ranking was defined as being
higher or lower than the reference team at the time of the
match, based on official FIFA Women’s World Rankings (3),
which are updated 4 times annually (29). Match outcome
was defined as being a win, draw, or loss at the end of the
game. Match congestion was defined as a player who played
.75 minutes and 2 games within 72 hours of each other
(Games = 17) (12,14). Altitude was defined as near sea level
(Games = 40, #500 m) or at altitude (Games = 7, .500 m).
Because of the low number of games at altitude, all games
were grouped together with altitudes ranging from 671 to
1,356 m (4). The temperature was defined as cold/mild
(Games = 26, ,218C) and warm (Games = 21, $218C)
with warm temperatures ranging from 21 to 328C (7).
Player movement categories were defined after previously
described locomotor analysis guidelines for male youth
athletes and have been used in previous female literature
(28,37). High-speed running was defined as an effort
.4.58 m$s
, which represented the mean maximal aerobic
speed (MAS) observed during piloting. This method has
been used by researchers to determine speed thresholds
(28), with MAS determined using the Maximal Aerobic
Speed Test, with the final completed level achieved consid-
ered as the athletes MAS (15). Low-speed running was
therefore defined as any movement covered at ,4.58 m$s
Sprinting was defined as an effort .5.55 m$s
, a threshold
representing the team mean in the 30–15 intermittent fitness
test that was also the MAS plus 30% of the aerobic speed
reserve (e.g., maximal sprinting speed minus MAS). This
latter method has been used previously to individualize max-
imal speed bands (28). Maximal accelerations were defined
as an effort .2.26 m$s
, which represented 80% of players’
acceleration more than 10 m and was established during
pilot testing. As a player may continue to accelerate at a sub-
maximal rate after a maximal acceleration, an acceleration
effort was defined as beginning when the acceleration ex-
ceeded the threshold of 2.26 m$s
and finishing when the
acceleration dropped below 0 m$s
(38). Acceleration was
calculated from speed data with a 0.3-second smoothing
filter. Total distance, high-speed running, and sprint thresh-
olds were presented relative to total match time (min
The number of high-speed running efforts, sprinting efforts,
and accelerations were presented as a count per minute of
match play. A minimum effort duration of 0.3 seconds was
applied to all speed data (high-speed running and sprinting).
Statistical Analyses
Because of the clustering of data, the effect of match factors
was examined using a negative binomial mixed model using
STATA (version 13; StataCorp, College Station, TX, USA).
Separate analyses were performed for all match activities,
with each match factor as a fixed main effect. Match
outcome and opposition ranking was analyzed as an
interaction term. Random effects for player and for match
were included in the model to account for repeated
An inference about the true value of a given effect was
based on its uncertainty in relation to the important
difference, assumed to be 0.20 of the SD between players
in a normal match. This was derived from the mixed model
by adding the variance for the true differences between play-
ers with the match-to-match variance within players, before
taking the square root. Inferences were nonclinical, with an
effect deemed unclear if the 90% confidence interval (CI)
included the smallest important positive and negative differ-
ences; otherwise, the effect was deemed clear. Chances of
a greater or smaller substantial true difference were ex-
pressed quantitatively and calculated using a custom-made
Excel spreadsheet (21). These chances were expressed qual-
itatively for clear outcomes as follows: .25–75%, possibly;
.75–95%, likely; .95–99%, very likely; and .99%, almost
TABLE 1. Comparison of data set between inclusion of players who played $75 minutes or those who played the full
90-minute (mean 6SD) Cohen’s dand 90% confidence intervals.*
Playing $75 mins
(Files = 277)
Playing $90 mins
(Files = 222) d(90% CI)
Total Distance (m$min
) 107.5 69.7 106.7 69.7 0.08 (20.07 to 0.23)
Low-speed running (m$min
) 97.8 68.1 97.2 68.2 0.06 (20.08 to 0.21)
High-speed running (m$min
) 9.7 63.3 9.5 63.2 0.08 (20.06 to 0.23)
Accelerations (Count$min
) 1.81 60.38 1.79 60.37 0.04 (20.11 to 0.18)
High-speed running efforts (Count$min
) 0.64 60.19 0.62 60.19 0.08 (20.07 to 0.23)
Sprint efforts (Count$min
) 0.21 60.09 0.21 60.09 0.07 (20.08 to 0.22)
*CI = confidence interval.
Cohen’s dthresholds: trivial = 0.00–0.20; small = 0.20–0.60; moderate = 0.60–1.20; large = .1.20.
Match Factors in Female Soccer
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
TABLE 2. Raw unadjusted descriptive data (mean 6SD) of match running in relation to factors examined.
Total distance
Low-speed running
High-speed running
High-speed running efforts
Sprint efforts
Sea level
(#500 m)
30 (233) 108 69.8 98 68.2 9.8 63.3 1.80 60.38 0.64 60.19 0.21 60.10
(.500 m)
13 (44) 104 67.8 95 67.0 9.3 62.9 1.85 60.40 0.60 60.17 0.21 60.08
28 (203) 108 69.5 98 67.7 9.8 63.4 1.84 60.35 0.65 60.19 0.22 60.10
20 (74) 106 69.9 96 68.9 9.5 62.9 1.73 60.44 0.60 60.17 0.21 60.09
Win 26 (152) 108 69.7 99 67.9 9.5 63.4 1.77 60.36 0.63 60.20 0.21 60.10
Draw 16 (35) 104 69.6 95 68.5 9.2 63.4 1.91 60.45 0.58 60.20 0.20 60.11
Loss 22 (90) 107 69.4 97 68.0 10.3 62.9 1.83 60.38 0.67 60.16 0.08 60.23
Win vs. higher
16 (23) 111 69.0 101 67.8 9.9 63.1 1.81 60.27 0.65 60.18 0.22 60.10
Draw vs. higher
13 (23) 104 69.9 95 68.2 8.2 63.3 1.82 60.47 0.53 60.21 0.17 60.11
Loss vs. higher
18 (64) 107 610 97 68.7 10.1 62.8 1.84 60.39 0.66 60.16 0.22 60.08
Win vs. lower
25 (129) 108 69.7 99 67.9 9.4 63.4 1.76 60.37 0.63 60.20 0.21 60.10
Draw vs. lower
11 (12) 105 69.0 94 68.9 11.1 62.8 2.07 60.35 0.67 60.14 0.27 60.07
Loss vs. lower
16 (26) 107 67.7 96 65.9 10.9 63.0 1.80 60.33 0.69 60.15 0.25 60.08
.72 hours 30 (211) 108 69.5 98 67.9 9.7 63.0 1.79 60.36 0.63 60.16 0.21 60.10
,72 hours 14 (65) 107 69.7 97 68.2 10.0 63.4 1.85 60.39 0.65 60.20 0.23 60.09
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
VOLUME 32 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2018 | 2005
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
certainly. The magnitude of a given effect was determined
from its observed standardized value (the difference in mean
divided by the between-subject SD). The magnitude was
expressed qualitatively as follows: ,0.20, trivial; 0.20–0.59,
small; 0.60–1.19, moderate; and $1.20 large (29).
Descriptive data in relation to each match factor (Table 2)
are presented before linear modeling.
Environmental Factors
The standardized changes in metrics at altitude for all
environmental factors can be observed in Figure 1. Com-
pared with sea level, total distance (24.0%, CI: 25.9 to
22.1%; p= 0.001) and low-speed running (24.0%, CI:
25.8 to 22.1%; p,0.001) were very likely lower at alti-
tude. Low-speed running (22.2%, CI: 23.7 to 20.7%;
p= 0.019) was likely lower in warm temperatures com-
pared with cold or mild temperatures. Alternatively, the
Figure 1. The change in match-running performance in relation to match factors presented as Cohen’s d(90% confidence limits). *small change, **moderate
likely change,
very likely change, and
almost certainly.
Match Factors in Female Soccer
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
number of max accelerations was likely higher at altitude
compared with sea level (6.8%, CI: 2.0–12%; p= 0.023),
however, was very likely lower in warm temperatures com-
paredwithcoldormildtemperatures(214%, CI: 220 to
27.3% ; p,0.001).
Situational Factors
Playing higher ranked teams in a draw, compared with lower
ranked teams, resulted in very likely lower high-speed running
(224%, CI: 240 to 28.4%; p= 0.015), likely lower acceler-
ations (210%, CI: 220 to 0.4%; p= 0.088), likely lower high-
speed running efforts (219%, CI: 234 to 215%; p= 0.039),
and very likely lower sprinting efforts (235%, CI: 255 to
215%; p= 0.006). Losses against higher ranked teams, com-
pared with lower ranked teams, were associated with likely
higher total distance (3.8%, CI: 1.3–6.4%; p= 0.014) and very
likely higher low-speed running (4.4%, CI: 2.2–6.6%;
p= 0.002). Wins against higher ranked teams, compared with
lower ranked teams, were associated with very likely higher
total distance (4.7%, CI: 2.2–7.2%; p= 0.003), very likely
higher low-speed running (4.6%, CI: 2.5–6.8%; p= 0.001),
and likely higher accelerations (9.5%, CI: 3.3–16%; p= 0.015).
Playing against a lower ranked team in a loss, compared
with a draw, resulted in very likely lower accelerations (215%,
CI: 225 to 26.2%; p= 0.008) and likely lower low-speed
running (23.8%, CI: 27. 3 to 20.3%; p= 0.079). Playing in
a win, compared with a draw against the same opposition,
resulted in almost certainly lower accelerations (216%, CI:
224 to 28.8%; p= 0.001), very likely lower sprinting efforts
(226%, CI: 243 to 29.5%; p= 0.012), and very likely lower
high-speed running (220%, CI: 234 to 26.7%; p= 0.017).
Playing against a higher ranked team in a loss, compared
with a draw, was associated with very likely higher high-
speed running (19%, CI: 8.1–30%; p= 0.006), very likely
higher high-speed running efforts (18%, CI: 8.4–28%; p=
0.004), and likely higher sprinting efforts (20%, CI: 5.0–34%;
p= 0.030). Meanwhile, a win against a higher ranked team,
compared with a draw, resulted in very likely higher total
distance (5.6%, CI: 2.5–8.6%; p= 0.004), very likely higher
low-speed running (5.2%, CI: 2.5–7.9%; p= 0.003), and likely
higher high-speed running efforts (13%, CI: 1.2–25%;
p= 0.071).
The effect of a congested schedule provided no significant
or meaningful findings for all outcome measures (p= 0.191–
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of
environmental and situational factors on the match-running
performance of elite female soccer players. This is the first
study to examine such variables in a female population using
GPS technology. The major findings that were meaningful
are (a) overall match-running performance, particularly
the number of accelerations, was lower during higher
temperatures ($218C) compared with lower temperatures;
(b) when altitude is greater than 500 m, a greater number of
accelerations and lower total distance and low-speed run-
ning distance were performed; (c) both higher and lower
match-running performance was observed in relation to
relative opposition ranking (higher or lower); and (d) match
running was influenced by the opposition ranking and the
interaction of match outcome that should be considered in
future match analyses.
The effect of temperature on match-running performance
in male soccer has been previously examined, with a decline
in high-speed running shown in temperatures greater than
218C (7). In the current study, a moderate decrease in the
number of accelerations was observed in warm temperatures
(mean = 26.58C). It has been reported that acute perform-
ances in warm temperatures increase core temperature com-
pared with cooler conditions, which results in increased
competition between metabolic demands and heat loss re-
quirements (33). These acute changes in core temperature
may result in increased muscle temperatures, increasing the
rate of glycogenolysis, and lactate accumulation within mus-
cle (19), influencing the ability of players to sustain repeated
explosive efforts throughout a match. This is of particular
importance for women who may be physiologically disad-
vantaged in the heat because of higher body fat and surface
area-to-mass ratios compared with male counterparts in
addition to hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle
(10). It has been suggested that players may subconsciously
adjust movement in an attempt to limit the rise of core
temperature, muscle temperatures, and maintain their ability
to complete high-speed running actions in male soccer (25).
A small decrease in low-speed running in the heat may be
indicative of this altered pacing strategy, with players re-
maining higher upfield or limiting normal movement pat-
terns. With a possible trivial change in high-speed running
observed in the current study, more data are required to
improve the certainty of this change. With the nature of
soccer, it is challenging to examine the exact physiological
changes occurring, such as lactic acid accumulation and core
temperature, with collection limited by the laws of the
Altitude is known to inhibit endurance performance
(4,18), while its effects on intermittent sport are not. The
current findings indicate that a small increase in the number
of accelerations occurred at altitude. Because of a decrease in
the partial pressure of oxygen at altitude, it is easier to accel-
erate and obtain maximal speed (24), while total distance
and low-speed running may decrease to allow for recovery
between acceleration efforts. Our findings differ to research-
ers who have reported a decline (3.4–4.3%) in acceleration at
1,600–3,600 m in youth male soccer players (1,17); the find-
ings attributed to a decreased ability to recover from
repeated accelerations at altitude. With a mean altitude of
810 m in the current study, it may be plausible that, with
altitudes less than 1,000 m, the decline in maximal aerobic
power and blood oxygen saturation may not be sufficient
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
VOLUME 32 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2018 | 2007
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
enough to inhibit repeated acceleration performance (18). It
is important to note that several factors could be responsible
for these findings, such as match situations, tactical instruc-
tions or the speed thresholds, and definitions used. There-
fore, the findings of this study should be interpreted within
this context, particularly if playing at higher altitudes. Phys-
iological differences between sexes should also be consid-
ered, with further research required in both male and
youth populations of both sexes.
Previous researchers have observed physical performance
to be greatest against similarly ranked opponents in both
male and female soccer, because of a greater perceived
chance of winning (9,20). From our findings, a moderate
increase in high-speed running and a small increase in the
number of accelerations in a draw when playing lower
ranked opponents were observed when compared with
higher ranked opponents. Meanwhile, playing higher ranked
opponents, compared with lower ranked opponents, a mod-
erate increase in low-speed running was observed in both
wins and losses in this study. Researchers have suggested
that, in an attempt to maintain player density in their defen-
sive half against higher ranked opponents, lower ranked
teams may increase lower speed movements to maintain
shape (20). The small increase in the number of accelerations
observed against higher ranked teams in a win may suggest
a pressing strategy that was also used by the team in the
current study, with players looking to close down opposition
quickly to win the ball back. Further research is required to
examine team tactics, such as a pressing strategy, with
respect to match-running performance and opposition rank-
ings. The inclusion of technical information, such as posses-
sion, number of passes, and pass accuracy may also help to
characterize the reference team and its opponents (26),
aiding in the interpretation of findings.
In this study, match outcome had an interactive effect
with opposition rankings in the examination of match
running. Moderate increases in total distance and low-
speed running were observed when playing higher ranked
opponents in a win compared with a draw. However, the
opposite was true against lower ranked opponents in a loss
compared with a draw, with a small decrease in total
distance and low-speed running observed. Furthermore,
a loss against higher ranked opponents resulted in a moder-
ate increase in high-speed running and high-speed running
efforts, which coincided with a small increase in total
distance. These findings are similar to the conclusions
presented in previous research with male players. The
authors suggesting that low-speed activity may decline when
losing in an attempt to draw level with opposition (23).
While scoring against a higher ranked opponent may
increase the shared belief and overall physical effort of a team
to achieve the desired outcome (36). Therefore, the evolu-
tion of the score line rather than match outcome may pro-
vide a greater insight in to the relationship between physical
match demands and tactics.
A limitation of this study was that positional analysis was
not possible because of the limited number of repeated
measures by position. It is understood that positional match-
running requirements differ among players (11), therefore
generalization of findings to all members of a team is not
recommended, with practitioners advised to examine these
factors within their own data. The size of the data set also
limited the examination of interactions, such as matches
played against higher ranked opponents in hot conditions.
This would have provided a greater insight in to the changes
these match factors may have had on performance. Altitude
in the current study can be considered as low; therefore,
findings observed are likely to differ from those reported
from higher altitudes. This is particularly noticeable with
the number of accelerations increasing contrary to previous
studies (1,17). Technical parameters, such as possession and
pass accuracy, were not included within this study. Re-
searchers have suggested that players may subconsciously
adjust match running in an attempt to maintain technical
proficiency (31). Furthermore, match outcome may not be
as insightful as the state of the game limiting the findings of
this study also.
In summary, match factors can influence the match
running of elite female soccer players. Total distance seems
the most susceptible to different factors, while larger
magnitude changes in the number of accelerations are
apparent in different environments and match outcomes.
Further examination of the interaction between opposition
rankings and match outcomes is warranted.
The current investigation reported for the first time the
changes in female match running in response factors present
in a match. Although practitioners and researchers should
look to use advanced modeling techniques when examining
how factors may affect match-running performance of their
athletes by accounting for within player variation, allowing
for greater certainty in the findings observed. Finally, any
difference in findings between this study and previous male
research highlights the need for sex-specific research to be
completed. The playing style of the reference team may be
attributed to some findings; the examination of multiple
teams would remove this bias in the future. The application
of this information to the training environment is recom-
mended, with practitioners able to inform training load
guidelines that fit the match-running players are likely to
experience within a match.
1. Aughey, RJ, Hammond, K, Varley, MC, Schmidt, WF, Bourdon, PC,
Buchheit, M, Simpson, B, Garvican-Lewis, LA, Kley, M, Soria, R,
Sargent, C, Roach, GD, Claros, JC, Wachsmuth, N, and Gore, CJ.
Soccer activity profile of altitude versus sea-level natives during
acclimatisation to 3600 m (ISA3600). Br J Sports Med 47(Suppl 1):
i107–i113, 2013.
Match Factors in Female Soccer
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
2. Available at:
electronic-performance-an-2709918.html. Accessed: May 9, 2016.
3. Available at:
women/. Accessed: May 9, 2016.
4. Ba
¨rtsch, P, Saltin, B, and Dvorak, J. Consensus statement on playing
football at different altitude. Scand J Med Sci Sports 18: 96–99, 2008.
5. Bohner, JD, Hoffman, JR, McCormack, WP, Scanlon, TC, Townsend,
JR, Stout, JR, Fragala, MS, and Fukuda, DH. Moderate altitude affects
high intensity running performance in a collegiate women’s soccer
game. J Hum Kinet 47: 147–154, 2015.
6. Boyd, LJ, Ball, K, and Aughey, RJ. The reliability of MinimaxX
accelerometers for measuring physical activity in Australian football.
Int J Sports Physiol Perform 6: 311–321, 2011.
7. Carling, C, Dupont, G, and Le Gall, F. The effect of a cold environment
on physical activity profiles in elite soccer match-play. Int J Sports Med
32: 542–545, 2011.
8. Carling, C, McCall, A, Le Gall, F, and Dupont, G. What is the extent
of exposure to periods of match congestion in professional soccer
players? J Sports Sci 33: 2116–2124, 2015.
9. Castellano, J, Blanco-Villasen
´lvarez, D. Contextual variables
and time-motion analysis in soccer. Int J Sports Med 32: 415–421, 2011.
10. Cheuvront, SN and Haymes, EM. Thermoregulation and marathon
running. Sports Med 31: 743–762, 2001.
11. Datson, N, Drust, B, Weston, M, Jarman, I, Lisboa, P, and Gregson, W.
Match physical performance of elite female soccer players during
international competition. JStrengthCondRes31: 2379–2387, 2017.
12. Dellal, A, Lago-Pen
˜as, C, Rey, E, Chamari, K, and Orhant, E. The
effects of a congested fixture period on physical performance,
technical activity and injury rate during matches in a professional
soccer team. Br J Sports Med 49: 390–394, 2013.
13. Di Salvo, V, Gregson, W, Atkinson, G, Tordoff, P, and Drust, B.
Analysis of high intensity activity in premier league soccer. Int J
Sports Med 30: 205–212, 2009.
14. Djaoui, L, Wong, DP, Pialoux, V, Hautier, C, Da Silva, CD, Chamari,
K, and Dellal, A. Physical activity during a prolonged congested
period in a top-class European football team. Asian J Sports Med 5:
47–53, 2014.
15. Dupont, G, Akakpo, K, and Berthon, S. The effect of in-season, high-
intensity interval training in soccer players. JStrengthCondRes18:
584–589, 2004.
16. Dupont, G, Nedelec, M, McCall, A, McCormack, D, Berthoin, S,
and Wisløff, U. Effect of 2 soccer matches in a week on physical
performance and injury rate. Am J Sports Med 38: 1752–1758, 2010.
17. Garvican, L, Hammond, K, Varley, M, Gore, C, Billaut, F, and
Aughey, R. Lower running performance and exacerbated fatigue in
soccer played at 1600 m. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 9: 397–404, 2014.
18. Gore, C, McSharry, P, Hewitt, A, and Saunders, P. Preparation for
football competition at moderate to high altitude. Scand J Med Sci
Sports 18: 85–95, 2008.
19. Hargreaves, M. Physiological limits to exercise performance in the
heat. J Sci Med Sport 11: 66–71, 2008.
20. Hewitt, A, Norton, K, and Lyons, K. Movement profiles of elite
women soccer players during international matches and the effect of
opposition’s team ranking. J Sports Sci 32: 1874–1880, 2014.
21. Hopkins, W. A spreadsheet for deriving a confidence interval,
mechanistic inference and clinical inference from a p value.
Sportscience 11: 16–20, 2007.
22. Johnston, RJ, Watsford, ML, Kelly, SJ, Pine, MJ, and Spurrs, RW.
Validity and interunit reliability of 10 Hz and 15 Hz GPS units for
assessing athlete movement demands. J Strength Cond Res 28: 1649–
1655, 2014.
23. Lago, C, Casais, L, Dominguez, E, and Sampaio, J. The effects of
situational variables on distance covered at various speeds in elite
soccer. Eur J Sport Sci 10: 103–109, 2010.
24. Levine, BD, Stray-Gundersen, J, and Mehta, RD. Effect of altitude on
football performance. Scand J Med Sci Sports 18(Suppl 1): 76–84, 2008.
25. Link, D and Weber, H. Effect of ambient temperature on pacing in
soccer depends on skill level. J Strength Cond Res 31: 1766–1770, 2015.
26. Liu, H, Go
´mez, MA, Gonc¸alves, B, and Sampaio, J. Technical
performance and match-to-match variation in elite football teams.
J Sports Sci 34: 509–518, 2016.
27. Malone, JJ, Lovell, R, Varley, MC, and Coutts, AJ. Unpacking the
black box: Applications and considerations for using GPS devices in
sport. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 12: 18–26, 2016.
28. Mendez-Villanueva, A, Buchheit, M, Simpson, B, and Bourdon, P.
Match play intensity distribution in youth soccer. Int J Sports Med
34: 101–110, 2013.
29. Murray, AM and Varley, MC. Activity profile of international rugby
sevens: Effect of scoreline, opponent and substitutes. Int J Sports
Physiol Perform 10: 791–801, 2015.
30. Nassis, GP. Effect of altitude on football performance: Analysis of
the 2010 FIFA World Cup Data. J Strength Cond Res 27: 703–707,
31. Nassis, GP, Brito, J, Dvorak, J, Chalabi, H, and Racinais, S. The
association of environmental heat stress with performance: Analysis of
the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Br J Sports Med 49: 609–613, 2015.
32. Paul, D, Bradley, PS, and Nassis, GP. Factors affecting match
running performance of elite soccer players: Shedding some light on
the complexity. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 10: 516–519, 2015.
33. Racinais, S, Alonso, JM, Coutts, AJ, Flouris, AD, Girard, O,
´lez-Alonso, J, Hausswirth, C, Jay, O, Lee, JK, and Mitchell, N.
Consensus recommendations on training and competing in the heat.
Scand J Med Sci Sports 25: 6–19, 2015.
34. Rampinini, E, Coutts, AJ, Castagna, C, Sassi, R, and Impellizzeri,
FM. Variation in top level soccer match performance. Int J Sports
Med 28: 1018–1024, 2007.
35. Rampinini, E, Impellizzeri, FM, Castagna, C, Coutts, AJ, and
Wisløff, U. Technical performance during soccer matches of the
Italian Serie A league: Effect of fatigue and competitive level. J Sci
Med Sport 12: 227–233, 2009.
36. Redwood-Brown, A, O’Donoghue, P, Robinson, G, and Neilson, P.
The effect of score-line on work-rate in English FA Premier League
soccer. Int J Perf Anal Sport 12: 258–271, 2012.
37. Trewin, J, Meylan, C, Varley, MC, and Cronin, J. The match-to-
match variation of match-running in elite female soccer. J Sci Med
Sport 21: 196–201, 2018.
38. Varley, MC and Aughey, RJ. Acceleration profiles in elite Australian
soccer. Int J Sports Med 34: 34–39, 2013.
39. Varley, MC, Fairweather, IH, and Aughey, RJ. Validity and
reliability of GPS for measuring instantaneous velocity during
acceleration, deceleration, and constant motion. J Sports Sci 30:
121–127, 2012.
40. Weber, CL, Chia, M, and Inbar, O. Gender differences in anaerobic
power of the arms and legs-a scaling issue. Med Sci Sports Exerc 38:
129, 2006.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
VOLUME 32 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2018 | 2009
Copyright © National Strength and Conditioning Association Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
... This means that factors such as the 'natural' variation in match running parameters and certain contextual variables during match-play need to be considered [65,82]. respectively. ...
... It has been previously demonstrated that training status is a key protagonist of physical performance in female football, with the differences in physical capacity leading to variations in physical output [4]. A further study from Trewin et al. [65], investigated the effect of certain situational (match outcome, opposition ranking, and congested schedules) and environmental (altitude and temperature) factors that might influence physical performance. The findings suggested that, when drawing, playing a lower opponent resulted in a moderate increase in HI running (ES = 0.89). ...
... Owing to this information, practitioners should consider the effect of various different match conditions and how this might potentially influence physical performance outputs, with future research aiming to further investigate the interaction between contextual factors [65] and the female specific response to match-play and performance [28,65]. In addition to understanding the notational analysis of female match-play, researchers and practitioners alike need to consider the physical response to these demands and consider these in context to the physical capacity of the players. ...
... Only 39 studies reported the year(s)/season(s) data was collected, of which 13 and 21 studies' data were collected prior to-and since 2015, respectively, whilst 5 studies involved data collected both prior to-and since 2015. Nationalities of participants/locations of matchplay included; Australia (n = 8; 12%), Brazil (n = 5; 7%), USA (n = 21; 30%), Canada (n = 1; 1%), and various Asian countries (n = 1; 1%), European countries (n = 24; 35%), or countries competing in the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals (n = 9; 13%), whilst 3 studies did not report this information [20,72,84]. Studies predominantly quantified match-play characteristics of senior players (n = 63; 91%), and included international (n = 27; 39%), top tier domestic (n = 28; 41%), lower tiers domestic (n = 3; 4%), and college/university (n = 13; 19%) playing standards. ...
... The majority of studies involved comparative groups (n = 34; 72%); playing position (n = 25; 53%), playing standard (n = 5, 11%), and age-group (n = 3; 6%). Whilst, 9 studies [36,49,84]), quality of opposition [38,84], match outcome [46,84], type of competition [50], match location [46], congestion of fixtures [71,84], playing surface [46], stage of season [89], and stage of menstrual cycle [63]. Of the 26 studies which categorised players by playing position; 9 studies utilised high-level categorisation (i.e. ...
... The majority of studies involved comparative groups (n = 34; 72%); playing position (n = 25; 53%), playing standard (n = 5, 11%), and age-group (n = 3; 6%). Whilst, 9 studies [36,49,84]), quality of opposition [38,84], match outcome [46,84], type of competition [50], match location [46], congestion of fixtures [71,84], playing surface [46], stage of season [89], and stage of menstrual cycle [63]. Of the 26 studies which categorised players by playing position; 9 studies utilised high-level categorisation (i.e. ...
Full-text available
This review aimed to (1) systematically review the scientific literature evaluating the match-play characteristics of women's soccer, (2) determine the methods adopted to quantify match-play characteristics of women's soccer, and (3) present the physical, technical and tactical characteristics of women's soccer match-play across age-groups, playing standards and playing positions. A systematic search of electronic databases was conducted in May 2021; keywords relating to the population, soccer and match-play characteristics were used. Studies which quantified physical, technical or tactical performance of women's soccer players during match-play were included. Excluded studies included adapted match-play formats and training studies. Sixty-nine studies met the eligibility criteria. Studies predominantly quantified match-play characteristics of senior international (n = 27) and domestic (n = 30) women's soccer match-play, with only seven studies reporting youth match-play characteristics. Physical (n = 47), technical (n = 26) and tactical characteristics (n = 2) were reported as whole-match (n = 65), half-match (n = 21), segmental (n = 17) or peak (n = 8) characteristics. Beyond age-groups, playing standard, and playing position, fourteen studies quantified the impact of contextual factors, such as environment or match outcome, on match-play characteristics. Distance was the most commonly reported variable (n = 43), as outfield women's soccer players covered a total distance of 5480-11160 m during match-play. This systematic review highlights that physical match-performance increases between age-groups and playing standards, and differs between playing positions. However, further research is warranted to understand potential differences in technical and tactical match-performance. Coaches and practitioners can use the evidence presented within this review to inform population-specific practices, however, they should be mindful of important methodological limitations within the literature (e.g. inconsistent velocity and acceleration/deceleration thresholds). Future research should attempt to integrate physical, technical and tactical characteristics as opposed to quantifying characteristics in isolation, to gain a deeper and more holistic insight into match-performance.
... This could explain the smaller difference between the distances covered at sea level and a higher altitude compared to Garvicans study, 16 where matches times were shorter at higher altitudes. Trewin et al. 17 found a 4% decrease in performance in elite women's soccer players when the altitude increased, and Nasis 18 who found a decrease of 3.1% in the total distance covered in 1200 m (Low altitude in our study). In this study decrease was of 2.5%. ...
Full-text available
Background Football is the most popular sport in the world, and matches are commonly played at different levels of altitude. As the altitude increases, the availability of oxygen decreases. The dynamics of the ball will be altered due to the decrease in air resistance. These conditions can affect the physical and/or sports performance of football players. The objective of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between altitude and performance of a professional football team. Methods A total of 130 matches of a Mexican professional football team were analyzed. Physical performance was measured by Match Analysis®, a video and statistical analysis; sports performance was measured according to the score. Altitude was measured with Geo Elevation. Results No relationship was found between altitude and total distance covered (p=0.165), Distance in first half (p=0.441) sprints number(p=0.115) and time between sprints (p=0.237) There was a significant increase between total distance covered during the second half (p=0.009) and mean speed on "Low altitude' (p=0.000) We found no relation between the altitude level and the obtained result (p=0.28) number of goals in favour (p=0.209) and against (p=0.629). Conclusion We found no relationship between the altitude level and physical and sports performance of a professional football team
... This data agrees with many researchers which proven that in the trainings closer to the match (MD) total distance (TD) decrease (Aguiar et al., 2013;Owen et al., 2017;Martin-Garcia et al., 2018;Swallow et al.,2020). Also, match related running performance is affected from many factors such as the opponent, so it very common to record different running performances by the same team due to these complex factors (Paul el al.,2015;Trewin et al.,2018). ...
Full-text available
Despite the fact that a soccer match is very demanding for players body there is extra load with the frequency of matches. The studies had proven that professional soccer players play 1 match per 4.3 days including traveling time. (Kellmann M., 2002).The propose of this study was to record and compare the differences at running performance between two-matches and three-matches in season micro cycles included trainings in order to provide guidelines and information for better management of competition and training load. Ten (n=10) elite youth soccer players of a professional club who participated at Superleague Greece (1 st Division) U19 League and Youth League (European u19 championship) with age 18,7±0,67(y), height 1,78±0,4 (m), body weight 69,39±4,16 (kg) and fat tissue 6,74±1,52 (%) constituted the sample of the study. Running performance of each player recorded in all trainings and matches using global position system (GPS) (Viper pod 2, STATSports, Belfast, UK). GPS variables which were selected for analysis included Total Distance (TD), Sprint Distance (SD) vel. >25km/h, High-Speed Running (HSR) vel. > 19,8 km/h, High Metabolic Load Distance (HMLD), Number of Accelerations (Acc) vel. > 3m/s2 and Number of Decelerations (Dec) vel. > 3m/s2. Data from training sessions and matches were collected from two different 7-day periods during Superleague Greece U19 season 2019-2020. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS for Windows 15.0 (IBM Corp.). Data were tested with repeated measures analysis and there was significant interaction for Total Distance (TD) with p= ,000 and F= 73,036 also for Number of Decelerations (Dec) with p= ,036 and F= 6,100. In these two variables we continue with paired t test between this two different in season micro cycles. The data analysis showed that two-matches micro cycle had more total distance and decelerations for the players than three-matches micro cycle. These findings reflect the importance of training impact on the players in in-season micro cycles where performance is the main target.
... For example, playing position in the game (Konefał et al., 2019;Modric, Versic, & Sekulic, 2020a;Chmura et al., 2021), players' physical abilities and technical level (Saeterbakken et al., 2019;Modric, Versic, & Sekulic, 2021a), team's tactical formation (Modric, Versic, & Sekulic, 2020b), competitive level or league ranking (Bradley et al., 2013;Aquino et al., 2017) have all been associated with RP. These relationships can also be influenced by contextual variables (CV) such as match location, opponents' level and match outcome (Lago-Peñas, 2012;Paul et al., 2015;Trewin, Meylan, Varley, Cronin, & Ling, 2018;Barrera et al., 2021;Modric, Versic, & Sekulic, 2021b). ...
Full-text available
It has been hypothesized that contextual variables (i.e. match location, opponents’ level) could be important deter- minants of running performance (RP) in soccer matches, but empirical studies provided inconsistent evidences. This study aimed to investigate the associations between contextual variables (CV) and RP in Croatian soccer players. Players’ RP (n=193) were evaluated, and used as cases in this study. CV included match outcome (win-draw-loss), opponent’s level (higher vs. lower ranked), and match location (home-away). RP were measured by global position- ing system during the soccer matches in seasons 2018/19 (n=14) and 2019/20 (n=15) of Croatian first division, and included: the total distance covered, low-intensity (<14.3 km/h), running (14.4–19.7 km/h), high-intensity running (>19.8 km/h), high-speed running (19.8–25.1 km/h) and sprinting (>25.2 km/h). Results indicated significantly great- er amount of distance covered in running zone for away matches (F-test: 7.83, p<0.01, small effect size; 1392±353 m and 1262±294 m, for home and away matches, respectively). Similar RP were observed irrespective of opponents’ level (F-test: 0.05 to 1.53, p>0.05). Lowest total-, low- and running-zone distances were evidenced in won matches (9893±896 m, 8035±614 m and 1241±312 m, respectively), followed by drawn matches (10298±913 m, 8287±838 m and 1363±320 m, respectively) and lost matches (10355±1052 m, 8279±742 m and 1406±343 m, respectively). This study demonstrated that (i) won matches were characterized by lower RP, (ii) association between RP and match location was limited, (iii) RP was not related to the opponents’ level.
... Second Division [19]. In the other hand, regarding match outcome, international female soccer players registered higher total distance and performed a higher number of high-intensity running efforts when winning in comparison with drawing or losing [20]. In contrast, Castellano et al. [21] found that when the result was adverse, the distances covered were greater. ...
Full-text available
The main objective of this study was to analyse the changes in external demand parameters (e.g., total distance, high-speed running distance, accelerations/decelerations) in Spanish professional soccer teams after the COVID-19 lockdown considering their on-field ranking (i.e., teams whose ranking worsened after the COVID-19 lockdown [WRS] vs. teams that improved their ranking after the COVID-19 lockdown [IMP]). A total of 23,527 individual match observations were collected on players competing during the 2019/20 season in the First Spanish Professional soccer League (LaLiga). Goalkeepers and players who participated for less than 10 minutes in each match were excluded. Relative total distance (TD/min), distance covered at 21–24 km·h-1(HIRD/min) and > 24 km·h-1 per minute (VHIRD/min), high metabolic load distance (HMLD), and the number of accelerations (3 m/s2) and decelerations (< 3 m/s2) performed were analysed by the ChryonHego videotracking system. These variables were analysed during two differentiated periods, before the COVID-19 lockdown (i.e., 27 matches) and after the COVID-19 lockdown (i.e., 11 matches), and teams were classified into two groups according to their ranking (i.e., WRS vs. IMP). R-Studio was employed for data analysis and a mixed linear model was conducted. A decrease in external demands in all teams after the COVID-19 lockdown was observed, and this decrease was greater in WRS. These results suggest that, after an inactive period (i.e., the COVID-19 lockdown), teams that return with better physical performance, mainly related to high-intensity actions, have more possibilities of improving their final qualifying position.
... Finally, the final version was reviewed and unanimously accepted, and coaches provided an individual score for each team and each season considering the three elements and using a 10-point Likert-type scale from 1 (very low performance) to 10 (very high performance). The ratings were then categorized into low performance (1-4), medium performance (5-7), and high performance (8)(9)(10). The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC)-calculated to test inter-rater reliability was 0.92. ...
Full-text available
This study analyzed how the physical movement profile of soccer matches evolved throughout a season by assessing the variability of different metrics depending on the season phase. In addition, the evolution of running distances was investigated in the relation to the team performance based on the coaches’ perception. Games from four consecutives Spanish LaLiga seasons ( n = 1520) were recorded using an optical tracking system (i.e., ChyronHego). Total distance (TD), distance covered between 14 and 21 km h ⁻¹ (MIRD), 21–24 km h ⁻¹ (HIRD), and > 24 km h ⁻¹ (VHIRD) were analyzed, as well as the number of efforts between 21 and 24 km h ⁻¹ (Sp21) and > 24 km h ⁻¹ (Sp24). Seasons were divided into four phases (P): P1 (matches 1–10), P2 (11–19), P3 (20–29), and P4 (30–38). Linear mixed models revealed that soccer players covered significantly greater distances and completed a higher number of sprints in P2 and P3. Also, team performance evaluated by soccer coaches was positively related to TD, HIRD, VHIRD and Sp21 in P1. A negative relationship was observed between team performance and distance covered at speeds below 21 km h ⁻¹ in P2 and P3. Team performance was negatively related to TD, MIRD, and HIRD, and Sp21 in P4. As conclusion, the team performance perceived by coaches is related to the movement profile throughout a season, and it significantly influences the evolution of soccer players’ movement profiles. Specifically, it seems that the players of the best teams have the best physical performance at the beginning of the season with respect to the rest of the phases.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of environmental conditions on running performance and performance efficiency index (Effindex). Performance data recorded using Polar Team Pro sensors from eight collegiate female soccer players in nine matches were analyzed during the 2019 competitive season. Effindex and running performance, including total distance covered (TDREL) and distance covered in five speed thresholds relative to minutes played, were examined for indications of fatigue with respect to environmental conditions, including ambient temperature and relative humidity. Matches were separated into three groups based on environmental conditions: Low-Risk (n = 2 matches), Moderate-Risk (n = 3 matches), or High-Risk (n = 4 matches). Speed thresholds were grouped as follows: walking (WALKREL), jogging (JOGREL), low-speed running (LSRREL), high-speed running (HSRREL), and sprinting (SPRINTREL). A significant effect was observed for TDREL in all environmental conditions (η2 = 0.614). TDREL was significantly lower in the High-Risk (p = 0.002; 95.32 ± 12.04 m/min) and Moderate-Risk conditions (p = 0.004; 94.85 ± 9.94 m/min) when compared to Low-Risk (105.61 ± 9.95 m/min). WALKREL (p = 0.005), JOGREL (p = 0.005) LSRREL (p = 0.001), HSRREL (p = 0.035), SPRINTREL (p = 0.017), and Effindex (p = 0.0004) were significantly greater in Low-Risk conditions when compared to Moderate-Risk conditions. WALKREL (p = 0.005), HSRREL (p = 0.029), SPRINTREL (p = 0.005), and Effindex (p = 0.0004) were significantly greater in Low-Risk conditions when compared to High-Risk conditions. High-Risk environmental conditions may result in adverse performance in female collegiate soccer players.
The application of acceleration and deceleration data as a measure of an athlete's physical performance is common practice in team sports. Acceleration and deceleration are monitored with athlete tracking technologies during training and games to quantify training load, prevent injury and enhance performance. However, inconsistencies exist throughout the literature in the reported methodological procedures used to quantify acceleration and deceleration. The object of this review was to systematically map and provide a summary of the methodological procedures being used on acceleration and deceleration data obtained from athlete tracking technologies in team sports and describe the applications of the data. Systematic searches of multiple databases were undertaken. To be included, studies must have investigated full body acceleration and/or deceleration data of athlete tracking technologies. The search identified 276 eligible studies. Most studies (60%) did not provide information on how the data was derived and what sequence of steps were taken to clean the data. Acceleration and deceleration data were commonly applied to quantify and describe movement demands using effort metrics. This scoping review identified research gaps in the methodological procedures and deriving and cleaning techniques that warrant future research focussing on their effect on acceleration and deceleration data.
As utilizações de sistemas tecnológicos têm vindo a possibilitar um aumento da compreensão sobre os parâmetros de carga externa (demandas físicas) associadas ao jogo de futebol (PALUCCI VIEIRA et al., 2019b; SAR MENTO et al., 2018). A possibilidade de observar, descrever, caracterizar e inferir tendo por base os padrões de corrida e ação realizadas pelos futebolistas, possibilita, não apenas um entendimento sobre as exigências do jogo (por exemplo, totais, médias e picos de demandas físicas em casos possíveis) (WASS et al., 2020) e sua variação de contexto para contexto (CASTELLANO et al., 2011; OLIVA-LOZANO et al., 2020; PAUL et al., 2015), e atleta para atleta (AQUINO; VIEIRA et al., 2017; OLIVA-LOZANO et al., 2020), como também, as implicações para o ajustamento e individualização do treinamento esportivo (CLEMENTE et al., 2019a; OWEN et al., 2017). O presente capítulo procurará dar uma visão global ao leitor de como a análise do desempenho de corrida poderá ser um fator determinante na adequação do planejamento do treinamento de futebol. Na primeira seção, será abordado o processo de evolução dos sistemas de análise do desempenho de corrida. Na sequência, serão caracterizadas as demandas de corridas durante as partidas de futebol de jovens futebolistas e de profissionais, considerando os sexos feminino e masculino. Na terceira seção, mostraremos as relações entre as demandas durante a partida e a aptidão atlética, considerando as suas implicações para a avaliação. Na quarta seção, procurar-se-á analisar o erro dos distintos sistemas de aquisição de dados posicionais e como se pode garantir a acurácia e precisão das medidas. Na quinta seção, demonstrar-se-ão exemplos de como o conhecimento das demandas de corrida durante a partida poderão modelar o treinamento, considerando principalmente diversos fatores contextuais. Finalmente na sexta e última seção deste capítulo, apresentar-se-ão considerações finais, sintetizando as principais contribuições sobre o tema.
Full-text available
Objectives The purpose of this study was to examine the match-to-match variation of match-running in elite female soccer players utilising GPS, using full-match and rolling period analyses. Design Longitudinal study. Methods Elite female soccer players (n = 45) from the same national team were observed during 55 international fixtures across 5 years (2012-2016). Data was analysed using a custom built MS Excel spreadsheet as full-matches and using a rolling 5-min analysis period, for all players who played 90-min matches (files = 172). Variation was examined using co-efficient of variation and 90% confidence limits, calculated following log transformation. Results Total distance per minute exhibited the smallest variation when both the full-match and peak 5-min running periods were examined (CV = 6.8-10%). Sprint-efforts were the most variable during a full-match (CV = 53%), whilst high-speed running per minute exhibited the greatest variation in the post-peak 5-min period (CV = 143%). Peak running periods were observed as slightly more variable than full-match analyses, with the post-peak period very-highly variable. Variability of Accelerations (CV = 17%) and Player Load (CV = 14%) was lower than that of high-speed actions. Positional differences were also present, with centre backs exhibiting the greatest variation in high-speed movements (CV = 41-65%). Conclusions Practitioners and researchers should account for within player variability when examining match performances. Identification of peak running periods should be used to assist worst case scenarios. Whilst micro-sensor technology should be further examined as to its viable use within match-analyses.
Full-text available
Athlete tracking devices that include global positioning system (GPS) and micro electrical mechanical system (MEMS) components are now commonplace in sport research and practice. These devices provide large amounts of data that are used to inform decision-making on athlete training and performance. However, the data obtained from these devices are often provided without clear explanation of how these metrics are obtained. At present, there is no clear consensus regarding how these data should be handled and reported in a sport context. Therefore, the aim of this review was to examine the factors that affect the data produced by these athlete tracking devices to provide guidelines for collecting, processing, and reporting of data. Many factors including device sampling rate, positioning and fitting of devices, satellite signal and data filtering methods can affect the measures obtained from GPS and MEMS devices. Therefore researchers are encouraged to report device brand/model, sampling frequency, number of satellites, horizontal dilution of precision (HDOP) and software/firmware versions in any published research. Additionally, details of data inclusion/exclusion criteria for data obtained from these devices are also recommended. Considerations for the application of speed zones to evaluate the magnitude and distribution of different locomotor activities recorded by GPS are also presented, alongside recommendations for both industry practice and future research directions. Through a standard approach to data collection and procedure reporting, researchers and practitioners will be able to make more confident comparisons from their data, which will improve the understanding and impact these devices can have on athlete performance.
Full-text available
The effect of altitude on soccer game activity profiles was retrospectively examined in six NCAA Division I female soccer players. Comparisons were made between two matches played at sea level (SL) and one match played at a moderate altitude (1839 m). A 10-Hz global positioning system device was used to measure distance and velocity. The rate of total distance capacity (TDC) and high intensity running (HIR) as well as percent of time at HIR were evaluated. Significant differences were seen in the distance rate (120.55 ± 8.26 m·min-1 versus 105.77 ± 10.19 m·min-1) and the HIR rate (27.65 ± 9.25 m·min-1 versus 25.07 ± 7.66 m·min-1) between SL and altitude, respectively. The percent of time at HIR was not significantly different (p = 0.064), yet tended to be greater at SL (10.4 ± 3.3%) than at altitude (9.1 ± 2.2%). Results indicate that teams residing at SL and competing at a moderate altitude may have a reduced ability in distance covered and a high intensity run rate.
Full-text available
Exercising in the heat induces thermoregulatory and other physiological strain that can lead to impairments in endurance exercise capacity. The purpose of this consensus statement is to provide up-to-date recommendations to optimise performance during sporting activities undertaken in hot ambient conditions. The most important intervention one can adopt to reduce physiological strain and optimise performance is to heat acclimatise. Heat acclimatisation should comprise repeated exercise-heat exposures over 1-2 weeks. In addition, athletes should initiate competition and training in a euhydrated state and minimise dehydration during exercise. Following the development of commercial cooling systems (eg, cooling-vest), athletes can implement cooling strategies to facilitate heat loss or increase heat storage capacity before training or competing in the heat. Moreover, event organisers should plan for large shaded areas, along with cooling and rehydration facilities, and schedule events in accordance with minimising the health risks of athletes, especially in mass participation events and during the first hot days of the year. Following the recent examples of the 2008 Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, sport governing bodies should consider allowing additional (or longer) recovery periods between and during events, for hydration and body cooling opportunities, when competitions are held in the heat.
Full-text available
Time-motion analysis is a valuable data collection technique used to quantify the match running performance of elite soccer players. However, interpreting the reductions in running performance in the second half or temporarily after the most intense period of games is highly complex, as it could be attributed to physical or mental fatigue, pacing strategies, contextual factors or a combination of mutually inclusive factors. Given that research in this domain typically uses a reductionist approach whereby match-running performance is examined in isolation without integrating other factors this ultimately leads to a one-dimensional insight into match performance. Subsequently, a cohesive review of influencing factors does not yet exist. The aim of this commentary is to provide a detailed insight into the complexity of match running performance and the most influential factors.
The purpose of the present study was to provide a detailed analysis of the physical demands of competitive international female soccer match-play. A total of 148 individual match observations were undertaken on 107 outfield players competing in competitive international matches during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, using a computerized tracking system (Prozone Sports Ltd., Leeds, England). Total distance (TD) and total high-speed running distances (THSR) were influenced by playing position, with central midfielders (CM) completing the highest (10985±706 m and 2882±500 m) and central defenders (CD) the lowest (9489±562 m and 1901±268 m) distances, respectively. Greater total very high-speed running (TVHSR) distances were completed when a team was without (399±143 m) compared to with (313±210 m) possession of the ball. The majority of sprints were over short distances with 76 % and 95 % being less than 5 m and 10 m, respectively. Between half reductions in physical performance were present for all variables, independent of playing position. The current study provides novel findings regarding the physical demands of different playing positions in competitive international female match-play and provides important insights for physical coaches preparing elite female players for competition.
This study investigated exposure to periods of match congestion in regular starter players in a professional soccer team across 4 competitive seasons (2009-2013). Players were divided into 2 groups: club players (club match exposure only, n = 41) and national team players (club and national team exposure, n = 22). The frequency of congested periods that players were potentially exposed to per season was initially determined: 2-match cycles - potential exposure to 2 successive matches separated by a ≤ 3-day interval calculated immediately from the end of play in match 1 to the start of play in match 2 occurred on 12.5 ± 5.1 and 16.0 ± 4.7 occasions for club and national team players, respectively. Multiple-match cycles: potential exposure to 3-, 4-, 5- or 6-matches played successively within a ≤ 4-day period commencing from the day after each match occurred on 8.5 ± 2.1, 4.3 ± 1.7, 3.0 ± 0.8 and 1.8 ± 0.5 occasions for club and 11.5 ± 2.4, 6.5 ± 0.6, 4.5 ± 1.9 and 3.0 ± 1.4 occasions for national team players, respectively. With regard to actual exposure in club and national team players, respectively, participation in both matches in 2-match cycles attained 61.2% and 59.3% while 90-min play in both matches was only completed on 38.2% and 40.5% of occasions and ≥75-min play on 47.6% and 50.0% of occasions, despite availability to play in both groups being >86%. While availability to play in all players was frequently >70% for multiple-match cycles, a trend was observed for a sharp decline in participation as the number of matches in the cycles increased. Therefore, the present players were not extensively exposed to periods of fixture congestion.
This study examines the influence ambient temperature has on the distances covered by players in soccer matches. For this purpose, 1211 games from the top German professional leagues were analysed over the course of the seasons 2011/12 and 2012/13 using an optical tracking system. The data shows a) significant differences in the total distance covered (TDC, in m/10 min) between the 1. Bundesliga (M = 1225) and 2. Bundesliga (M = 1201) and b) a significant decrease in TDC from NEUTRAL (-4 to 13° C, M = 1229) to WARM (≥ 14° C, M = 1217) environments. The size of the temperature effect is greater in the 1. Bundesliga (d=.30 vs. d=.16), even though these players presumably have a higher level of fitness. This suggests that better players reduce their exertion level to a greater extent, thus preserving their ability to undertake the high intensity activities when called upon. No reduction in running performance due to COLD (≤ 5° C) temperatures was observed.
The extreme physical endurance demands and varied environmental settings of marathon footraces have provided a unique opportunity to study the limits of human thermoregulation for more than a century. High post-race rectal temperatures (Tre) are commonly and consistently documented in marathon runners, yet a clear divergence of thought surrounds the cause for this observation. A close examination of the literature reveals that this phenomenon is commonly attributed to either biological (dehydration, metabolic rate, gender) or environmental factors. Marathon climatic conditions vary as much as their course topography and can change considerably from year to year and even from start to finish in the same race. The fact that climate can significantly limit temperature regulation and performance is evident from the direct relationship between heat casualties and Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), as well as the inverse relationship between record setting race performances and ambient temperatures. However, the usual range of compensable racing environments actually appears to play more of an indirect role in predicting Tre by acting to modulate heat loss and fluid balance. The importance of fluid balance in thermoregulation is well established. Dehydration-mediated perturbations in blood volume and blood flow can compromise exercise heat loss and increase thermal strain. Although progressive dehydration reduces heat dissipation and increases Tre during exercise, the loss of plasma volume contributing to this effect is not always observed for prolonged running and may therefore complicate the predictive influence of dehydration on Tre for marathon running. Metabolic heat production consequent to muscle contraction creates an internal heat load proportional to exercise intensity. The correlation between running speed and Tre, especially over the final stages of a marathon event, is often significant but fails to reliably explain more than a fraction of the variability in post-marathon Tre. Additionally, the submaximal exercise intensities observed throughout 42km races suggest the need for other synergistic factors or circumstances in explaining this occurrence There is a paucity of research on women marathon runners. Some biological determinants of exercise thermoregulation, including body mass, surface area-to mass ratio, sweat rate, and menstrual cycle phase are gender-discrete variables with the potential to alter the exercise-thermoregulatory response to different environments, fluid intake, and exercise metabolism. However, these gender differences appear to be more quantitative than qualitative for most marathon road racing environments.