Monday, April 15, 2013

Distances covered during a soccer game

A total of 30 French League 1 matches were analyzed over a period of two seasons.

A computerized tracking system was used to characterize the movement patterns of each player.

Match analysis software was used to determine each player’s performance with the ball.

These systems provide information about movement speeds, distances and direction as well as the characteristics of each possession.

The results show some interesting patterns.

The total distance covered by these professional players was slightly more than11 km per match (nearly 7 miles).

This is in line with what other researchers have reported.

Central midfielders covered the most distance while central defenders covered the least (although the difference was only about 10%).

Outside midfielders and forwards tend to sprint further than they jog whereas central defenders tend to do the opposite.

Players had, on average, 47 possessions per match.

Central forwards had the fewest possessions (35) while outside defenders had the most (56).

Of the 11 km covered, only 191 m was run with the ball (1.7% of the total distance covered).

This translates into about 53 sec of the match spent in possession of the ball (less than 1% of the time played).

During each possession, the player covered 3-5 m, held on to the ball for slightly more than one second and averaged two touches per possession.

Outside midfielders tended to hold on to the ball slightly longer than the other positions, covered more distance with the ball and took more touches per possession.

Players took possession of the ball with about 4m of space.

Outside midfielders received the ball with more space (5m) while outside defenders had the least space (3m).

The average running speed when the player took possession was 10.3 km/hr and their speed during possession was12.9 km/hr (light speed).

Peak speeds during possession reached nearly 25 km/hr (high speed / sprint).

Thus, players generally received the ball while running, then accelerated before giving up possession.

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