External Load Seasonal Variations and Positional Differences in Elite Soccer Players

Petrov, Dennis, Michaelides, Marcos orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9226-4657 and Parpa, Koulla orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1139-7731 (2022) External Load Seasonal Variations and Positional Differences in Elite Soccer Players. Sport Mont, 20 (3). pp. 113-118. ISSN 14517485

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.26773/smj.221018


The present study explored the external load in professional soccer players throughout the extent of a full competitive season using GPS tracking technology. Twenty-seven male players were categorized based on their playing position: (1) central defenders (n=5), (2) full-backs (n=4), (3) midfielders (n=9), (4) wingers (n=3), and (5) forwards (n=6). Their physical performance was analyzed and interpreted as the overall external load over the extent of 36 competition recordings and 169 recordings of training sessions from up to 5 days prior to match day (i.e., MD-5, MD-4, MD-3, MD-2 and MD-1). The data were collected only from outfield players (excluding goalkeepers) who participated in >90min of total duration in official games and were analyzed with the use of a 10-Hz GPS tracking device (WIMUPRO, RealTrack Systems Almeria, Spain). The results indicated match days minus three and four as the sessions with the highest intensities and physical demands, with no significant differences between the two days. Significant differences in high-speed running and sprint distance were observed between central defenders and full-backs during matches and training sessions. These results would benefit practitioners in designing the annual plan of professional soccer teams and allow for proper monitoring of the external load based on the players’ playing position.

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