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n International SportMed Journal - Physical and technical activity of soccer players in the French First League - with special reference to their playing position : original research article
Background: The aim of this study was to analyze the physical and technical activities of elite soccer players from the French First League, according to their playing positions.
Methods: During the 2005-2006 season, 3540 professional soccer players' activities were recorded and analysed during competitive matches played by means of a semi-automatic video system (Amisco ©). Physical and technical variables were analyzed according to their specific playing positions. The players were classified into 6 positional roles: central defenders (CD), full-backs (FB), central defensive midfielders (CDM), wide midfielders (WM), central attacking midfielders (CAM), and forwards (FW). Match performance variables analysed included: (a) physical activity: total distance covered, distances covered at high-intensities both with and without possession of the ball; (b) technical actions: heading and ground duels, passing, time in possession and ball touches.
Results: The total distances covered ranged from 10425.9m to 12029.5m, with especially 235.4m to 290.4m in sprinting. In the offensive phase, FW covered ∼4 times greater total distances in sprinting than CD and FB (p <0.001). The technical analysis showed that the players had the possession of the ball between 55.5sec and 74.2sec per match played and they had no more than 2.2 ball touches per individual possession. More specifically, midfielders (CDM, WM and CAM) performed successful passes ranging from 75% to 78%, whereas lower values were found for the FW (71%) and CD (63%) respectively.
Conclusions: Soccer at the elite level requires that the players have a high aerobic capacity and that they are able to perform many high-intensity actions, especially the capacity for repeated sprints. Although these main findings showed the characteristics of French elite soccer, the players have to be skilful with their few ball possessions. In conclusion, elite soccer is characterized by the ability of the players to repeat high-intensity actions, but almost to be able to lose a small part of their ball possessions and to realize quickly the technical actions during the matches played.
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