Rampinini Ermanno, Sassi Roberto, Sassi Aldo, Impellizzeri Franco
Soccer professional fitness coach, London, EnglandSeveral descriptive studies have investigated the match activities profile of soccer players in order to determine the physiological demand of soccer performance and to verify the effect of physical training. It is commonly accepted that match soccer performance of a team can be influenced by the level of the opponents, the tactics adopted by the team and the fitness level of the players. However, a quantitative relationship between the match activities of a team with its opponents has been never reported. Consequently, the aim of this study was to verify the relationship between the total distance covered and the high intensity activities of a team compared to its opponents (OP). Fifteen matches of premier league, three of Champion’s league and two of FA English Cup of the same team, one of the first four team in Premier league (PT), were monitored with an automatic match analysis system (with permission of ProZone®, England). The total distance covered during the game (TD) and the high intensity activities (HIA), velocity above 18 Km•h-1, were recorded during the games for all the players. The mean of the seven higher values recorded during the match were used to verify the relationship between the team and its OP. The total distance during the games for PT was 11000.02 ± 387.30 m and for OP was 11128.70 ± 468.65 m. The HIA for the PT and for OP were 855.35 ± 94.40 m and 836.15 ± 113.54 m respectively. As show in figure 1 there was a significant relationship between the TD covered by the PT and its OP (r=0.67 p<0.05) and there was a lower but significant relationship between the HIA covered by the PT and its OP (r=0.53 p<0.05) (figure 2). As expected, this study empirically demonstrate that soccer performance can be influenced by the opponents confirming what suggested by other authors. The significant relationships found between PT TD and its OP and between PT HIA and its OP imposes to use more caution in order to utilise time motion analysis to quantify the effect of physical training in a study setting. On the other hand, these findings suggest the importance of physical training to sustain the demands during the game especially when the OP is well trained. Other studies are needed to investigate the effect of team tactics and/or physical fitness level on soccer performance activities with and without the ball, that remains the focal aspects in a soccer match.