Rampinini E1, Bishop D2, Marcora SM3, Ferrari Bravo D1, Sassi R1, Impellizzeri FM1

The aim of this study was to examine the construct validity of selected field tests as indicators of match-related physical performance. During the competitive season, eighteen professional soccer players (age 26.2 +/- 4.5 yrs, mass 80.8 +/- 7.8 kg, and height 181.9 +/- 3.7 cm) completed an incremental running field test to exhaustion, a vertical-jump and a repeated-sprint ability (RSA) test. Match physical performance was quantified during official matches using a video-computerized, semi-automatic, match analysis image recognition system, (ProZone, Leeds, UK). The selected measures of match physical performance were: total distance covered (TD), high intensity running (HIR: > 14.4 km . h -1), very high intensity running (VHIR:> 19.8 km . h -1), sprinting (> 25.2 km . h -1) and top running speed. Significant correlations were found between peak speed reached during the incremental field test and TD (r = 0.58, R 2 = 0.34; p < 0.05), HIR (r = 0.65, R 2 = 0.42; p < 0.01) and VHIR (r = 0.64, R 2 = 0.41; p < 0.01). Significant correlations were also found between RSA mean time and VHIR (r = – 0.60, R 2 = 0.36; p < 0.01) and sprinting distance (r = – 0.65, R 2 = 0.42; p < 0.01). Significant differences were found between the best and worst group as defined by the median split technique for peak speed (TD = 12 011 +/- 747 m vs. 10 712 +/- 669, HIR = 3192 +/- 482 m vs. 2314 +/- 347 m, and VHIR = 1014 +/- 120 vs. 779 +/- 122 m, respectively; p < 0.05) and RSA mean time (VHIR = 974 +/- 162 m vs. 819 +/- 144 m, and sprinting = 235 +/- 56 vs. 164 +/- 58 m, respectively; p < 0.05). In conclusion, this study gives empirical support to the construct validity of RSA and incremental running tests as measures of match-related physical performance in top-level professional soccer players.

Int J Sports Med. 2007 Mar;28(3):228-35. Epub 2006 Oct 6.