Match Physical Performance of Elite Female Soccer Players During International Competition

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Abstract

Datson, N, Drust, B, Weston, M, Jarman, IH, Lisboa, P, and Gregson, W. Match physical performance of elite female soccer players during international competition. J Strength Cond Res 31(9): 2379–2387, 2017—The purpose of this study was to provide a detailed analysis of the physical demands of competitive international female soccer match play. A total of 148 individual match observations were undertaken on 107 outfield players competing in competitive international matches during the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 seasons, using a computerized tracking system (Prozone Sports Ltd., Leeds, England). Total distance and total high-speed running distances were influenced by playing position, with central midfielders completing the highest (10,985 ± 706 m and 2,882 ± 500 m) and central defenders the lowest (9,489 ± 562 m and 1,901 ± 268 m) distances, respectively. Greater total very high-speed running distances were completed when a team was without (399 ± 143 m) compared to with (313 ± 210 m) possession of the ball. Most sprints were over short distances with 76% and 95% being less than 5 and 10 m, respectively. Between half reductions in physical performance were present for all variables, independent of playing position. This study provides novel findings regarding the physical demands of different playing positions in competitive international female match play and provides important insights for physical coaches preparing elite female players for competition.

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