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Activity Profiles of Professional and Semi-Professional Football Players with Special Reference to Positional Differences

Wield, Jacob (2022) Activity Profiles of Professional and Semi-Professional Football Players with Special Reference to Positional Differences. Master of Research (MRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.93685) (KAR id:93685)


Purpose: We tested the hypothesis that professional football players would run a further total distance (km), high speed distance (>5m/s) and perform more accelerations (>2m/s) and decelerations (>2m/s) than semi-professional football players over the course of the 2019/20 season. Method: 22 male League 1 and 24 Isthmian League Southeast Division football players were tracked using a 10Hz Playertek (Catapult, Australia) GPS devices during the 2019/20 season. The study examined retrospective data already gathered by the clubs for the respective games in the season. A Playertek GPS system was used to capture total distance (km), high-speed running distance (>5m/s) as well as the accelerations (2m/s) and decelerations (>2m/s) of all outfield players. Players were assigned into three different categories based on their position, which was either defender, midfielder or attacker. Statistical analysis was conducted using a mixed model ANNOVA using SPSS statistics (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) with statistical significance set at P < 0.05. Results: Professional football players performed more statistically significant total running distance for both defenders (mean SD: professional, 11.78 ± 0.64 km; semi-professional, 9.13 ± 0.35 km, P<0.01) and midfielders (mean SD: professional, 11.91 ± 1.13 km; semi-professional, 9.60 ± 0.91 km, P<0.01). With semi-professional attackers completing more decelerations (mean SD: semi-professional, 214.32 ± 53.76; professional, 156.98 ± 18.36, P=0.026) than professional football players. No difference was noted for total distance for attackers and no difference in high-speed distance and accelerations for any position. For all variables there was also no difference found intra-team for all positions in both the professional and semi-professional team. Conclusion: There were evidently clear differences between professional and semi-professional football players in total distance and decelerations. However, this might not be as evident as first thought. This can be attributed to several external factors such as opposition quality, strategy, tactics and training level of the athletes. More research is needed to examine the differences between professional and semi-professional teams with an emphasis on more specific positional grouping to help differentiate positions better.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Research (MRes))
Thesis advisor: Dickinson, John
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.93685
Uncontrolled keywords: Football, GPS, Data, Physiology, Professional, Semi-professional, Position
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > Sports sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2022 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2022 10:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Wield, Jacob.

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