Physical Demands on the Pitch

To correctly prescribe training intensity and volume, the need to look at the demands of the game is paramount. There are different types of demands (mental, tactical, physical, etc.) a soccer player will encounter in practice and on game day. The most important, as a fitness coach, are the?physical?demands.

The mean distance covered during competitive matches is 10.80 ? .92km or 6.71?.57mi., while the average pace of the athletes is 8:20/km or 13:25/mi. On-field time mainly consists of continuous activity; walking, jogging (low, moderate and high intensities) and sprint efforts. (1)

Not only do soccer players have to sprint, but they also have to maximally jump, kick and change direction during these sprint efforts. Explosive-type efforts such as sprints, jumps, duels, and kicking only represent ~5% of the total time. ?The other 95%, corresponding to low-intensive efforts, are composed of walking, slow, and moderate running (35, 40, and 20% of total time, respectively). (2)

Although the explosive type movements stated above are only performed for ~5% of the game, these explosive sprints, jumps, etc. generally correlate with scoring chances. Scoring?opportunities can directly effect the outcome of the game whether a goal is scored or not. Players generally have to make a maximal effort (i.e. sprint, jump, etc) to create a goal scoring opportunity. Max efforts that do not produce a goal still take a metabolic toll on the players involved in the scoring chance. This can be a detriment when players aren’t fit enough to reproduce maximal efforts later in the match. ?Coaches need players that will give them the best opportunity to win on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

Are your athletes fit enough to play a quality 90 minutes?



1. Bangsbo J, Norregaard L, Thorso F. ?Activity Profile of Competition Soccer?. August Krogh Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark. Canadian Journal of Sport Sciences. 16: 110-116, 1991.

2.?Cometti, G. La pr?paration physique en football. Magny-Les-Hameaux, France: Chiron, 2002.

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John Grace is a coach at Athletic Lab Sports Performance Training Center in Cary, NC - USA. John has his CSCS, USAW Level 1 certification, USATF Level 1 certification and has worked as an assistant fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS.
Category : Research, Training