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J Sports Sci. 2014;32(2):191-9. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2013.816761. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Effect of player position on movement behaviour, physical and physiological performances during an 11-a-side football game.

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a Research Center in Sports Sciences , Health Sciences and Human Development (CIDESD) , Vila Real , Portugal.


The aim of this study was to identify differences in time-motion, modified training impulse, body load and movement behaviour between defenders, midfielders and forwards, during an 11-a-side simulated football game. Twenty elite youth male footballers from the same squad participated in this study (age: 18.1 ± 0.7 years old, body mass: 70.5 ± 4.3 kg, height: 1.8 ± 0.3 m and playing experience: 9.4 ± 1.3 years). All data were collected using GPS units (SPI-Pro, GPSports, Canberra, Australia). The movement behaviour was measured with kinematic data, used to calculate position-specific centroids (defenders, midfielders and forwards), and processed with non-linear statistical procedures (approximate entropy normalised and relative phase). There were significant effects and interactions in all variables across the players' positions. The results showed that displacements of all players (defenders, midfielders and forwards) were nearer and more coordinated with their own position-specific centroids than with the other centroids. However, this coupling effect was stronger in midfield players and weaker in forwards. All players' dynamical positioning showed more irregularity when related to the forwards' centroid, as a consequence of their need to be less predictable when playing. The time-motion and physiological variables showed lower activity in forward players. Adding together, the results may contribute to a better understanding of players' specific performances and football complexity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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