Biology of Sport
eISSN: 2083-1862
ISSN: 0860-021X
Biology of Sport
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4/2022
vol. 39
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Influence of the COVID-19 lockdown on Spanish professional soccer teams’ external demands according to their on-field ranking

Javier Raya-González
1
,
Tomás García-Calvo
2
,
Ana Rubio-Morales
2
,
Roberto López del Campo
3
,
Ricardo Resta
3
,
José Carlos Ponce-Bordón
2

1.
Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Isabel I, Spain
2.
Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Extremadura, Spain
3.
LaLiga Sport Research Section, Madrid, Spain
Biol Sport. 2022;39(4):1081–1086
Online publish date: 2022/02/18
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The main objective of this study was to analyse the changes in external demand parameters (e.g., total distance, high-speed running distance, accelerations/decelerations) in Spanish professional soccer teams after the COVID-19 lockdown considering their on-field ranking (i.e., teams whose ranking worsened after the COVID-19 lockdown [WRS] vs. teams that improved their ranking after the COVID-19 lockdown [IMP]). A total of 23,527 individual match observations were collected on players competing during the 2019/20 season in the First Spanish Professional soccer League (LaLiga). Goalkeepers and players who participated for less than 10 minutes in each match were excluded. Relative total distance (TD/min), distance covered at 21–24 km·h-1 (HIRD/min) and > 24 km·h-1 per minute (VHIRD/min), high metabolic load distance (HMLD), and the number of accelerations (3 m/s2 ) and decelerations (< 3 m/s2 ) performed were analysed by the ChryonHego videotracking system. These variables were analysed during two differentiated periods, before the COVID-19 lockdown (i.e., 27 matches) and after the COVID-19 lockdown (i.e., 11 matches), and teams were classified into two groups according to their ranking (i.e., WRS vs. IMP). R-Studio was employed for data analysis and a mixed linear model was conducted. A decrease in external demands in all teams after the COVID-19 lockdown was observed, and this decrease was greater in WRS. These results suggest that, after an inactive period (i.e., the COVID-19 lockdown), teams that return with better physical performance, mainly related to high-intensity actions, have more possibilities of improving their final qualifying position.
keywords:

SARS-COV-2, Quarantine, Football, Physical demands, Spanish LaLiga, Elite soccer

 
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