ISSN: 1899-1955
Human Movement
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SCImago Journal & Country Rank
 
2/2021
vol. 22
 
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abstract:
Original paper

The influence of playing position on the physical, technical, and network variables of sub-elite professional soccer athletes

Gibson Praça
1
,
Laura Beatriz Faleiro Diniz
1
,
Filipe Manuel Clemente
2, 3
,
Sarah Da Glória Teles Bredt
1
,
Bruno Couto
1, 4
,
André Gustavo Pereira de Andrade
1
,
Adam Lee Owen
5, 6

1.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
2.
Escola Superior de Desporto e Lazer, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
3.
Instituto de Telecomunicações, Delegação da Covilhã, Covilhã, Portugal
4.
University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
5.
Claude Bernard Lyon University, Lyon, France
6.
Seattle Sounders Football Club, Seattle, Washington, USA
Hum Mov. 2021;22(2):22–31
Online publish date: 2020/11/15
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Purpose
Match analysis must adopt multidimensional performance indicators, which include analysing playing position influence in official matches. The study compared physical, technical, and network variables of Brazilian soccer athletes from different positions.

Methods
Overall, 17 professional soccer athletes (3 central defenders, 4 fullbacks, 5 central midfielders, 3 wide forwards, 2 central forwards) were monitored during 6 official matches. External load data were collected with a 10-Hz GPS device. The number of passes, shots, losses of ball possession, and balls recovered were coded. Athletes’ network centralities were assessed with social network analysis.

Results
Central midfielders (10.0 ± 0.8 km) and wide forwards (10.4 ± 0.4 km) covered higher distances than central defenders (10.2% and 14.7%, respectively; ES = 0.392) and central forwards (16.7% and 21.5%, respectively; ES = 0.392). Wide forwards performed more high-intensity running (17.8 ± 2.5) than central defenders (91.4%; ES = 0.377) and forwards (88.9%; ES = 0.377). Central defenders (43.1 ± 22.3) and fullbacks (41.5 ± 17.3) performed more passes than forwards (453.4% and 470.0%, respectively; ES = 0.383). Central defenders (0.16 ± 0.04 AU) and fullbacks (0.14 ± 0.05 AU) presented a higher degree of centrality than all other positions (ES = 0.651). Wide forwards presented a higher degree of prestige (0.13 ± 0.05 AU) than central defenders (325%; ES = 0.242). The highest prominence was observed for wide (0.12 ± 0.01 AU) and central forwards (0.12 ± 0.03 AU) (ES = 0.509).

Conclusions
Physical and technical responses and network properties are position-specific among sub-elite athletes.

keywords:

soccer, match analysis, playing position, GPS devices, social network analysis, notational analysis

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