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Association between Running and Game Performance
The relationship between running performance (RP) and game performance indicators (GPI) was always a topic of discussion. Although GPI (as standard soccer performance variables) and RP are often investigated separately, to the best of our knowledge, there is no study that simultaneously observed both groups of performance variables during official soccer matches.
The aim of this study was to identify possible associations that may exist between running performance and game performance in professional soccer players. Additionally, RP and GPI were compared among playing positions.
The participants in this study were professional soccer players from Croatia, and all were members of one team competing at the highest national.
- GPI was obtained by the position-specific InStat index (InStat, Moscow, Russia). The InStat index is calculated on the basis of a unique set of key parameters for each playing position (i.e., pressing, dribbling, finishing, counterattacking (for Wide Midfielders)), with a higher numerical value indicating better performance.
- RP data was obtained by GPS technology (Catapult S5 and X4 devices, Melbourne, Australia).
- Significant (p < 0.05) association between the InStat index and match outcome for the total sample.
- Significant ANOVA differences were found among playing positions (p < 0.05) in all running performances, with large ES.
- The total running distance and high-intensity accelerations were correlated with the InStat index for CD (r = 0.42 and r = 0.49, respectively). Furthermore, the number of decelerations was significantly correlated with the InStat in FB (r = –0.43), while distance covered during sprinting was correlated with InStat index in FW (r = 0.80).
“Distance covered during sprinting was correlated with InStat index in FW”
Table 4. Pearson’s product moment correlations between running performances and game performance indicator (InStat) for different playing positions.
* denotes statistical significance of p < 0.05.
Take home messages:
- There is an association between the performance of the players involved in certain game positions and the overall performance of the game. Therefore, improving the quality and quantity of running performance can be decisive in the game.
- Depending on the player’s position, running requirements to increase the success factors are different (i.e., FB number of decelerations, and FW sprinting distance). This means that FW who increased sprinting distance, increased game performance.
- Training running prescriptions in soccer should be based on established requirements specific to the playing positions, which are relationship with game performance indicators. In other words, individual training stimulus to face the individual game performance.
“This means that FW who increased sprinting distance, increased game performance”
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