Training/Match External Load Ratios in Professional Soccer Players : A Full-Season Study
ISSPF FACULTY MEMBER PUBLICATION
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The aim of this study was two-fold: (i) to describe the training/match ratios of different external load measures during a full professional soccer season while analyzing the variations between different types of weeks (three, four and five training sessions/week) and (ii) to investigate the relationship between weekly accumulated training loads and the match demands of the same week. Twenty-seven professional soccer players (24.9 ± 3.5 years old) were monitored daily using a 10-Hz global positioning system with a 100-Hz accelerometer. Total distance (TD), running distance (RD), high-speed running (HSR), sprinting distance (SD), player load (PL), number of high accelerations (ACC), and number of high decelerations (DEC) were recorded during training sessions and matches. An individual training/match ratio (TMr) was calculated for each external load measure. Weeks with five training sessions (5dW) presented meaningfully greater TMr than weeks with four (4dW) or three (3dW) training sessions. Additionally, TDratio (TDr) was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (mean differences dif: 1.23 arbitray units A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.80 A.U.); HSRr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.68 A.U.); and SDr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.77 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.). Correlations between the weekly training loads and the match demands of the same week were small for PL (r = 0.250 [0.13;0.36]), ACC (r = 0.292 [0.17;0.40]) and DEC (r = 0.236 [0.11;0.35]).
- Results revealed that weeks with five training sessions had statistically greater values for all external load ratios than weeks with three or four sessions.
- Moreover, it was observed that specific variables (e.g., high-speed running distance and sprinting distance) were associated with substantially lower ratios than other variables.
- It might be necessary for coaches to schedule more training sessions to promote differences between weekly accumulated training load and the load imposed in a single match.
- However, since matches are dynamic and unpredictable in some respects, it may be impossible for accumulated weekly loads and their variations to be adjusted according to match loads.