Time motion analysis of varsity cup soccer
Introduction: Soccer is an intermittent sport characterised by periods of moderate-intensity running and short high-intensity bursts. Understanding the physical and physiological demands of the sport is essential for constructing sport-specific and position-specific conditioning programmes. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to quantify the physical and physiological demands of different positions in second division soccer. The main focuses calculated were the total distance covered, distance covered in high-intensity, distance covered in different velocity categories, and player load of the different positions in second division soccer and to compare results to higher level leagues. Methods: GPS data on a total of twenty-four (24) players were collected and a total of thirteen soccer matches were analysed for the study. Therefore, a total of hundred and forty-nine (149) GPS data sets (player games) were analysed. Minimax X4 Catapult GPS units, as well as a Polar HR monitors and chest straps, were used to determine the physical and physiological demands of soccer players. The following variables were recorded: Distances covered, player load, the velocity bands during the match; and heart rate (HR) response. The various HR and GPS data variables were analysed using a linear mixed model with Playing Position as fixed effect, and the random effects Game, Team, Game x, Team interaction term, and Player. Fitting these random effects allowed for correlation between the observations in question due to multiple observations from the same game, team, and player. Based on this linear mixed model, the mean values of the variable for each playing position were estimated, together with their standard errors. Furthermore, the pairwise mean differences between playing positions were estimated, together with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the mean differences and P-values (p<0.05) associated with the null-hypothesis of zero mean difference between the pair of playing positions in question. Results: Soccer players in the current study performed at 75% of the maximum HR. The CM had the highest mean HR (161.5 b/min), while the GK had the lowest mean HR (143.3 b/min). The W had the highest mean maximum HR (213m), while the CA had the lowest maximum HR (207.9m).Outfield soccer players in the current study cover between 8241.5m and 10024.9m mean total distance, while the GK covers 4,7km mean total distance. The W covered the highest total distance (10024.9m), closely followed by the CM (9734.9m) and CA (9911.5m). The GK, on the other hand, covered the lowest total distance (4692.4m). The GK covered the highest walking distance (3361.6m) and lowest distance in every other movement classification. The CM covered the highest jogging distance (5009.3m), while the CA covered the highest running distance (936.5m). The W covered the highest sprinting distance (258.4m), closely followed by the CA (175.2m). The CM had the highest total player load (1044.5au), player load per meter (0.107au/m), and player load per minute (11.085au/min), whereas the GK had the lowest player load in all categories. Conclusions: Based on player load and mean HR, it appears that the CM experiences a greater physiological demand than all the other positions on the field, while the GK experiences the lowest physiological demand. Training the CM, therefore, should focus on improving aerobic capacity to ensure readiness for the in-match rigours of the position. The total distance covered by the W suggests that the W experiences the highest physical demand among all positions. Since the W covers the highest sprinting distance among all positions, training regimens should focus on improving the W’s anaerobic capacity and repeated sprint ability to prepare the W for the high-intensity demands associated with the position. When using these results as an aid in the design of conditioning programmes, coaches and trainers are advised to consider that this study adds to a limited number of studies conducted on South African soccer. Furthermore, the current study was conducted in the second division of South African soccer. As a result, comparisons with studies from other countries should be made with utmost caution, particularly owing to differences in performance standards, as well as climatic and other environmental differences.