In the following case study, 14 top-level soccer players were filmed and studied during 5 different matches. The objective of this experiment was to determine the different levels of fitness required to play certain positions.
Most would agree the fitness demands of a midfielder would be greater than a defender or a striker. A strong case would have the full backs requiring iron lungs and the greatest need for fitness and stamina.
What do you think?
During the experiment, the player’s movement was recorded and blood lactate values were obtained at the conclusion of each match.
The mean distance covered by these players was 10.8km. For those that aren’t familiar with the term mean, it simply means the average. 10.8km was the average distance covered amongst the 14 players.
The standard deviation also known as the average individual difference between matches was 0.92km.
Midfielders covered an average distance of 11.4km, 10% more than defenders and forwards, but with no difference in high intensity running.
There was a significant correlation between the amount of high intensity running during the match and lactate concentration in the blood.
Results from the experiment suggest that the training regime for forwards, midfielders and defenders should be the same.
All players irrespective of position require a sound aerobic base required to cover 10.8km during 90 minutes.
Based on the blood tests, all players require sufficient anaerobic training to prepare them for high intensity and sprint running when necessary during the match.
The game of soccer has evolved so much that every player needs to be super fit. Gone are the days where stoppers and centre backs could sit deep in there own half and defend from the edge of their box. Defenders need to be overlapping and are required to set up counter attacks with overlapping runs from deep.
Midfielders need to orchestrate and control the pace of the game while covering every blade of grass. Don’t think for one minute the strikers have it easy. Not only do they have to dodge flying tackles and studs (cleats), they need to chase the overlapping defenders while trying to put the ball in the ol onion bag.
If you plan on playing a position that requires little running, think again.
Those positions no longer exist.
Don’t just take my word for it; science is based on facts. The results from this experiment clearly show that the distance covered by all players is virtually the same with the same intensity requirements. So before you contemplate any position, make sure you get yourself super fit.
The following experiment was conducted at the University of Connecticut.
“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars.”