Match Acceleration and Deceleration Patterns in Female Collegiate Soccer Players

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 Department of Physical Therapy & Human Movement Science, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT, USA
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The purpose of the current investigation was to report acceleration and deceleration match data in female collegiate soccer players and compare between positions and game halves. A total of 24 players (11 defenders, five midfielders, and eight forwards) (age: M = 19.1, SD = 1.2 years; height: M = 1.64, SD = 0.05 m; and mass: M = 62.2, SD = 5.8 kg) underwent global positioning system monitoring and performance testing. Forwards covered significantly more distance per minute during high-intensity running (effect size [d]: 0.49) and sprinting (d = 0.64) when compared to midfielders across 16 matches for players logging  22.5 min per half. Significant and meaningful positional differences were determined with forwards covering the greatest average distance per acceleration efforts (d = 0.55) and initiating acceleration and deceleration efforts from a greater initial speed (ds = 0.57 and 0.69). When analyzing across all matches for players logging ≥ 40 min per half, second half decreases occurred in the number of accelerations (p < .001; d = 1.98) and decelerations (p < .001; d = 1.92), average distance of accelerations (p < .001; d = 0.83) and decelerations (p = .03; d = 1.30), and starting speed of accelerations (p = .01; d = 0.92) and decelerations (p = .04; d = 1.28). These results provide useful context when interpreting global positioning system–derived player-tracking metrics and can improve positional-specific training programs.

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