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The within-match patterns of locomotor efficiency during professional soccer match play: implications for injury risk?

Barrett, Steve; Midgley, Adrian; Reeves, Matt; Joel, Tom; Franklin, Ed; Heyworth, Rob; Garrett, Andrew; Lovell, Ric


Steve Barrett

Adrian Midgley

Matt Reeves

Tom Joel

Ed Franklin

Rob Heyworth

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Dr Andrew Garrett
Senior Lecturer in Exercise and Environmental Physiology

Ric Lovell


Objectives The principle aim of the current study was to examine within-match patterns of locomotor efficiency in professional soccer, determined as the ratio between tri-axial accelerometer data (PlayerLoad™) and locomotor activities. Between match variability and determinants of PlayerLoad™ during match play were also assessed. Design A single cohort, observational study. Methods Tri-axial accelerometer data (PlayerLoad™) was recorded during 86 competitive soccer matches in 63 English championship players (574 match observations). Accelerometer data accumulated (PlayerLoad Vector Magnitude [PLVM]) from the individual-component planes of PlayerLoad™ (anterior–posterior PlayerLoad™ [PLAP], medial–lateral PlayerLoad™ [PLML] and vertical PlayerLoad™ [PLV]), together with locomotor activity (Total Distance Covered [TDC]) were determined in 15-min segments. Locomotor efficiency was calculated using the ratio of PLVM and TDC (PlayerLoad™ per metre). The proportion of variance explaining the within-match trends in PLVM, PLAP, APML, APv, and TDC was determined owing to matches, individual players, and positional role. Results PLVM, PLAP, APML, APv and TDC reduced after the initial 15-min match period (p = 0.001; η2 = 0.22–0.43, large effects). PL:TDC increased in the last 15 min of each half (p = 0.001; η2 = 0.25, large effect). The variance in PLVM during soccer match-play was explained by individual players (63.9%; p = 0.001) and between-match variation (21.6%; p = 0.001), but not positional role (14.1%; p = 0.364). Conclusions Locomotor efficiency is lower during the latter stages of each half of competitive soccer match-play, a trend synonymous with observations of increased injury incidence and fatigue in these periods. Locomotor efficiency may be a valuable metric to identify fatigue and heightened injury risk during soccer training and match-play.


Barrett, S., Midgley, A., Reeves, M., Joel, T., Franklin, E., Heyworth, R., …Lovell, R. (2016). The within-match patterns of locomotor efficiency during professional soccer match play: implications for injury risk?. Journal of science and medicine in sport / Sports Medicine Australia, 19(10), 810-815.

Acceptance Date Dec 19, 2015
Publication Date 2016-10
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of science and medicine in sport
Print ISSN 1440-2440
Electronic ISSN 1878-1861
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 10
Pages 810-815
Keywords Accelerometry, Football, Injury risk, Fatigue
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Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: The within-match patterns of locomotor efficiency during professional soccer match play: Implications for injury risk?; Journal Title: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2015 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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