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Quantifying volume and high-speed technical actions of professional soccer players using foot-mounted inertial measurement units

Lewis, Glyn; McLaren-Towlson, Christopher; Roversi, Pietro; Domogalla, Chris; Herrington, Lee; Barrett, Steve


Glyn Lewis

Pietro Roversi

Chris Domogalla

Lee Herrington

Steve Barrett


Aims The aims of the study were two-fold: I) examine the validity and reliability of high-speed kicking actions using foot-mounted inertial measurement unit's (IMU), ii) quantify soccer players within-microcycle and inter-positional differences in both the frequency and speed of technical actions. Methods During the in-season phase (25 weeks) of the UK domestic season, 21 professional soccer player ball releases, high-speed ball releases and ball release index were analysed. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient and confidence intervals were used to determine the validity between the systems, whilst a general linear mixed model analysis approach was used to establish estimated marginal mean values for total ball releases, high-speed ball releases and ball release index. Results Good concurrent validity was observed for ball release velocity and high-speed kicks against a high-speed camera (r2- 0.96, CI 0.93-0.98). Ball releases, high-speed ball releases and ball release index all showed main effects for fixture proximity (p>0.001), playing positions (p>0.001) and across different training categories (p>0.001). The greatest high-speed ball releases were observed on a match-day (MD)+1 (17.6 ± 11.9; CI- 16.2 to 19) and MD-2 (16.8 ± 15; CI- 14.9 to 18.7), with MD+1 exhibiting the highest number of ball releases (161.1 ± 51.2; CI- 155.0 to 167.2) and ball release index (145.5 ± 45.2; CI- 140.1 to 150.9) across all fixture proximities. Possessions (0.3 ± 0.9; CI- 0.3 to 0.4) and small-sided games (1.4 ± 1.6; CI- 1.4 to 1.5), had the lowest values for high-speed ball releases with technical (6.1 ± 7.2; CI- 5.7 to 6.6) and tactical (10.0 ± 10.5; CI- 6.9 to 13.1) drills showing the largest high-speed ball releases. Conclusions The present study provides novel information regarding the quantification of technical actions of professional soccer players. Insights into absolute and relative frequency and intensity of releases in different drill types, provide practitioners with valuable information on technical outputs that can be manipulated during the process of planning training programmes to produce desired outcomes. Both volume and speed of ball release actions should be measured, when monitoring the technical actions in training according to fixture proximity, drill type and player position to permit enhanced training prescription.


Lewis, G., McLaren-Towlson, C., Roversi, P., Domogalla, C., Herrington, L., & Barrett, S. (2022). Quantifying volume and high-speed technical actions of professional soccer players using foot-mounted inertial measurement units. PLoS ONE, 17(2), Article e0263518.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 20, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 3, 2022
Publication Date Feb 3, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 23, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 23, 2022
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 2
Article Number e0263518
Keywords Professional Soccer Training, Technical Actions, Return to Play, Microcycle, Monitoring
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Copyright Statement
© 2022 Lewis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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