Changes in physical performance variables in an English Championship League team across the competitive season: the effect of possession

Ryland Morgans, David Adams, Richard Mullen, Morgan Williams

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This study examined changes in physical match performance of six players from an English Championship League team across the competitive season and examined the effect of team possession. Sprint and high intensity distances and frequency of efforts were all greatest in early-season, and were significantly reduced in both mid-and-late-season phases (all p < 0.0001). None of these variables were, however, related to team possession (p range = 0.2759 to 0.7411). Total distance covered on the other hand was sustained and did not significantly change over the season phases (p = 0.9219), but it was negatively associated with possession (p = 0.0080). This association suggests that physical demands were lower when this team was in possession of the ball. In summary, evidence of residual fatigue at mid-and-late-season was obtained from sprint and high intensity variables. Given possession was associated with a reduced total distance covered during matches, it may be speculated that better quality teams are able to maintain possession for longer periods of matches and thus require less recovery time due to reduced physical match demands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-503
JournalInternational Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2014


  • Soccer
  • time-motion analysis
  • sprinting
  • high intensity running
  • possession

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