Positional Differences in Peak- and Accumulated-Training Load Relative to Match Load in Elite Football

Ivan Baptista, Dag Johansen, Pedro Figueiredo, António Rebelo, Svein A. Pettersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Quantification of training and match load is an important method to personalize the training stimulus' prescription to players according to their match demands. The present study used time-motion analysis and triaxial-accelerometer to quantify and compare: a) The most demanding passages of play in training sessions and matches (5-min peaks); b) and the accumulated load of typical microcycles and official matches, by playing position. Players performance data in 15 official home matches and 11 in-season microcycles were collected for analysis. Players were divided into four different playing positions: Centre-backs, wing-backs, centre midfielders, and centre forwards. The results show that match demands were overperformed for acceleration counts (acccounts) (131%-166%) and deceleration counts (deccounts) (108%-134%), by all positions. However, relative to match values, training values for sprint distance (sprintdist) and high-intensity run distance (HIRdist) were considerably lower (36%-61% and 57%-71%) than for accelerations and decelerations. The most pronounced difference on the 5-min peaks was observed in sprints (sprintpeak), with wing-backs achieving during the microcycle only 64% of the sprintpeak in matches, while centre backs, centre midfielders, and centre forwards levelled and overperformed the match values (107%, 100%, and 107%, respectively). Differences observed across playing positions in matches and microcycles underline the lack of position specificity of common training drills/sessions adopted by coaches in elite football.

Original languageEnglish
Article number682
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • accelerations
  • external load
  • high-intensity runs
  • microcycle
  • playing position
  • sprints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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