The distance traveled by a footballer is important?


Soccer is a popular sport worldwide and that moves millions of people, practitioners or spectators. The practitioners, they are amateur or professional, seeking the best performance in the field seeking help your team achieve great results.

The intensity and the workload are influential on the necessary physiological demand in a match, and these variables can be indicated by the distance

traveled by the athlete. The activities carried out by the practitioners during the match and the intensity of the same determine the type of action (Hughes, 2003).

Studies have considered that the work rate profile is able to estimate the contribution of each energy system during the game, as well as to identify factors contributing to training programs (Tumilty, 1993; Bangsbo, 1994).

The work rate can be described by the distance traveled by the athlete and / or the frequency of their actions within the game (Bangsbo, 1994;. STOLEN, et al, 2005).

Distance traveled in field

Several studies have been produced in order to compare the distance traveled by athletes from different positions on the field, compare technical levels, among others.

In table found in the book Football: Applied Sciences Game and Training (See below) we can see that the distance traveled by the online players have a range from 8000 to 12,000 meters per game, while some authors report that this variation may be due to difference of assessment methods (Ekblom, 1986; REILLY, 2003).


Activities or actions in the game

There is a big discussion about what would be the difference between teams of different levels of sports performance.

For this mission, the distance covered by the athlete is unable to measure. As a parameter in Thatcher research and Batterham (2004), noted that the distance athletes Under-19 averaged 600 meters above the professional athletes, what makes us think that more important than the distance, it is the number of actions during the game, and the distance at high intensity.

Over the years football has become more agile, hard and with less space for large displacements at low intensity as before (SILVA NETO, 2013).

The number of shares in the game increased in recent years making anaerobic activities, with greater intensity, making the work rate higher and key to achieving the expected results.

Factors influencing the work rate

The literature highlights factors that influence the distance on the field and the rate of work, being them:

  • Positioning in the field (RIENZI, et al, 2000)
  • Greater aerobic fitness (and REALLY WILLIAMS, 2003)
  • Different styles and game systems (RIENZI, et al, 2000)
  • Fatigue level (RAHNAMA et al, 2003)
  • Competitive level (O’DONOGHUE et al., 2001).

The literature highlights the distance traveled difference according to the position on the field, where it is consensus that the midfielders in general have greater distance in a game, especially when you have a responsibility to support the defense and attack (STOLEN et al., 2005).

Rienzi et al. (2000) reports that midfielders have more aerobic actions as attackers and defenders use more intense and anaerobic movements.

Another factor that influence the distance the footballer’s style of play, which can range from quick counter attacks, keeping possession, more defensive style, long balls, etc.

In addition to this, fatigue is a factor, as some articles have found reductions in distances traveled by athletes in the second half compared the distance achieved during the first starting time (ANANIAS et al, 1998;. RAHNAMA et al, 2003).

Finally, the competitive level is also a variable that should be highlighted, where it was found in the literature a significant difference between professional and

amateur, where the first had a greater distance and greater number of shares during the matches (O’DONOGHUE et al., 2001).


We can suggest to the findings that the distance is not decisive in general, only if there is a considerable amount of intense shifts, able to provide decisive moments in the match (MOHR et al., 2003).

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