Characterizing the most demanding passages of kinematic and mechanical activity in elite football: a multifactorial approach

Farzad Yousefian, Abdullah Zafar, Dan Fransson, Magni Mohr, João Brito, Bruno Travassos

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Abstract

This study investigated the 5-minute most demanding passages (MDP) of kinematic (distance
covered) and mechanical (acceleration and deceleration) activities in elite male football according to multifactorial
criterion performance variables. Global positioning systems data were collected from 39 players across 45 matches
in the Swedish first division (n = 329 observations). The multifactorial kinematic variable (MDPk) was composed
of the concurrent distances covered at moderate-speed running, high-speed running, and sprinting distances,
and the multifactorial mechanical (MDPm) considered the concurrent occurrences of high-intensity acceleration
and deceleration activities. A moving average method was used to identify the MDP across a 5-minute period.
The frequency distribution of the multifactorial variables, and differences in the time of occurrence and magnitude
between multifactorial performance variables and their univariate constituent variables were investigated.
Frequency distribution analysis revealed MDPk and MDPm peaked in the first 5 min of the match (MDPk:
χ2 (15, N = 329) = 135.88, p ≤ 0.001, W: 0.64, 115.99 ± 32.7 s; MDPm: χ2 (15, N = 329) = 31.02, p ≤ 0.001,
W: 0.31, 101.21 ± 25.1 s; p ≤ 0.0004). Within each half, differences in the MDP commencement time between
the multifactorial variables and their respective discrete univariate constituent variables were trivial to small
(MDPk effect size (ES): 0.04–0.21; MDPm ES: 0.02–0.11). Linear mixed model analysis demonstrated that the
MDP magnitude of multifactorial variables were approximately 8–28% and 8–21% lower across the match and
halves, respectively, compared to the MDP of their respective univariate constituent variables (p ≤ 0.001;
r = 0.26–0.62). The greatest differences between the respective multifactorial and discrete constituent variables
were observed for sprinting (-28%) and high-intensity acceleration (-22%). The results reveal that the MDP is
distinguished based on peak kinematic and mechanical demands, which occur at discrete periods and exhibit
distinct locomotor profiles across the match and within each half. Practitioners should consider the methods of
identifying the MDP, as the selection of univariate and multifactorial kinematic and mechanical performance
variables can impact MDP characterization, which can qualify the designing of bespoke training protocols.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalBiology of Sport
Volume41
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Most intense periods
  • GPS
  • Match demands
  • Performance
  • team sport

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