Quantification of in-season training load relative to match load in professional Dutch Eredivisie football players

T.G.A. Stevens, C.J. de Ruiter, Jos Twisk, G.J.P. Savelsbergh, P.J. Beek

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: The aims of this study were (1) to quantify and compare the load of a professional football team's training days and matches and (2) to compare training of nonstarters the day after the match with regular training of starters and nonstarters.

Methods: On-field training load during in-season training days (categorized as days before match day, i.e., MD minus) and 3 friendly matches were recorded using alocal positioning measurement system.

Results: Mixed linear models showed lower load when training approached match day. Relative to match values (100%), training values for running (52 -20%; MD-4 -MD-1) and high-speed running (38 -15%) were lower than for total distance (67 -35%), and all considerably lower than match values. On average, medium and high accelerations and decelerations during training were more similar to match values (90 -39%). Load during nonstarters training was lower than during regular training for almost all variables on MD-4 and several high-intensity variables on MD-3 and MD-2.

Conclusions: The results highlight that acceleration and deceleration measures complement more commonly used external load variables based on distance and speed. Furthermore, nonstarters are potentially under-loaded compared to starters, especially in terms of (high-speed) running.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Medicine in Football
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2017


  • acceleration
  • elite soccer
  • external load
  • metabolic power
  • nonstarters
  • time-motion


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