Straight sprinting is the most dominant action in goal situations in professional football

Speed and power abilities are considered important determinants of successful football players. However, this assumption is largely based on plausibility, because power and speed are suggested to be relevant in decisive situations in football games. Surprisingly, only scarce scientific data is available substantiating this view. The present study aimed at analysing the influence of speed and power in goal situations in professional football by means of video analyses. During the second leg of the season 2007/08 videos of 397 goals in the first German national league were analysed by visual inspection. For the assisting as well as the scoring player the situations directly preceding the goal were evaluated by visual video analysis. The observed actions were categorised into the following main categories: no powerful action, rotation (around the body´s centre-line), straight sprint, change-in-direction sprint (> 50 degrees from straight sprint line), jump, or a combination of those categories (intra- and inter-rater-reliability: kappa coefficients between 0.67 and 1.00). For 315 goals (79.3%) at least one powerful action of either the scoring or the assisting player was observed. 31 goals (7.8%) resulted directly from a standard situation. In 226 of 366 goals (61.7%) at least one powerful action (total N=262) of the scoring player was observed. The majority of those actions were straight sprints (N=161, Chi-square test: p<0.001 compared to other categories) followed by jumps (N=57) as well as rotations and change-in-direction sprints (N=22 each). Most straight sprints were conducted without an opponent (N=109, p<0.001) and without the ball (N=121, p<0.001). The most frequent combination of powerful actions was a sprint followed by a jump (N=18). Similar results were obtained for the assisting player. 38 goals (10.4%) were assisted by a standard situation. In 195 of 328 goals (59.5%) at least one powerful action (total N=227) of the assisting player was observed. Again, the most dominant actions were straight sprints (N=155, p<0.001) followed by rotations (N=30), jumps (N=24) and change-in-direction sprints (N=18). Most of the straight sprints were conducted with the ball (N=93, p<0.01). The present results show that straight sprints are the most important powerful actions in goal situations in professional football. It might be speculated that other power abilities which are shown to be of minor importance when scoring goals (rotations, change-in-direction sprints or jumps) may be more important in defensive situations where players must react on the opponent´s behaviour. However, this issue should be content of future research. In conclusion, the results of the present study show that power and speed abilities are important in decisive situations in professional football. In particular, straight sprinting seems the most dominant action and, hence, should be included in fitness testing and training.
© Copyright 2009 14th annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo/Norway, June 24-27, 2009, Book of Abstracts. Published by The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. All rights reserved.

Subjects: soccer high performance sport elite sport analysis performance movement competition sprint movement co-ordination movement velocity motor skill
Notations: sport games
Published in: 14th annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo/Norway, June 24-27, 2009, Book of Abstracts
Editors: S. Loland, K. Boe, K. Fasting, J. Hallen, Y. Ommundsen, G. Roberts, E. Tsolakidis
Published: Oslo The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences 2009
Pages: 435
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced