Quantification of physical and psychological loads: differences in competitive levels and the effects on match results

Antonio José José Gómez Díaz, Jesus G Pallarés, Arturo Díaz, Paul S Bradley


This study analyses the response of professional soccer players of different competitive levels to competition and training stimuli, together with the latter’s relationship with performance during matches. A total of 20 Elite players (Premier League) and 22 Sub-elite players (Championship Division) took part in the study. The training load for each player was monitored by measuring the % maximum heart rate (% HRmax), training time at different intensities, rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and competition load through the ProZone® multi-camera tracking system during the second round of the league for both teams. The RPE, % HRmax, training distance and distance covered during the official match were significantly lower (p < .05) in the case of the Elite players. The RPE - a valid method of estimating the players’ physical and psychological load – was significantly correlated (p < .05) with the recorded physical performance during training and competition. The total distance covered during the competition was significantly higher (p < .05) for both teams when they won their matches. The results of this study suggest that world-class soccer players have a lower training and competition load, relying more on their technical and tactical skills.

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Copyright (c) 2013 Antonio José José Gómez Díaz, Jesus G Pallarés, Arturo Díaz, Paul S Bradley