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Re-examination of the post half-time reduction in soccer work-rate

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To re-examine the work-rate of soccer players immediately after a passive half-time interval with an alternative approach to data reduction and statistical contrasts.

      Design

      Time–motion analysis data (5 Hz global positioning system), were collected from 20 elite youth players (age: 17 ± 1 years) during 21 competitive league fixtures (5 ± 3 matches per player).

      Methods

      Physical performances were categorised into total distance covered, total low-speed running (0–14.9 km h−1) and total high-speed running (15.0–35.0 km h−1). These dependent variables were subsequently time averaged into pre-determined periods of 5-, 15- and 45-min duration, and expressed in relative (m min−1) terms to allow direct comparisons between match periods of different lengths. During the 15-min half-time interval players were passive (seated rest).

      Results

      There was a large reduction in relative total distance covered (effect size – standardised mean difference – 1.85), low-speed running (effect size −1.74) and high-speed running (effect size −1.37) during the opening 5-min phase of the second half (46–50 min) when compared to the first half mean (0–45 min). When comparing the 51–55 and 56–60-min periods, effect sizes were trivial for relative total distance covered (effect size −0.13; −0.04), low-speed running (effect size −0.10; −0.11) and small/trivial for high-speed running (−0.39; 0.11).

      Conclusions

      Using a more robust analytical approach, the findings of this study support and extend previous research demonstrating that players work-rate was markedly lower in the first 5-min after a passive half-time interval, although we observed this phenomenon to be transient in nature. Time–motion analysts might re-consider their data reduction methods and comparators to distinguish within-match player work-rate trends.

      Keywords

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