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Fitness Profiling in Soccer: Physical and Physiologic Characteristics of Elite Players

Sporis, Goran1; Jukic, Igor1; Ostojic, Sergej M2; Milanovic, Dragan1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 7 - pp 1947-1953
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b3e141
Original Research

Sporis, G, Jukic, I, Ostojic, SM, and Milanovic, D. Fitness profiling in soccer: physical and physiologic characteristics of elite players. J Strength Cond Res 23(7): 1947-1953, 2009-The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether players in different positional roles have a different physical and physiologic profile. For the purpose of this study, physiologic measurements were taken of 270 soccer players during the precompetitive period of 2005/06 and the precompetitive period of 2006/07. According to the positional roles, players were categorized as defenders (n = 80), midfielders (n = 80), attackers (n = 80), and goalkeepers (n = 30). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was use to determinate differences between team positions. Goalkeepers are the tallest and the heaviest players in the team. They are also the slowest players in the team when sprinting ability over 10 and 20 meters is required. Attackers were the quickest players in the team when looking at sprint values over 5, 10, and 20 meters. There were statistically significant differences between attacker and defenders when measuring vertical jump height by squat jump. Goalkeepers were able to perform better on explosive power tests (squat jump and countermovement jump) than players in the field. Midfielders had statistically significant superior values of relative oxygen consumption, maximal heart rate, maximal running speed, and blood lactate than defenders and attackers. Defenders had more body fat than attackers and midfielders (p < 0.05). Coaches are able to use this information to determine which type of profile is needed for a specific position. It is obvious that players in different positions have different physical and physiologic profiles. Experienced coaches can use this information in the process of designing a training program to maximize the fitness development of soccer players with one purpose only, to achieve success in soccer.

1Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Croatia; and 2Institute of Sports Medicine, Sport Academy, Belgrade, Serbia

Laboratory: Sports-diagnostic centre of the Faculty of Kinesiology.

Address correspondence to Dr. Goran Sporis,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association