The influence of situational and environmental factors on match-running in soccer - A systematic review


It is common practice amongst researchers and practitioners to monitor the effects of external load via electronic tracking systems. Both semi-automatic multiple camera systems and global positioning system technologies are used worldwide to quantify match-running. As soccer is a global game, the playing environments can differ, with heat and altitude being factors that may impact players running performance. Further, tactical and situational match factors may also have an effect on match-running performance. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to systematically review current literature on the environmental and situational factors affecting match-running in soccer. An electronic database search (PubMed, EBSCOHost and Web of Science) was conducted. Further articles known to the authors were also included. A total of 1806 studies were identified, with only 28 meeting the specific search criteria. The main findings were that trivial changes in match-running were observed with regards to possession, team formation and match status (win, lose, draw). Match-running was affected by temperatures as low as 20°C, with both high- and very-high speed running decreasing (8.5% and 15% respectively), whilst altitude lowers the number of high-speed efforts completed by players (7.1–25%). Findings indicate that environmental factors have a strong influence on the variability and differences observed in match-running performances from match-to-match. Further understanding of the effect of match factors on match-running would allow better planning to minimise possible detrimental factors, particularly in relation to gender.

Science and Medicine in Football, 1(2)
Josh Trewin
Josh Trewin
Sport and Data Scientist

I’m a data scientist, learning my way through R / Python and applying to football data from StatsBomb, provided for free through GitHub. Follow my journey on here or LinkedIn/Facebook to find out when I add new content.

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