Training/Match External Load Ratios in Professional Soccer Players: A Full-Season Study

Filipe Clemente, Alireza Rabbani, Daniele Conte, Daniel Castillo, Jose Afonso, Cain Clark, Pantelis Theodoros Nikolaidis, Thomas Rosemann, Beat Knechtle

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The aim of this study was two-fold: (i) to describe the training/match ratios of different external load measures during a full professional soccer season while analyzing the variations between different types of weeks (three, four and five training sessions/week) and (ii) to investigate the relationship between weekly accumulated training loads and the match demands of the same week. Twenty-seven professional soccer players (24.9 ± 3.5 years old) were monitored daily using a 10-Hz global positioning system with a 100-Hz accelerometer. Total distance (TD), running distance (RD), high-speed running (HSR), sprinting distance (SD), player load (PL), number of high accelerations (ACC), and number of high decelerations (DEC) were recorded during training sessions and matches. An individual training/match ratio (TMr) was calculated for each external load measure. Weeks with five training sessions (5dW) presented meaningfully greater TMr than weeks with four (4dW) or three (3dW) training sessions. Additionally, TDratio (TDr) was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (mean differences dif: 1.23 arbitray units A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.80 A.U.); HSRr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.68 A.U.); and SDr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.77 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.). Correlations between the weekly training loads and the match demands of the same week were small for PL (r = 0.250 [0.13;0.36]), ACC (r = 0.292 [0.17;0.40]) and DEC (r = 0.236 [0.11;0.35]). This study reveals that ratios of above 1 were observed for specific measures (e.g., HSR, SD). It was also observed that training sessions are not adjusted according to weekly variations in match demands.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3057
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2019


Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • association football
  • external load
  • load quantification
  • sports training
  • training load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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