Work vs. Rest – Performance and Fatigue

As the world’s eyes focus on South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, SportMedBC continues to look at some of the soccer science and fitness talking points of the beautiful game.

Are moments of sprinting combined with jogging and walking as difficult as a marathon? The guys at the Science of Sport continue to investigate the demands of playing soccer at a high level.

“Quite clearly, football cannot be treated as a continuous endurance activity.  A match may last 50% longer than an elite half-marathon, but the activity profile is so different that if we wish to discuss fatigue, we have to appreciate the intermittent nature of the sport.

And the crux is that a footballer will attempt an average of 100 sprints per match, each lasting somewhere between 2 and 5 seconds.  Recovery time is minimal – a 1:2 work-rest ratio means that the most important requirement of conditioning is to prepare the players to recover from repeated sprints.  Speed, acceleration and ability to change direction – all of which are impaired when a player is ‘tired’ – are the difference between good and great players.  But they are meaningless if a player only possesses them for 20 minutes of a 90 minute match!”

For more, check out the story here.

Photo: Getty Images

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