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Kunle's Soccer

Posted on 7 July 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

In the second part of his 'Soccer and Science' series, Fitness Coach Kunle Odetoyinbo explains the demands on a footballer.

Demands of the game

Watching the Spurs team perform on match day constantly reminds me of the preparation which has gone before, in shaping those who present themselves on the field of play.

Although a football match consists of 90 minutes of activity, plus up to thirty minutes extra time, training, travel and pre-match routines are all but a few of the activities that precede this event.

So from my perspective, it is not only the training that is the focus of attention when trying to understand the physiological requirements of playing.

The physiological demands of matchplay can be realised from the distance covered by players of differing positions.

In addition the percentage of time spent in different modes of movement gives us a further indication of the requirements of each game.


Jog: 35%
Walk 32%
Cruise 15%
Walk backwards 9%
Sprint 3%**
Jog backwards 3%
Jog sideways 3%

** Despite the recognition of the need for speed in soccer, one can see from the figures that only a small percentage of the total distance covered is in some form of sprint. Nevertheless it is during this form of movement that most of the crucial moments in soccer occur.

Motion analysis of our players using sophisticated cameras and a computer reveal that from a positional perspective, players cover a range of distances during a game.

This distances will vary according to the tactics employed and the formation used.

From my perspective this information is useful because it indicates the demands physiologically placed on each individual in a match based on position.

This in turn can be used to set training programmes and assess the suitability of players for certain positions and systems.

Kunle Odetoyinbo
Fitness Coach and Exercise Physiologist