An exciting time awaits soccer fans ahead of the 2019 Womens World Cup hosted in France with the first game taking place on June 7th between France and Korea Republic. The World Cup is the pinnacle for anyone involved in soccer and as such preparation for such a tournament is paramount.
“Besides technical, tactical and mental training, the physical aspect of the game has also grown in recent years. Today’s game is so fast that the physical demands on a player are tremendous. No matter what level it is played at, soccer requires thorough, supervised physical preparation” says Fatma Samoura, Secretary General for FIFA.
The last FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 saw all teams utilising GPS technology and the FIFA Physical Analysis report from the tournament presented some very valuable insights. The teams used their wearable GPS units to monitor everything, from positional accuracy, speed, distance, to heart rates of players, among other things. This data was then analysed by their team to see exactly how each athlete performed at what point, and the information then used to plan future strategies for the team.
The physical preparation of players is one facet of soccer performance, and along with the technical, tactical and psychological preparation of players, this can make a difference for success at the elite level. Competing in multiple games over a short period of time further increases the physical demands on players to maintain their level of performance and be successful. Physical planning and preparation can be key to ensuring that players are optimally prepared to deal with successive games with limited recovery time. The more information you have in relation to the physical match demands, especially during tournaments, the more specific you can be with the physical preparation of players to cope with such loads, thereby optimising performance and reducing the risk of injury.
The main findings from the FIFA Analysis report were that outfield players covered an average total distance of 6.3mi during games, with 1.4mi of moderate running (7.5-11mph), 432yd of hard running (11.1-13mph), 257yd of optimum sprinting (13.1-15.5mph) and 60yd of maximum sprinting (15.5mph) with the average maximum speed at the tournament being 18.7mph. The highest individual total distance registered was 13909yd by central midfielder, Lauren Holiday from the USA.
Within the report can observe that the intensity of match-play and physical demands increased as the tournament progressed, which has implications for the training and preparation of players. From the data recorded from the tournament, supporters and players that aspire to represent their country one day, have the insights into the way International players perform and can have a better understanding on what happens out on the World Cup field.
With GPS technology, “coaches can plan team strategies, substitutions, design physical workouts sessions according to the demands of each player’s position. GPS can also track game fatigue by showing the difference between the highest running intensities during first and last 15 minutes of the game. The differences can indicate player exhaustion and team fitness” say the German National Performance Team. They are able to make sure that they get the balance right in terms of their playing loads and training loads as they move from competition to competition.
Last year the tournament saw 24 teams line up for the first time in the competition’s history and the USA become the first nation to lift the trophy three times. This year many are excited to see if the USA will be able to continue their powerful performances or will strong contenders like Japan and the Australian Matildas be able to take the trophy.
The players of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be preparing and making decisions based on facts, not guesses. Helping them make the right decisions at the right time.
Good luck to all teams and congratulations to all the players selected to represent their country and the highest level!
To learn more about how your soccer team can use GPS technology, click here.
1. FIFA. (2016). Physical Analysis of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ Martinez V. And Scott. D. (Eds)