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THE PHYSIOLOGICAL DEMANDS OF PROFESSIONAL SOCCER REFEREEING ACROSS A SEASON

Skidmore, N (2021) THE PHYSIOLOGICAL DEMANDS OF PROFESSIONAL SOCCER REFEREEING ACROSS A SEASON. Other thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

Professional soccer referees are tasked with officiating the highest profile and most watched competitive soccer matches in the world. Accurate determination of their match play demands is key to understanding how to programme their training, whilst making sure they continue to be able to successfully officiate over matches. There is little match play data from elite level officials and thus being able to prescribe training regimes and determine physiological prerequisites of successful officials is difficult. Twenty elite level soccer referees, 10 from the Premier League (45.5 yr, 180 cm, 79 kg), and 10 from the Championship (35.6 yr, 178 cm, 79 kg), had their data collected from 330 competitive matches over the course of the 2017/2018 season via the use of an integrated GPS and heart rate monitoring system. The data collected was broken down into 2 different categories; the effects of competition level and season quarter and the effects of match ranking using teams final league positions. Within these categories specific focus was applied to; internal match demands, external match demands, time spent in varying heart rate zones, player loading™, accelerations and decelerations. This thesis considered the differences between Premier League and Championship match officials over a season. Premier League matches induced a higher absolute HR response compared to Championship matches, but despite a lower absolute HR, Championship officials spent more time between 85-100% of their maximum HR (P < 0.05). In addition, Championship referees performed more accelerations and decelerations compared to that of their Premier League counterparts (P < 0.05) at the expense of less walking and more jogging (P < 0.05). Across the playing season, HR, walking (P < 0.01) and running (P < 0.01) were higher in the last quarter of the season whereas total distance covered (P < 0.02), jogging (P < 0.01) and sprinting (P < 0.01) were lowest in the last quarter of the season. There were more accelerations and decelerations in the first quarter of the season (P < 0.05). When considering the effect of the position in the league of the two teams playing particular matches, top ranked (teams that finished in the top 7) Premier League games influenced physiological load of officials via increased total distance (P < 0.01), high-speed running and sprint distance (P < 0.05). These findings provide a range of important information for referees and their coaches/trainers at the highest levels for the optimal preparation for competitive officiating across the Premiership and Championship leagues. Findings from this thesis allow us to suggest that regarding physical training of officials specific focus to those aspiring to work in the Premier League should consider these greater physiological demands. More acutely, considerations regarding training should include the level of the two teams playing each other in upcoming fixtures.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soccer; Officials; Physiological Demands
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2021 13:03
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:14
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00014509
Supervisors: Brownlee, T, Lowe, D and Drust, B
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14509

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