Measurement of the Pitch Exploration Amongst Elite Professional Soccer Players: Official Match Analysis

  • Filipe Manuel Clemente
  • Adam Owen
  • Aida Mustapha
  • Cornelis M. I. (Niels) van der Linden
  • João Ribeiro
  • Bruno Mendes
  • Jelle Reichert
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 700)


Analysis of the physical and technical aspects of professional soccer is well reported, however the tactical analysis of the elite level is still limited in its conception. The purpose of this exploratory study was to measure the spatial exploration index of elite professional soccer players during official matches inclusive of positional analysis variants. Differences between 1st and 2nd half of match play was also analyzed. The investigation involved the analysis of six-official elite professional soccer matches. Fourteen players participated in the study which included games from the Portuguese National Premier League. Players were tracked with a 10 Hz GPS. Spatial exploration index was computed based on position-data from GPS. Results revealed significant differences between playing positions (p = 0.001; \( \eta^{2} \) = 0.213). Wide forwards and centre forwards had the highest values of spatial exploration index with central defenders the lowest. No significant differences were found between 1st and 2nd half of the matches, however repeated measures revealed significant variances between matches (p = 0.003; \( \eta^{2} \) = 0.995). In conclusion, it was revealed that that wide forwards and centre forwards are the positional players whom deviate further from their typical middle point when playing this position.


GPS Tactics External load Football 



We would like to thank to JOHAN sports for allowing the use of their GPS trackers.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Filipe Manuel Clemente
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adam Owen
    • 3
  • Aida Mustapha
    • 4
  • Cornelis M. I. (Niels) van der Linden
    • 5
  • João Ribeiro
    • 6
  • Bruno Mendes
    • 7
  • Jelle Reichert
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Sport and LeisureViana do Castelo Polytechnic InstituteMelgaçoPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto de Telecomunicações, Delegação da CovilhãCovilhãPortugal
  3. 3.Centre de Recherche et d’Innovation sur le SportLyonFrance
  4. 4.Faculty of Computer Science and Information TechnologyUniversiti Tun Hussein Onn MalaysiaParit RajaMalaysia
  5. 5.Department of Sports SciencesJOHAN SportsNoordwijkThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Gabinete de Otimização Desportiva, Sporting Clube de BragaBragaPortugal
  7. 7.BenficaLab, Sport Lisboa e BenficaLisbonPortugal

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