PLAYR: Compare Your Soccer Stats to the Pros...and Your Friends

PLAYR

Paid content | PLAYR

Have you ever wrapped up a grueling training session, convinced you pushed yourself more than anyone else…only to have a teammate insist they covered more ground than you? 

Well, there’s a way to settle these arguments once and for all. Catapult Sports’ innovative soccer technology, PLAYR, is a GPS tracking device with a system that records up to 1,200 movements per second and compiles data on key stats including number of sprints, top speed and distance covered. Now, you can compare your stats to your teammates’, as well as track your own progress.

Catapult’s technology, previously only available to professionals at elite teams, is now available to soccer players at every level, meaning you can compare your performance against some of the best players in the world.

 Catapult Sports compiled data from both pros and amateurs and the results make for very interesting reading.

AVERAGE CONSUMER STATS

Female Top Speed m/s Distance (km) Sprint Distance (m)
<18 6.8 7.470 281
18-28 6.9 8.477 389
>28 6.4 6.200 242
Male Top Speed m/s Distance (km) Sprint Distance (m)
<18 7.1 8.002 393
18-28 7.6 9.110 598
>28 7.3 7.346 474

 

AVERAGE ELITE STATS

Female Top Speed m/s Distance (km) Sprint Distance (m)
Attacker 8 10.2 762
Defender 7.4 9.8 646
Midfielder 7.5 10.8 817
Male Top Speed m/s Distance (km) Sprint Distance (m)
Attacker 9.2 10.3 955
Defender 9.2 10.2 793
Midfielder 9 10.6 1085


 

HOW DO WE STACK UP AGAINST THE ELITES?

For the purposes of this comparison, we’ll use the amateur data from the 18 – 28 age groups. This was the highest-performing age group for both men and women, and is also the age range where soccer players generally reach their peak.

Starting with sprint speeds, professional players unsurprisingly clock up much faster top speeds than their amateur counterparts. Professional athletes are naturally more explosive and are physically conditioned to reach higher speeds.

The professionals also did a lot more sprinting during the average 90-minute game. Professional men covered 944m compared to 598m for the average consumer, an increase of nearly 45%. The difference in the female game was even greater; the 741m covered by the pros is 62% more than the 389m of the amateurs. As with the sprint speeds, these stats demonstrate just how fit and conditioned professional athletes are.

Interestingly, the differences in total distance covered are a lot smaller. The average of 10.3km by professional men is just 12% higher than the 9.1km covered by amateurs. The female pros cover almost as much ground as the men with an average of 10.2km, which is 19% more than the 8.4km covered by amateurs.

Since professionals are much fitter than the average consumer, perhaps we would have expected to see a bigger difference in ground covered, similar to the sprint stats. However, we must all consider that the pros are generally more experienced players too, not to mention they have the benefit of world-class coaches. It could simply be that the pros know when to run and when to conserve energy.

A great example of this comes from one of the best, Leo Messi. He got an assist and a goal when Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-0 in December 2017, yet data from the game revealed he spent 83.1% of the game walking (yes, walking!), and just 1.15% sprinting. Despite this, Messi made six dribbles and created nine chances. Messi takes up great positions on the field and knows exactly when to use bursts of energy.

Looking at the positional differences of the pros, midfielders cover the most ground and sprint the most. Defenders do the least running, but their top speeds are on a par with other positions, which highlights that this is still an important asset for a defender.

 

Another aspect that can impact these stats is the team’s style of play. An article from the 2017/18 Premier League season showed distance covered by teams up until that point in the season. Tottenham, who play a high-energy pressing game, came third in the list, while Manchester United, who often sit back and have a slower tempo, were at the bottom. With both teams finishing in the top five at the end of the season, it goes to show that more running doesn’t necessarily equate to better results.

While it may be unrealistic to benchmark your numbers against the pros, you can certainly use the data to spot trends in how they exert themselves. The real benefit from PLAYR comes with being able to track your own stats over time, and use that information to improve your game.

And if you happen to generate the best stats among your teammates at the same time, well that’s just a bonus!