Relationships between soccer teams' fitness level and league standing at different stages of the season
The purpose of the study was to find relationships between the players’ physical fitness and the team standing at four stages of the season in a professional soccer league. One-hundred and eighty-two trained male players from 12 teams of a first soccer division during the 2016-17 season participated in the study. All teams took part in four identical fitness testing sessions at four different stages of the season, including 10 and 20m sprint run, vertical jump, agility, and aerobic power assessment. Jump height was found to be significantly related to team standing in the league, either when scores were calculated as the percent of team players in the upper quarter of scores (significant at all four stages r= -0.639– -0.758), or when scores were calculated as team averages (significant only at the second stager=-0.603). No other fitness variable was found to be significantly related to the teams' standing at any of the season’s stages. The findings indicate that although leg power may be related to a team’s success, the overall fitness level of the players most likely is not a sufficient indicator of a soccer team’s success as reflected by league standing.