Planning ahead using positional data


In the past few weeks, different concepts of periodization have been discussed and it is explained how you can check whether you have reached the demands. However, this was all based on checking after the training whether you have reached your goals. In today’s blog, we will discuss how you can plan ahead using the positional data of the players and use physical benchmarks to optimize your training schedule.

Measuring the intensity of exercises

Based on historical data of your team, you are able to predict the load of your players for certain exercises. Sports Scientists of FC Barcelona have recently released how the intensity of their exercises (5v5-10v10) compare to the intensity of the match for accelerations and sprint distance (see image 1)(1). For which it should be noted that when the number of players increases (and thus also the field dimensions), the sprint intensity (m/min) increases whereas the acceleration intensity (#/min) decreases. This means that if you want to focus more on sprinting, you need to play a field game 9v9 or 10v10 with larger field dimensions then when you want to focus on explosiveness (accelerations) for which you will opt for a 5v5 on smaller field dimensions.

Physical benchmarks of your exercises

If you have played an exercise at least 3 times, you can make these benchmarks for yourself. For this, you are going to calculate the sprint meters and accelerations per minute. In order to do so, you take the load of the exercise (sprint distance and accelerations) and divide it by the total duration of all intervals. By calculating the average of all players for this value, you get the benchmark for your team! Let’s say that your benchmark for 5v5 is 2.5 accelerations per minute, and you want to expose them to at least 30 accelerations. This means that the total work period of your exercise should be 12 minutes (for example 4x3min).

Physical benchmarks of the match

Besides exercise benchmarks, you can also make match specific benchmarks. It is known that wingers and fullbacks cover more sprint meters than midfielders and central defenders, whereas midfielders cover more total distance than wingers (see image 2). By creating these position-specific benchmarks, you are able to design a position-specific training program. For example, the wingers might do more explosive sprints (15-25m) whereas midfielder might do more 70% sprints (30-50m). If you know the specific load for each position, you can determine the number of repetitions the players have to do for each sprint.

Since JOHAN Sports gathers data from clubs in different leagues and different countries, we are able to provide benchmarks for the different field positions in varying leagues. Do you want to compare how your fullback performs compared to the other fullbacks in the competition? You can look up the numbers in our system! Have you earned a promotion to a higher league? You can check the demands of the new competition in our system and prepare your players for the increased demands.

As we’ve seen in this blog making benchmarks for your team helps you plan ahead. Are you unsure how many intervals you should perform in an exercise? If you create exercise benchmarks, you can determine this easily. Furthermore, by knowing the position-specific demands of each player you are better able to prepare them for match demands.

JOHAN’s tip of the week

Even if you only have 5 GPS-trackers available, you can already plan ahead. Make sure that during exercises and matches, you give the trackers to a fullback, central defender, midfielder, winger and striker. This way, you get an overview of the demands of the exercise/game for all the positions!


  1. Martín-García, A., Castellano, J., Gómez, A., Cos, F., & Casamichana, D. (2019). Positional demands for various-sided games with goalkeepers according to the most demanding passages of match play in football. Biology of Sport, 36(2), 171–180.

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