Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Positioning and displacement patterns of young players during 5v5, 7v7, 9v9, and 11v11 soccer matches

Ângelo Brito, Paulo Roriz, Júlio Garganta



This study aimed to analyse the effect of game format and age-group on positioning and displacement of soccer players (age ranging from 6.94 ± 0.7 to 13.46 ± 0.5 years; height ranging from 125.36 ± 6.04 to 159.16 ± 7.78 cm; weight ranging from 27.16 ± 5.75 to 49.89 ± 8.89 kg). Linear and non-linear analyses were used to capture the spatial distribution variability and relative positioning of the players during soccer matches. Variables were assessed using global positioning system technology. Results suggest significant effect of the game formats in spatial distribution variability (η2 = .142, p < .001) and relative positioning (η2 = .926; p < .001) of the players. The variability decreased and mean covered area increased as game format increased. There also was a significant effect of the age-group in spatial distribution variability (η2 = .120, p < .001) and relative positioning (η2 = .405; p < .001). The U10 age-group presented significantly higher values than other age-groups (p < .001). These findings can provide an opportunity for coaches and governmental bodies to maximise the efficiency of the soccer matches conditions.


Movement variability; Spatial distribution maps; Performance analysis; Tactical demands; Team sport


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