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Adapting the percentage intensity method to assess accelerations and decelerations in football training

moving beyond absolute and arbitrary thresholds


  • Hugo Silva University of Maia
  • Fábio Yuzo Nakamura University of Maia
  • Fabio R. Serpiello Victoria University
  • João Ribeiro University of Maia
  • Paulo Roriz University of Maia
  • Rui Marcelino University of Maia



soccer, threshold, training, velocity


We present an adaptation of the percentage intensity approach to monitor accelerations and decelerations allowing players’ individualization.

Forty-two players were monitored during four training weeks via GNSS devices. Raw velocity and time data were collected, allowing acceleration, deceleration, and starting speed calculations. Training maximal accelerations and decelerations were calculated for each starting speed interval, and intensities were established as very low (< 25% of the maximal effort), low (25-50%), moderate (50-75%) and high (> 75%). Linear regressions and Pearson correlation (r) analyzed the relationship between the maximal acceleration and deceleration according to starting speeds, and mean paired differences compared efforts magnitudes between starting speed intervals.

Most very-low intensity efforts started < 5 km.h-1 (79-86%). Correlation between maximal efforts and starting speeds were -0.97 (p<.001) and -0.94 (p<.01) respectively. Maximal acceleration decreased as starting speed increases (very large effect sizes), but deceleration is less starting speed dependent (unclear to large effect sizes) during training.

This adaptation allows individual accelerations and decelerations classification during real-life scenarios, which can lead to a more precise training prescription. Very low intensity could be excluded to consider only relevant efforts. Maximal acceleration should be collected for each starting speed interval because accelerations are starting speed dependents.


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