Exploring the effects of deep-defending vs high-press on footballers’ tactical behaviour, physical and physiological performance: A pilot study

Publikationen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschung


  • Zhi Wie Benedict Low
  • Gabriel Vilas Boas
  • Lars Meyer
  • Eneritz Lizaso
  • Fabian Hoitz
  • Nuno Leite
  • Bruno Gonçalves



The aim of this study was to explore the effects of a deep-defending vs high-press defending strategy on footballers’ tactical behaviour, physical and physiological responses, when in numerical difference.

Nineteen elite professional footballers (outfield players) participated in this study, playing an 11vs10 match (simulating an early dismissal) for two halves of 10 minutes on a full-sized regulation pitch. The 11-men team was instructed by the head coach to defend closer to goal in the first half (deep-defending) and then defend higher up the pitch in the second half (high-press). Players’ positional data were used to calculate the distance between team centroids, players’ distance to own and to opponent centroid, teams’ effective playing space (EPS), teams’ length per width ratio, distance covered and player velocity. Heart rate was measured via short-range radio telemetry.

Relative-phase analysis of teams’ EPS showed 61.6% of anti-phase synchronisation pattern (i.e. the values change in opposite directions) in the deep-defending game. In the high-press game, teams’ centroid distances were closer (% difference in means; ±90% CL, -21.0%; ±9.5%), while players’ distances to own and opponent centroids were 20% more regular. Distance covered (-19.8%; ±2.5%), player velocity (-20.0%; ±2.5%) and heart rates also decreased in the high-press game.

These findings suggest that, adopting a high-press defending strategy can elicit closer centroid distances, more regular movement patterns, decreased synchronisation patterns of EPS, lower distance covered, lower player velocity, and lower heart rates. Coaches may also consider adopting a high-press strategy, when in numerical superiority, to decrease players’ physical and physiological demands.
ZeitschriftMotriz: Revista de Educação Física
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2018

ID: 5113596


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