Modern requirement profile of a football player

Requirement profile in football

Football is an extremely complex sport in which optimum performance is achieved through the interaction of physiological, tactical and psychological factors. Football as a sport is constantly changing. In recent years, a change has taken place in which the performance-related demands on the player have changed. The demands on a player in today's world are extremely complex. This is why the requirement profile in this sport is so wide-ranging (Söhnlein & Borgmann, 2018).

Football specific performance is nowadays divided into several components. For a footballer in the elite and amateur sector, the physical abilities, which are defined by strength, speed, mobility and endurance, are just as important as ball control and coordination skills. In addition, the footballer's psychological and tactical-cognitive abilities are decisive for his performance in the competition. Conditional abilities form the basis of performance. A team with better physical condition has a higher chance of winning. If a match goes towards the end or even into overtime, however, a player has endurance difficulties as early as the 75th minute, he will probably also lose sprint duels, cause unnecessary ball loses and other mistakes that can cost a team victory (Söhnlein & Borgmann, 2018; Weineck, 2010).

Potentials lie in the development and improvement of the players' cognitive abilities. This can be seen by examining statistical values. There was an increase in speed and actions with and without a football, an increase in running distance, a strong increase in explosive sprints and an increase in ball contacts and passes. Therefore, performance-oriented football teams are systematically optimizing and improving the physical, coordinative and tactical skills of a player (Söhnlein & Borgmann, 2018). In addition to the skills just described, cognitive skills have increasingly shifted to the centre of attention in the last few years. In meta-analyses it was found that competitive athletes from different sports clearly differ from athletes from lower performance areas through stronger cognitive abilities, such as perception and anticipation (Mann et al., 2007). In some cases, cognitive performance is also referred to as a performance-determining aspect of physical performance in sports (Rehhagel, 2011). Thus, physical activities seem to be influenced in different ways by cognitive aspects such as perception, awareness, memory, anticipation and thought processes (Nitsch, 2004).

Subconscious processes in football are necessary in situations that are simple and familiar to the athlete, especially when experiences are necessary. These situations are common in football and build a basis for the players' performance. However, there are numerous complex situations in which the players often have no previous knowledge on which to base the processes. A dynamic and highly complex process, such as a soccer game, constantly throws players into new situations and confronts them with new and challenging situations where no automatic action strategy is helpful and can be applied. Accordingly, in new and difficult situations, the player has to find a solution that does not correspond to routine actions (Gabler et al., 2000). The player must therefore constantly develop new strategies for the situation. These described situations claim especially the cognitive functions (Söhnlein & Borgmann, 2018).

In the next few weeks we will look at the factors influencing the performance in more detail and show you possibilities how to train them. 


Gabler, H., Nitsch, J. R., Singer, R., Munzert, J., & Alfermann, D. (2000). Einführung in die Sportpsychologie. Hofmann.

Mann, D. T., Williams, A. M., Ward, P., & Janelle, C. M. (2007). Perceptual-cognitive expertise in sport: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29(4), 457-478.

Nitsch, J. R. (2004). Die handlungstheoretische Perspektive: ein Rahmenkonzept für die sportpsychologische Forschung und Intervention. Zeitschrift für Sportpsychologie, 11(1), 10-23.

Rehhagel, J. (2011). Entwicklung einer Testbatterie zur Diagnostik und Steuerung der Schnelligkeit im Sportspiel Fußball (Doctoral dissertation, Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln).

Söhnlein, K., & Borgmann, S. (2018). Diagnostik von Exekutivfunktionen im Fußball. In People Analytics im Profifußball (pp. 23-57). Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden.

Weineck, J. (2010). Sportbiologie. Spitta.