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It is an age-old source of debate among athletes, pundits and fans alike. But, after much research, we at Pledge Sports are providing a definitive answer to the almost impossible question: “Which sport is the fittest?”
It is important to note, by “best fit” we are not only referring to an athlete’s general fitness level, but their all-round ability, fitness, and skill their sport requires.
For example, a marathon runner runs 26 miles per event, but a soccer player runs an average of 7 miles per game—including sprints, constant changes of direction, tactical awareness, physically battling opponents, dribbling, and hitting a ball. kicking is involved. Comparing skill sets is an unfair competition.
In our seven-part series on The Fittest Sport, we take each individual sport and provide an in-depth analysis of what makes particular athletes more fit than the rest. We have analyzed:
When it comes to field sports, football is arguably in a league of its own. To compete at the elite level, players need a well-developed aerobic energy system and an engine that has been built up through both match performance and training. Players also need to develop a greater anaerobic ability to cope with running at high-intensity and sprinting speeds.
When not playing in the middle of the week, teams will typically train on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with recovery on Wednesdays and Sundays.
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In modern sport, training is divided into high/low volume intensity days, gym-based strength and conditioning, and recovery sessions. Per week, this equates to ten to twelve hours of physical exercise per week, not including at least 90 minutes of play per week.
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If you ever take the time to pay attention, you’ll notice something different about soccer players when you compare them to athletes who play other team sports. That is, for the most part, they all look alike. Even when you compare the heavier, muscular players and screennier players in football, think Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, the point we make still holds true.
Think about the difference between those players and it’s nowhere as drastic as the difference between other athletes in team sports, like Steph Curry and LeBron James, or Peter Stringer and Paul O’Connell. This is likely because, at its highest, football generally demands a specific type of fitness for all of its players that other sports do not. The first indication of this fact is the heavy amount of ground soccer players covering during a standard match.
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cold hard facts
Companies such as Stats Inc., which have the technology to track player movements throughout a match, concluded that soccer players run between 6 and 7 miles per game. Essentially, soccer players score 10k runs every time they step on the pitch.
This is much higher than the average distance covered by players involved in other major sports.
According to Runner’s World, “A large field, a fast-paced ball, and rare substitutions mean that soccer players can expect some huge gains in more than 90 minutes. Midfielders tend to run the most, sometimes almost reach 9.5 miles.
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Wide receivers and cornerbacks run an average of 1.25 miles per game in the NFL, and NBA players typically run an average of less than 3 miles per game, while tennis players run between 3 and 5 miles per game during five-set matches. can cover. . All those figures come courtesy of Gizmodo with the help of SportVue data. These three, moreover, don’t come close to football.
What do experts say
In fact, when CBS tried to answer the question of whether or not World Cup players were the fittest athletes, the only other athletes who could be mentioned as peers of soccer players were marathon runners, professional cyclists. , triathlete and cross-country. Skiers In other words, the only other athletes mentioned in the soccer players category are those you expect to cover great distances.
But, in addition to covering a lot of ground, soccer players also have to master other complex skills, such as making their first touch, heading, shielding, and tackle, to name but a few, all playing a team sport. Time. Running-advice.com editor Joe English put it bluntly to CBS during his debate on fittest sport.
“Soccer players need to be able to make rapid but low-speed movements, be able to change direction quickly and take efficient action while moving at high speeds,” he said.
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It is not meant to lower the fitness levels of other athletes. NFL players are incredibly strong, basketball players can jump from rooftops, runners are super-fast and baseball players master an insane level of hand-eye coordination.
From lacrosse players to gymnasts, the list could go on. But, soccer players master all aspects of fitness that, as noted above, the average person can wrap their head around it—all encompassing skills such as speed, endurance, dexterity, and so on. This superior level of fitness is the reason why you’ll see any footballer in general fitness and workout commercials for Nike or Under Armor and they’re just fine.
There are likely to be some soccer players among our friends, certainly more likely than to know an Ironman. So, when you look at football players who burn at least 1,000 calories per match, those who run for two consecutive 45-minute intervals. Remind yourself, they are probably the fittest athletes you know.
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