Study on football: Women get up faster

June 29, 2011

When women play football (soccer), the individual interruptions, for instance for substitutions or to cheer a goal, are a lot shorter than when men play. In particular after injuries men remain on the ground significantly longer. This is what sports scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen discovered after analyzing 56 football games and evaluating the place, time and duration of every single interruption of the game. In football, men stage themselves much more than women, the scientists conclude.

Interruptions are frequent in : (m/f) spend on average 38 percent of the total game time not chasing the ball. This was established by sports scientists from the Chair of Training Science and Sports Informatics at TUM in a study of 56 football games. In some games, the took up as much as 53% of the time, thus exceeding the duration of the actual sports activity.

In sum, interruptions in men's and women's football are about the same. The individual interruptions, though, are significantly longer in men's football. Cheering a goal, for instance, takes almost a full minute with , while women only cheer half as long. At 45 seconds, substitutions in men's football take almost 10 seconds longer than in women's football. Particularly striking are the differences in the duration of injury interruptions – the stronger sex remains on the ground 30 seconds longer. Overall, when women play, interruptions are more frequent, but the game generally resumes much faster than with men.

TUM sports scientist Prof. Martin Lames explains: "In general the differences can be interpreted as follows: For men the thought of staging themselves is much more pronounced than for women, where the game itself is obviously paramount." Pulling off a show, play-acting and protesting are more typical of men. Lames: "The reason for this could be that men's football generally pulls in more spectators and receives greater media coverage."

Malte Siegle, doctoral candidate at the Chair, adds: "We can even provide evidence that men use interruptions tactically. As many fans have conjectured, when they are in the lead, players take their time with injuries. Much more so than if the score is even, or when the other side is leading. This behavior cannot be observed in women's football."

Prof. Martin Lames's team of researchers at the Chair of Training Science and Sports Informatics is using the method of "Case-by-Case Analysis of Game Interruptions", which they developed, to cast light on how football games are structured. The results will help the scientists determine how football players (m/f) might best prepare for a game. The comparison between women's and men's football was actually the byproduct of a research project.

The Women's World Cup, which just started in Germany, will show whether or not these differences will persist in light of the fact that women's football is enjoying increasing numbers of spectators and growing media attention.

Explore further: Study asks how safe is high school football?

Related Stories

Study asks how safe is high school football?

August 15, 2007

Football, one of the most popular sports in the United States, is also the leading cause of sports-related injuries. During the 2005-06 season, high school football players sustained more than half a million injuries nationally. ...

Do female footballers ignore pain to stay in the game?

January 25, 2011

( -- There are key sociological and psychological factors that affect the way girl and women footballers experience pain, injury and risk according to a new study by a researcher at the University of the West ...

Patent: Nintendo's Wii Football Controller

September 2, 2009

( -- Nintendo has come up with yet another idea for an accessory to add to its list of Wii peripherals. This time it's a soft football-shaped controller that is said to simulate the feel and touch of a real ball ...

Sports machismo may be cue to male teen violence

January 23, 2008

The sports culture surrounding football and wrestling may be fueling aggressive and violent behavior not only among teen male players but also among their male friends and peers on and off the field, according to a Penn State ...

Researchers pay football fans to watch games

November 26, 2008

Researchers at the University of Glasgow are looking for 15 football fans to take part in a study which will see them being paid to watch matches in the comfort of their own home.

Recommended for you

The oldest plesiosaur was a strong swimmer

December 14, 2017

Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmers. These long extinct "paddle saurians" propelled themselves through the oceans by employing "underwater flight"—similar to sea turtles and penguins. Paleontologist from the ...

Averaging the wisdom of crowds

December 12, 2017

The best decisions are made on the basis of the average of various estimates, as confirmed by the research of Dennie van Dolder and Martijn van den Assem, scientists at VU Amsterdam. Using data from Holland Casino promotional ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
probably the dumbest study I ever read..... fortunately didn't happened in the USA!

If they play soccer, or use their brains, either one, would discover that a man can really really hurt you playing soccer. I have seen many broken legs, broken knees and so on playing soccer. Wonder if they included that aspect in their "study".

And obviously, there are going to be more interruptions as the game gets closer to the end, and while someone is in pain, the others must be thinking on how to win the event.

They should place women to play with men to see how long they stay in the ground after a contact with another player, specially if the other player is a man..... But of course, there are men players pretending injury. They should be punished for doing so, it damages the beauty of the game.

(just to be sure, men are a lot more aggressive and stronger than women, so a man stopping another man is going to be a different interaction than a female stopping another female player)
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
Professional soccer players are babies.
In US baseball, players get hit with balls and try to hide their injury.
It must be a cultural thing.
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
Baseball players are the biggest wimps in the world - they whine and cry at a bunion - the 'toughest' player in MLB would be the butt boy on any hockey team. You must have been joking Ry - as for the soccer study I understand the numbers would have been biased by inclusion of Italian men who fall down and whimper after a strong wind.
0.7 / 5 (47) Jun 30, 2011
Well it's pretty obvious from the last three replies that sports and chauvinism go hand in hand.
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
Diving in soccer often gets results. There's a huge field and 1 ref. I'm sure if it didn't work it wouldn't be done.

Not that I'm condoning it. I hate the diving and see it as a form of cheating, but unless it's actually cracked down on in some way, I can't see them stopping any time soon.

I feel this study could be used to draw hypotheses, but not conclusions. There are just too many variables. The real reasons for the discrepancy could be any combination of the many physical, mental, and/or social differences in the sexes.
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
i would venture to say that male attackers cause more vicious injuries = more downtime, however rhe girls are catching up fast trading their traditional hairpulling with the pointy elbow as their sport gets more "professional" maybe we even get women icehockey complete with hugee brawls and stickfights, i am stacking up on popcorn already to watch them duke it out...
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
We have a saying in the UK - Pro footballers (soccer players) spend ninety minutes on the field pretending they're hurt, rugby players spend 80 minutes on the field pretending they're not hurt.
We have women rugby players that are frankly very scary...huge muscles and able to sprint as I wonder if the comparisons are only applicable to football or is this a cross sport generalisation?

Rugby - The game a bit like American football but without the padding and helmet :-)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.