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Mapping how far athletes run during competition

July 21, 2015 / BaseballBasketballFootballSoccerTennis
Unless we’re talking about track or cross country, its difficult to map exactly how far athletes run during competition. Fortunately for us, today’s technology is helping us solve that problem.

Tennis players can run as much as three miles per match, according to Runner's World. | Photo: Kevin Hoffman
Tennis players can run as much as three miles per match, according to Runner’s World. | Photo: Kevin Hoffman

This post from Runner’s World was published last year, but anyone who hasn’t already read it will find it interesting. Here are the approximate distances athletes run in these respective sports (from least to most).

Baseball: 0.046 miles

This isn’t very surprising, given that the sport doesn’t require offensive or defensive players to move very far. Runner’s World logged all the hits from Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki over 49 games last season and found that accounted for just two miles.

Football: 1.25 miles for receiver and cornerbacks

Obviously, you’re not going to get much mileage from your linemen or kickers. Receivers, cornerbacks and running backs handle the bulk of the legwork, so this mileage is more representative of what they might experience, and that depends on the play calling.

Basketball: 2.9 miles

There are actually GPS devices that can now track how far players run during basketball games, so this is pretty accurate. It’s also a different kind of running, seeing as how basketball requires more shifting and cutting than, say, soccer.

Tennis: 3 miles

There’s not much real estate on a tennis court, but play enough sets and you’ll rack up the miles real quick. Runner’s World noted that during the longest recorded tennis match, at Wimbledon in 2010, it’s estimated that John Isner and Nicholas Mahut each ran about six miles during 11 hours and five minutes of play.

Field hockey: 5.6 miles

According to Tribesports, field hockey players travel more than athletes in almost any other sport, chasing and defending the ball for nearly a 10K during 70 minutes of play.

Soccer: 7 miles

According to SportVU, midfielders can actually reach 9.5 miles during the course of a match, which is pretty impressive. And players don’t substitute as much as they do in other sports, meaning there is little time to rest.


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