Field Test Relationships In Professional Soccer Players

We just finished our end of season testing where we performed a sprint test (30m with splits at 10m, 20m, 30m), various jump tests, and an agility test. Every player is tested at least twice a year with many tested as much as 4x per year. Throughout the year, we also test the YoYo IR2, Repeat Sprint Ability index and body composition.  Additionally, we monitored work output using MiCoach Elite during small sided games. I’ve heard of some fitness coaches using a very wide battery of tests. The following study indicates that that might not be necessary as the correlation between many of these tests are high.

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J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Jul 8. [Epub ahead of print]

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN FIELD PERFORMANCE TESTS IN HIGH-LEVEL SOCCER PLAYERS.

Ingebrigtsen J, Brochmann M, Castagna C, Bradley P, Ade J, Krustrup P, Holtermann A.

Abstract In order to reduce athlete testing time, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (IR1) and 2 (IR2) test performances, maximal sprinting speed (10, 20 and 35 m), repeated sprint ability (RSA) (7×35 m), and sub-maximal heart rates after two and four minutes of the Yo-Yo IR tests by testing 57 high-level soccer players. All players played regularly in one of the three highest levels of Norwegian soccer and were tested during three sessions on three consecutive days. Large correlations were observed between Yo-Yo IR1 and IR2 test performances (r=0.753 p≤0.05). Small and moderate correlations were found between 20 and 35 m sprinting speed and Yo-Yo IR1 performance (r=-0.289 and -0.321, respectively, p≤0.05), while 35 m sprinting speed correlated moderately to Yo-Yo IR2 performance (r=-0.371, p≤0.05). RSA at 10, 20 and 35 m all showed moderate to large correlations to Yo-Yo IR1 performance (r=-0.337 to -0.573, p≤0.05). RSA at 20 m (r = -0.348, p≤0.05) and 35 m (r=-0.552, p≤0.01) correlated moderately and largely to Yo-Yo IR2 performance. Also, moderate and large correlations were found between sub-maximal Yo-Yo IR1 heart rates after 2 (r=-0.483, p≤0.01) and 4 min (r=-0.655, p≤0.01) and Yo-Yo IR1 performance, and 2 min Yo-Yo IR2 heart rate and Yo-Yo IR2 performance (r=-0.530, p≤0.01). ICC measures of sub-maximal HR after 2 and 4 min of Yo-Yo IR1 test, and after 2 min of the Yo-Yo IR2 were 0.92 (CV=4.1%, n=33), 0.93 (CV=3.8%, n=33) and 0.72 (CV=2.9%, n=10). Adjusted ordinary least square (OLS) regressions revealed associations (p≤0.05) between sprint speed at 20 m and 35 m and Yo-Yo IR1 test performance, but only between 35 m and IR2 test performance (p≤0.05). Further, OLS showed that RSA at 35 m was related to both levels of the Yo-Yo IR test (p≤0.01), and that sub-maximal heart rates after 2 and 4 min were independently associated to Yo-Yo IR1 and IR2 performances (p≤0.01). In conclusion, Yo-Yo IR1 and 2 test performances, as well as sprint and RSA performances, correlated very largely, and it may therefore be considered using only one of the Yo-Yo tests and a RSA test, in a general soccer-specific field test protocol. The sub-maximal heart rate measures during Yo-Yo tests are reproducible and may be utilized for frequent, time-efficient and non-exhaustive testing of intermittent exercise capacity of high-level soccer players.

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Mike Young

Director of Performance at Athletic Lab
Mike is the Head Fitness Coach for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC. He is also the owner and Director of Performance at Athletic Lab sports performance training center. He previously served as the fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Carolina Railhawks. He has a PhD in Biomechanics, an MS in Coaching Science, and a BSS in Exercise Physiology and has coached Olympic and professional athletes in Skeleton, Track & Field, MLS and NASL Soccer, PGA Golf, NFL Football, MLB Baseball and Olympic Weightlifting. He has lectured around the world and authored 2 books and dozens of research and coaching articles.