Since the physical demands of soccer are largely alactic-aerobic one might be tempted to focus primarily on the energy system development in the physical preparation of players. This study indicates that might be shortsighted and that we can’t overlook neuromuscular development (strength, speed, power, etc). The study indicates:
Players with greater muscle strength and power expressed lower performance decrements in GPP. In conclusion, results highlight the relevance of players’ neuromuscular function on game physical performance.
Players effectively need to create a speed, strength and power buffer or reserve so that the true demands of the game are never so taxing that they diminish the players ability to continue playing at that level. To use a car analogy, if the game requires you to be at 40mph and that’s as fast as your engine can go, you probably can’t sustain that level of effort as well as someone whose engine allows them go 60mph.
TRAINING STATUS AND MATCH ACTIVITY OF PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYERS THROUGHOUT A SEASON.
1Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Department of Soccer, Porto, Portugal; 2Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Department of Sports Biology, Porto, Portugal; 3Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Department of kinanthropometry, Porto, Portugal; 4Center of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport (CIFI2D); 5Research Center in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure (CIAFEL).
The purpose of this study was to examine match activity (MA) and fatigue development (FD) during official soccer games in different moments of a season and the influence of training status (TS) on MA and FD. MA of 13 professional players was examined by time-motion analysis at four time points of a competitive season. In addition, per time point within the two-week period between the two games video-filmed, players performed the following physical tests: countermovement jump, 5-m and 30-m sprints, change of direction, knee extensor and flexor isokinetic strength, and Yo-Yo intermittent endurance test-level two. Players covered a greater high-intensity distance running (HI; p < 0.05) in the last quarter of the season than in the second (E2) and third (E3). Within each assessment period, a greater distance was covered in HI during the peak five-minute period of the match (P5-min) than in the five-minute period after P5-min (Next5-min) and the remaining five-minute periods (Av5-min; p < 0.05) of the match. Also, P5-min was higher in E4 than in the beginning of the season (E1, E2 and E3; p < 0.05). The physical fitness variables, composites scores of power-related and isokinetic strength tests were correlated (r ranging: 0.59-0.73, p < 0.05) with game physical parameters (GPP) analyzed by time-motion.Soccer players showed to cover more HI during the game and in the P5-min towards end-of-season. Players with greater muscle strength and power expressed lower performance decrements in GPP. In conclusion, results highlight the relevance of players’ neuromuscular function on game physical performance.
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