JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of intermittent-endurance fitness on match performance in young male soccer players

Carlo Castagna, Franco Impellizzeri, Emilio Cecchini, Ermanno Rampinini, José Carlos Barbero Alvarez
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2009, 23 (7): 1954-9
19855318
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of specific endurance (Yo-Yo Intermittent recovery test level 1, Yo-Yo IR1) on match performance in male youth soccer. Twenty-one young, male soccer players (age 14.1 +/- 0.2 years) were involved in the study. Players were observed during international championship games of corresponding age categories and completed the Yo-Yo IR1 on a separate occasion. Physical (distance coverage) and physiological match demands were assessed using Global Positioning System technology and heart rate (HR) short-range telemetry, respectively. During the match (two 30-minutes halves), players covered 6,204 +/- 731 m, of which 985 +/- 362 m (16%) were performed at high intensities (speed >13 kmxh, HIA). A significant decrement (3.8%, p = 0.003) in match coverage was evident during the second half. No significant (p = 0.07) difference between halves was observed for HIA (p = 0.56) and sprint (speed >18 kmxh, SPR) distances. During the first and second halves, players attained the 86 +/- 5.5 and 85 +/- 6.0% of HRmax (p = 0.17), respectively. Peak HR during the first and second halves were 100 +/- 4 and 99.4 +/- 4.7% of HRmax, respectively. Yo-Yo IR1 performance (842 +/- 352 m) was significantly related to match HIA (r = 0.77, p < 0.001) and total distance (r = 0.65, p = 0.002). This study's results showed that specific endurance, as determined by Yo-Yo IR1 performance, positively affects physical match performance in male young soccer players. Consequently, the Yo-Yo IR1 test may be regarded as a valid test to assess game readiness and guide training prescription in male youth soccer players.

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