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A survey into the current fitness testing practices of elite male soccer practitioners: from assessment to communicating results.

This study provides insight into the current fitness testing practices in elite male soccer. One hundred and two practitioners from professional soccer leagues across 24 countries completed an online survey comprising 29 questions, with five sections: a) background information, b) testing selection, c) testing implementation, d) data analysis, and e) data reporting. Frequency analysis was used to evaluate the responses to fixed response questions and thematic analysis was used for open-ended questions to generate clear and distinct themes. Strength (85%) and aerobic capacity (82%) represent the most frequently assessed physical qualities. Scientific literature (80%) is the most influential factor in testing selection and practitioners conduct fitness testing less frequently than their perceived ideal frequency per season (3.6 ± 2 vs. 4.5 ± 2). Time and competitive schedule were the greatest barriers to fitness testing administration. Practitioners mostly used a 'hybrid' approach (45%) to fitness testing, blending 'traditional' (i.e., a day dedicated to testing) and 'integrated' (i.e., testing within regular training sessions) methods. Microsoft Excel is the most used software for data analysis (95%) and visualization (79%). An equal use of the combination of best and mean scores of multiple trials (44%) and the best score (42%) was reported. Comparing a player's test performance with previous scores (89%) was the most common method for interpreting test results. However, only 38% considered measurement error. Digital displays and verbal feedback are the most common data reporting methods, with different data reporting processes for coaches and players. Practitioners can use data and findings from this study to inform their current testing practices and researchers to further identify areas for investigation, with the overarching aim of developing the field of fitness testing in elite male soccer.

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