“Small steps, or giant leaps?” Comparing game demands of U23, U18, and U16 English academy soccer and their associations with speed and endurance

Smalley, Ben, Bishop, Chris ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1505-1287 and Maloney, Sean J. (2022) “Small steps, or giant leaps?” Comparing game demands of U23, U18, and U16 English academy soccer and their associations with speed and endurance. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 17 (1) . pp. 134-142. ISSN 1747-9541 [Article] (doi:10.1177/17479541211018771)

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Abstract

The current study aimed to compare locomotive outputs across English U16, U18 and U23 academy soccer and investigate possible relationships with neuromuscular and aerobic capacities. Participants included 46 outfield players from an English Category Two soccer academy. Global positioning system (18Hz) data were utilised to analyse locomotive outputs across twenty eleven-a-side matches in each age group. Maximal sprinting speed (MSS) and aerobic speed (MAS) were assessed at the beginning of the season. Absolute total distance (TD), high-speed running (HSR), acceleration and deceleration workloads were higher in U18’s and U23’s vs. U16’s (g = 1.09-2.58; p < 0.05), and absolute sprinting distances were higher in U23’s vs. U16’s (g = 0.96; p < 0.05). In addition, relative HSR outputs were higher in U23’s vs. U18’s (g = 1.84-2.07; p < 0.05). Across the whole cohort, players’ MSS was positively associated with absolute HSR and sprinting distances (ρ = 0.53-0.79; p < 0.05) but not with relative parameters. MAS was positively associated with total distance, decelerations, and both absolute and relative HSR outputs (ρ = 0.33-0.56; p < 0.05). Overall, absolute locomotive outputs were significantly higher in U23’s and U18’s vs. U16’s. Locomotive outputs were also associated with maximal sprinting and aerobic speeds. Thus, training programmes should be tailored to competition demands to optimally prepare each age group for competition and reflect the increasing demands of each level of competition. Further, improving physical fitness (speed and endurance) is likely to drive greater outputs in competition.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > London Sport Institute > Strength and Conditioning at the London Sport Institute
Item ID: 33047
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2021
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Chris Bishop
Date Deposited: 04 May 2021 07:55
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2022 01:42
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/33047

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