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Open AccessArticle

Seasonal Variations in Physical Fitness and Performance Indices of Elite Soccer Players

The Academic College at Wingate, Wingate Institute, Netanya 4290200, Israel
Child Health and Sports Center, Pediatric Department, Meir Medical Center, Tel-Aviv University, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv 6100000, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2018, 6(1), 14;
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Recovery in Football)
The aim of the study was to investigate seasonal variations in fitness and performance indices of professional male soccer players. Eighteen professional male soccer players (age range 22–32 years) completed three similar sets of tests at three stages of the season: before preseason; after preseason and the middle of the competitive in-season. A significant decrease in body mass and percent fat was found during the preseason. A significant improvement (p < 0.05) was found in the vertical jump (preseason: 37.0 ± 5.3, post-preseason: 39.0 ± 4.8, mid-season: 40.3 ± 5.5 cm), the 4 × 10-m agility test (preseason: 8.1 ± 0.2, post-preseason: 7.9 ± 0.2, mid-season: 8.1 ± 0.3 s), flexibility (preseason: 45.2 ± 8.8, post-preseason: 48.2 ± 7.0, mid-season: 49.9 ± 6.9 cm) and aerobic capacity (preseason: 52.7 ± 6.6, post-preseason: 56.4 ± 6.0, mid-season: 57.4 ± 5.4 mL/kg/min) during preseason, with no further change during mid-season. Repeated sprint test (RST) (6 × 30-m) performance indices showed significant deterioration (p < 0.05) in ideal sprint time (IS; preseason: 21.8 ± 1.0, post-preseason: 23.0 ± 0.8, mid-season: 23.2 ± 0.8 s) and total sprint time (TS; preseason: 22.5 ± 0.7, post-preseason: 23.5 ± 0.6, mid-season: 23.8 ± 0.6 s) during preseason, with no further changes during mid-season. However, performance decrement (PD) significantly decreased during the preseason with no change during mid-season. The findings suggest that while power training was probably responsible for the anaerobic fitness improvement, the high-volume training led to improvement in aerobic fitness during the preseason. However, the low-intensity aerobic-type training, coupled with the high total training load, may have led to fatigue and decreases in IS and TS during the preseason. View Full-Text
Keywords: training; aerobic and anaerobic capabilities; physical testing training; aerobic and anaerobic capabilities; physical testing
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Meckel, Y.; Doron, O.; Eliakim, E.; Eliakim, A. Seasonal Variations in Physical Fitness and Performance Indices of Elite Soccer Players. Sports 2018, 6, 14.

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