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Open AccessArticle

Physical and Physiological Responses during the Stop-Ball Rule During Small-Sided Games in Soccer Players

Research Unit, Education, Motricity, Sport and Health, UR15JS01, High Institute of Sport and Physical Education, University of Sfax, Sfax 3000, Tunisia
Institute of Primary Care, University of Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland
Exercise Physiology Laboratory, 18450 Nikaia, Greece
Institut Supérieur du Sport et de l’éducation physique de Sfax, Université de Sfax, Sfax 3000, Tunisie
Activité Physique, Sport et Santé, UR18JS01, Observatoire National du Sport, Tunis 1003, Tunisie
Medbase St. Gallen Am Vadianplatz, 9001 St. Gallen, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2019, 7(5), 117;
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
Small-sided games (SSGs) are a recommended training method for significant performance enhancement, and training efficiency. The stop-ball (SSG-SB) effects on physical responses (e.g., acceleration, deceleration, sprints, total distance, and indicator of workload) have not been investigated yet. This study aimed to investigate the effects of the SSG-SB compared to the small-goals SSG (SSG-SG) on physical and heart rate (HR) responses at high intensity (total distance (>18 km/h)), sprints (>18 km/h), and acceleration and deceleration (>3 m/s²) during a 4 vs. 4 SSG format in youth professional soccer players. Sixteen male elite young soccer players (mean ± SD body height, 176.5 ± 6.3 cm; age, 18.3 ± 0.7 years; body weight, 73.4 ± 7.2 kg) performed two forms of SSGs, i.e., SSG-SB or SSG-SG, for 4 × 4 min with a recovery of 2 min between sets. Data were compared using the t-test. The SSG-SB induced a significantly higher mean HR (180.0 ± 2.0 vs. 173.0 ± 3.0 beats per minute; p < 0.05) compared to the SSG-SG. Likewise, the SSG-SB was significantly higher compared to the SSG-SG for total distance (2580 ± 220.3 vs. 2230 ± 210 m; p < 0.001), player load (98.07 ± 12.5 vs. 89.4 ± 10.5; p < 0.05), sprint distance (7.9 ± 2.3 vs. 5.2 ± 2.0 m; p < 0.05), acceleration (15.6 ± 2.75 vs. 12.5 ± 1.75; p < 0.05), and deceleration (17.3 ± 3.20 vs. 14.4 ± 2.55; p < 0.05). However, no significant difference was found between the SSG-SG and the SSG-SB for maximal velocity, power, and sprints duration. This study provides new information about the effectiveness of the SSG-SB as a training stimulus for soccer. View Full-Text
Keywords: soccer; small-sided games; physical performance soccer; small-sided games; physical performance
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Halouani, J.; Ghattasi, K.; Bouzid, M.A.; Rosemann, T.; Nikolaidis, P.T.; Chtourou, H.; Knechtle, B. Physical and Physiological Responses during the Stop-Ball Rule During Small-Sided Games in Soccer Players. Sports 2019, 7, 117.

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