Special Issue "Training, Screening and Monitoring in Soccer"

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Anthony Turner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Middlesex University, London Sport Institute, London, United Kingdom
Interests: strength and conditioning; athlete testing and monitoring; data analysis; movement screening; performance modelling; testosterone and behavior
Dr. Paul Read
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha
Interests: strength and conditioning; athlete testing and monitoring; neuromuscular profiling; movement screening; injury prevention; performance modelling; youth soccer; return to sport monitoring and training

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soccer continues to be influenced by the advances made in sport science and strength and conditioning. Firstly, the use of GPS and RPE are now routine, enabling the quantification of the training-load as well as describing the physiological demands imposed on its athletes. However, as practitioner experience with these systems grows, a more detailed and contextualized profile can be defined to further inform the coaching staff. Thus, more research is needed, for example, into the work performed during the phases of ball in play, during popular training modalities, and using various models of periodised training weeks. Furthermore, the relationship between various modes of fitness and match performance requires further attention, if the strength and conditioning practices of soccer athletes, including the more contemporary exercise techniques currently in use, are to be justified and optimized. Finally, given the impact that a single player can have on match outcomes (and the financial implications this can have on the club), more research is required for the screening of movement dysfunctions to ensure valid and reliable methods are used, that map back to the challenges faced by today’s soccer athletes. This Special Issue aims to address some of these issues and thus further our understanding of the physiological demands presented within soccer, along with the strength and conditioning training required to best support performance and match availability.

Prof. Anthony Turner
Dr. Paul Read
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • GPS
  • Training-load
  • Asymmetry
  • Movement screening
  • Injury risk profiling
  • Player profiling
  • Neuromuscular readiness to re-perform
  • Enhancement of physical capacities
  • Periodization
  • Fitness testing

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Isometric Posterior Chain Peak Force Recovery Response Following Match-Play in Elite Youth Soccer Players: Associations with Relative Posterior Chain Strength
Sports 2019, 7(10), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7100218 - 01 Oct 2019
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine changes in two tests of lower limb isometric posterior chain force (IPC-F) following 90 min of match-play in elite youth soccer players and the interaction between relative strength and recovery profile. 14 players (age: 16 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine changes in two tests of lower limb isometric posterior chain force (IPC-F) following 90 min of match-play in elite youth soccer players and the interaction between relative strength and recovery profile. 14 players (age: 16 ± 2 years) performed 3 × 3 second IPC-F tests unilaterally at 30° and 90° of knee and hip flexion pre- and post-match, +24 h, +48 h, and +72 h post-match. Peak force was recorded for both limbs, combined and expressed relative to bodyweight (N/kg). A two-way repeated measures analysis of variance was performed to determine differences in force output between joint angles, time intervals and subjects. As there was no interaction between angle and time (p = 0.260), we report the change between timepoints as mean ∆ in 90° + 30° IPC-F. Relative to pre-match IPC-F, there were significant decreases post (∆ = −18%; p > 0.001) and at +24 h (∆ = −8%; p = 0.040), no significant difference at +48 h (∆ = 0%; p = 0.992) and a significant increase at +72 h (∆ = +12%; p = 0.005). There was a large inter-individual variability in recovery profile at both angles and substantial differences between post-match deficits at 90° (−10.8%) compared to 30° (−20.7%). Higher pre-match IPC-F was correlated with the magnitude of IPC-F deficits at both angles and all time points (r = 0.56 to 0.70, p = < 0.01) except for post-match 90°. Regular IPC-F monitoring to determine the magnitude of match-induced fatigue and track recovery may help inform decision-making regarding modifications to individual players training load, particularly as there is a large inter-individual variability in response to competition. Further research is warranted to better understand and address the finding that stronger players showed larger force deficits and slower recovery following match-play. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training, Screening and Monitoring in Soccer)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Effects of Six-Weeks Change of Direction Speed and Technique Modification Training on Cutting Performance and Movement Quality in Male Youth Soccer Players
Sports 2019, 7(9), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7090205 - 06 Sep 2019
Abstract
Cutting manoeuvres are important actions associated with soccer performance and a key action associated with non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury; thus, training interventions that can improve cutting performance and movement quality are of great interest. The aim of this study, therefore, was to [...] Read more.
Cutting manoeuvres are important actions associated with soccer performance and a key action associated with non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury; thus, training interventions that can improve cutting performance and movement quality are of great interest. The aim of this study, therefore, was to determine the effects of a six-week change of dire[ction (COD) speed and technique modification training intervention on cutting performance and movement quality in male youth soccer players (U17s, n = 8) in comparison to a control group (CG) (U18s, n = 11) who continued ‘normal’ training. Cutting performance was assessed based on completion time and COD deficit, and the field-based cutting movement assessment score (CMAS) qualitative screening tool was used to assess cutting movement quality. Significant main effects for time (pre-to-post changes) (p ≤ 0.041, η2 = 0.224–0.839) and significant interaction effects of time and group were observed for cutting completion times, COD deficits, and CMASs. Improvements in completion time (p < 0.001, g = 1.63–1.90, −9% to −11% vs. −5% to 6%) and COD deficit (p ≤ 0.012, g = −1.63 to −2.43, −40–52% vs. −22% to −28%) for the COD intervention group (IG) were approximately two-times greater than the CG. Furthermore, lower CMASs (i.e., improved cutting movement quality) were only observed in the IG (p ≤ 0.025, g = −0.85 to −1.46, −23% to −34% vs. 6–19%) compared to the CG. The positive changes in CMASs were attributed to improved cutting technique and reduced incidences of high-risk deficits such as lateral trunk flexion, extended knee postures, knee valgus, hip internal rotation, and improved braking strategies. The results of this study indicate that COD speed and technique modification training, in addition to normal skills and strength training, improves cutting performance and movement quality in male youth soccer players. Practitioners working with male youth soccer players should implement COD speed and technique modification training to improve cutting performance and movement quality, which may decrease potential injury-risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training, Screening and Monitoring in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Hip Flexion Angle on the Hamstring to Quadriceps Strength Ratio
Sports 2019, 7(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7020043 - 15 Feb 2019
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to compare the hamstring to quadriceps ratio (H:Q) obtained from three different hip flexion angles. Seventy-three young athletes performed maximum isokinetic concentric and eccentric knee extension and flexion efforts at 60 °·s−1 and 240 °·s−1 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to compare the hamstring to quadriceps ratio (H:Q) obtained from three different hip flexion angles. Seventy-three young athletes performed maximum isokinetic concentric and eccentric knee extension and flexion efforts at 60 °·s−1 and 240 °·s−1 from hip flexion angles of 90°, 60°, and 120°. The conventional (concentric to concentric), functional (eccentric to concentric) and mixed (eccentric at 30 °·s−1 to concentric torque at 240 °·s−1) H:Q torque ratios and the electromyographic activity from the rectus femoris and biceps femoris were analyzed. The conventional H:Q ratios and the functional H:Q ratios at 60 °·s−1 did not significantly differ between the three testing positions (p > 0.05). In contrast, testing from the 90° hip flexion angle showed a greater functional torque ratio at 240 °·s−1 and a mixed H:Q torque ratio compared with the other two positions (p < 0.05). The hip flexion angle did not influence the recorded muscle activation signals (p > 0.05). For the range of hip flexion angles tested, routine isokinetic assessment of conventional H:Q ratio and functional H:Q ratio at slow speed is not angle-dependent. Should assessment of the functional H:Q ratio at fast angular velocity or the mixed ratio is required, then selection of hip flexion angle is important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training, Screening and Monitoring in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Drop Jump Asymmetry is Associated with Reduced Sprint and Change-of-Direction Speed Performance in Adult Female Soccer Players
Sports 2019, 7(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7010029 - 21 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Studies that examine the effects of inter-limb asymmetry on measures of physical performance are scarce, especially in adult female populations. The aim of the present study was to establish the relationship between inter-limb asymmetry and speed and change-of-direction speed (CODS) in adult female [...] Read more.
Studies that examine the effects of inter-limb asymmetry on measures of physical performance are scarce, especially in adult female populations. The aim of the present study was to establish the relationship between inter-limb asymmetry and speed and change-of-direction speed (CODS) in adult female soccer players. Sixteen adult players performed a preseason test battery consisting of unilateral countermovement jump (CMJ), unilateral drop jump (DJ), 10 m, 30 m, and 505 CODS tests. Inter-limb asymmetry was calculated using a standard percentage difference equation for jump and CODS tests, and Pearson’s r correlations were used to establish a relationship between asymmetry and physical performance as well as asymmetry scores themselves across tests. Jump-height asymmetry from the CMJ (8.65%) and DJ (9.16%) tests were significantly greater (p < 0.05) than asymmetry during the 505 test (2.39%). CMJ-height asymmetry showed no association with speed or CODS. However, DJ asymmetries were significantly associated with slower 10 m (r = 0.52; p < 0.05), 30 m (r = 0.58; p < 0.05), and 505 (r = 0.52–0.66; p < 0.05) performance. No significant relationships were present between asymmetry scores across tests. These findings suggest that the DJ is a useful test for detecting existent between-limb asymmetry that might in turn be detrimental to speed and CODS performance. Furthermore, the lack of relationships present between different asymmetry scores indicates the individual nature of asymmetry and precludes the use of a single test for the assessment of inter-limb differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training, Screening and Monitoring in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Knee Angle Affects Posterior Chain Muscle Activation During an Isometric Test Used in Soccer Players
Sports 2019, 7(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7010013 - 04 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background: It has been suggested that altering the knee flexion angle during a commonly used supine isometric strength test developed with professional soccer players changes preferential hamstring muscle recruitment. The aim of this study was to examine the electromyography (EMG) knee joint-angle relationship [...] Read more.
Background: It has been suggested that altering the knee flexion angle during a commonly used supine isometric strength test developed with professional soccer players changes preferential hamstring muscle recruitment. The aim of this study was to examine the electromyography (EMG) knee joint-angle relationship during this test, as these data are currently unknown. Methods: Ten recreational male soccer athletes (age: 28 ± 2.4 years) were recruited and performed a supine isometric strength test on their dominant leg with the knee placed at two pre-selected flexion angles (30° and 90°). The surface EMG of the gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and medial gastrocnemius was measured, in addition to the within-session reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and coefficient of variation (CV)). Results: Within-session reliability showed large variation dependent upon the test position and muscle measured (CV% = 8.8–36.1) Absolute mean EMG activity and percentage of maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) indicated different magnitudes of activation between the two test positions; however, significant mean differences were present for the biceps femoris only with greater activation recorded at the 30° knee angle (% MVIC: 31 ± 9 vs. 22 ± 7; p = 0.002). These differences (30% mean difference) were greater than the observed typical measurement error (CV% = 13.1–14.3 for the 90° and 30° test positions, respectively). Furthermore, the percentage MVIC showed a trend of heightened activation of all muscles with the knee positioned at 30°, but there was also more within-subject variation, and this was more pronounced for the gluteus maximus (CV% = 36.1 vs. 19.8) and medial gastrocnemius (CV% 31 vs. 22.6). Conclusions: These results indicate that biceps femoris and overall posterior chain muscle activation is increased with the knee positioned at 30° of flexion; however, the 90° angle displayed less variation in performance within individual participants, especially in the gluteus maximus and medial gastrocnemius. Thus, practitioners using this test to assess hamstring muscle strength should ensure appropriate familiarisation is afforded, and then may wish to prioritise the 30° knee position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training, Screening and Monitoring in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Examination of Physical Characteristics and Positional Differences in Professional Soccer Players in Qatar
Sports 2019, 7(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7010009 - 31 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Physical characteristics in professional soccer differ between competition levels and playing positions, and normative data aid practitioners in profiling their players to optimize performance and reduce injury risk. Given the paucity of research in Arabic soccer populations, the purpose of this study was [...] Read more.
Physical characteristics in professional soccer differ between competition levels and playing positions, and normative data aid practitioners in profiling their players to optimize performance and reduce injury risk. Given the paucity of research in Arabic soccer populations, the purpose of this study was to provide position-specific normative values for professional players competing in the Qatar Stars League. One hundred and ninety-five players completed a musculoskeletal assessment as part of an annual periodic health examination. Tests included measures of range of motion (hip, ankle, and hamstring), bilateral and unilateral jump performance, and quadriceps/hamstring (isokinetic/NordBord), hip adduction/abduction (eccentric), and groin (isometric) strength. Descriptive data were examined, and positional differences were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Goalkeepers were significantly heavier (p < 0.01), had a higher body mass index (p < 0.05) than outfield positions and demonstrated greater absolute strength. Defenders were the strongest relative to body mass, and these differences were significant (p < 0.05) versus goalkeepers and strikers. No meaningful between-group comparisons were apparent for jumping or range of motion tests. Compared to mean values from other professional leagues, soccer players in Qatar appear to be shorter, lighter and display inferior strength and jump capacities. These data can be used to tailor training and rehabilitation programs to the specifics of the league and position in which the athletes compete. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training, Screening and Monitoring in Soccer)
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