Special Issue "Performance in Soccer"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Filipe Manuel Clemente

Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, School of Sport and Leisure (Melgaço, Portugal)
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +351 258 809 678
Interests: soccer; association football; sports training; training monitoring; performance analysis; small-sided games
Guest Editor
Dr. Pantelis Theodoros Nikolaidis

Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Nikaia, Greece
E-Mail
Phone: +30-6977820298
Interests: exercise performance; exercise physiology; sports medicine; team sports
Guest Editor
Prof. Sixto González-Víllora

University of Castilla-La Mancha, Faculty of Education (Cuenca), Spain
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (+ 34) 969 179 196
Interests: soccer; association football; teaching and learning; match analysis; team sports; small-sided and conditioned games

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue, “Performance in Soccer”, is a new venue to publish original researches, meta-analysis, reviews, case studies, short communications, and book reviews subordinated to the soccer topic. This collection aims to publish research on various aspects of soccer performance, including: (i) performance analysis; (ii) match analysis; (iii) soccer training; (iv) periodization; (v) physiology of soccer; (vi) psychology of soccer; and (vii) coaching in soccer. Any other topics are welcome to this Special Issue, especially articles that bring new theoretical and practical approaches to the soccer field.

List of topics of interest:

i) Performance analysis in soccer players
ii) Match analysis and technological advances in soccer
iii) Soccer training and periodization
iv) Strength and conditioning in soccer
v) Small-sided and conditioned games in soccer
vi) Physiology and nutrition in soccer
vii) Psychology and coaching in soccer
viii) pedagogy in youth soccer players

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
Dr. Pantelis Theodoros Nikolaidis
Dr. Sixto González-Víllora
Guest editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sports is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • soccer
  • performance analysis
  • match analysis
  • soccer training
  • soccer physiology
  • soccer psychology
  • soccer coaching

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Metabolic Power of Female Footballers in Various Small-Sided Games with Different Pitch Surfaces and Sizes
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 13 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
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Abstract
Small-sided-games (SSGs) seem to be a useful tool for replicating most types of scenarios found in sport competitions, but it is not that clear in female soccer. Game surface and pitch size seem to affect the intensity of SSGs, but no one has [...] Read more.
Small-sided-games (SSGs) seem to be a useful tool for replicating most types of scenarios found in sport competitions, but it is not that clear in female soccer. Game surface and pitch size seem to affect the intensity of SSGs, but no one has yet analysed the influence of these two variables together. The objective of this research was to analyse the metabolic power demands of various SSGs on possession play without goal-keepers, played on three different surfaces. Sixteen sub-elite female players performed three different four-a-side games (400 m2, 600 m2, and 800 m2) on three different surfaces (ground [GR]; natural grass [NG]; and artificial turf [AT]), recording a total of 96 events. Metabolic variables were recorded through a global positioning system (GPS). The GR condition obtained the lowest outputs for all variables in all of the SSGs. Furthermore, NG resulted in higher outcomes than AT for Average Metabolic Power (SSG 400 [+0.65; p = 0.019]; SSG 600 [+0.70; p = 0.04]); and equivalent distance (SSG 400 [+33.0; p = 0.02]; SSG 600 [+36.53; p = 0.04]). Moreover, SSG 400 obtained lower results than SSG 600 and SSG 800 for both AT and NG. In conclusion, playing on GR reduces the metabolic power of SSGs, While NG seems to be the most suitable surface for attaining highest metabolic responses for sub-elite female players. On the other hand, too big a pitch size may not increase the metabolic demands of the game. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessArticle
Detection and Selection of Behavioral Patterns Using Theme: A Concrete Example in Grassroots Soccer
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
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Abstract
Observational methodology provides a rigorous yet flexible framework for capturing behaviors over time to allow for the performance of subsequent diachronic analyses of the data captured. Theme is a specialized software program that detects hidden temporal behavioral patterns (T-patterns) within data sets. It [...] Read more.
Observational methodology provides a rigorous yet flexible framework for capturing behaviors over time to allow for the performance of subsequent diachronic analyses of the data captured. Theme is a specialized software program that detects hidden temporal behavioral patterns (T-patterns) within data sets. It is increasingly being used to analyze performance in soccer and other sports. The aim of this study was to show how to select and interpret T-patterns generated by the application of three “quantitative” sort options in Theme and three “qualitative” filters established by the researchers. These will be used to investigate whether 7-a-side (F7) or 8-a-side (F8) soccer is best suited to the learning and skills development needs of 7- and 8-year-old male soccer players. The information contained in the T-patterns generated allowed us to characterize patterns of play in children in this age group. For both formats, we detected technical-tactical behaviors showing that children of this age have difficulty with first-touch actions and controlling the ball after a throw-in. We also found that ball control followed by a pass or a shot at the goal are common in the central corridor of the pitch. Further, depth of play is achieved by ball control, followed by dribbling and a pass or shot. In F8, we saw that depth of play was achieved through ball control, followed by dribbling and passing of one or more opponents leading to a pass or shot. However, in F7, we saw that players succeeded in advancing from their goal area to the rival goal area through a sequence of actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Body Composition Evaluation Issue among Young Elite Football Players: DXA Assessment
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 11 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
Accurate assessment of body composition is an important issue among athletes. Different methodologies generate controversial results, leading to a deep uncertainty on individual exercise prescriptions. Thus, this study aims to identify the differences between field methods, such as bioelectrical impedance (BIA) and skinfold [...] Read more.
Accurate assessment of body composition is an important issue among athletes. Different methodologies generate controversial results, leading to a deep uncertainty on individual exercise prescriptions. Thus, this study aims to identify the differences between field methods, such as bioelectrical impedance (BIA) and skinfold assessment, with a clinical method, highly accurate, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), among elite young football players. Thirty-eight male football players with a mean (sd) age of 16.7 (0.87) years, involved in the Portuguese national competition of U16 (n = 13) and U19 (n = 25), were evaluated and objective measures of body composition, muscle strength and football skills were collected by trained specialists. Body composition was assessed using BIA (Tanita BC-418, Tanita Corp., Tokyo, Japan), in agreement with all the evaluation premises. Additionally, all athletes were evaluated using the clinical method DXA (Hologic Inc., Waltham, MA, USA). Among the U19 athletes, three skinfold sites (SKF) were assessed: chest, abdomin and thigh. The Spearman correlation coefficients and the mean difference between methods were calculated. The agreement between both methods was analyzed using Bland-Altman plots. Among the evaluated athletes, lower mean values of body fat % were found using BIA as a method of body composition assessment compared with DXA (12.05 vs. 15.58 for U16; 11.97 vs. 14.16 for U19). Despite the moderate correlation between methods (r = 0.33) to estimate the percentage of total fat, the median of the difference (DXA vs. BIA) was relevant in clinical terms, with 2.90% and 1.47% for U16 and U19 athletes, respectively. Stronger correlations were found between the sum of the SKF and DXA fat estimation (r = 0.68). The Bland-Altman plots showed a clear underestimation in the evaluations using the BIA, namely among athletes with better body composition profiles (8%–12% of fat). Using BIA, an underestimation of body fat assessment was observed among 94.5% of the athletes with less than 12% body fat mass. Among the evaluated athletes, fat mass was underestimated at a median value of 2.21% using BIA in comparison with DXA. The sum of the SKF showed a stronger correlation with the reference method (DXA) (r = 0.68) than BIA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Functional Movement Screen Scores and Physical Performance among Youth Elite Soccer Players
Received: 2 November 2016 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
This study had two main objectives: (1) to determine if differences in Functional Movement Screen (FMS) scores exist between two levels of competition; and (2) to analyze the association between FMS individual and overall scores and physical performance variables of lower-limb power (jumps), [...] Read more.
This study had two main objectives: (1) to determine if differences in Functional Movement Screen (FMS) scores exist between two levels of competition; and (2) to analyze the association between FMS individual and overall scores and physical performance variables of lower-limb power (jumps), repeated sprint ability and shot speed. Twenty-two Under 16 (U16) and twenty-six Under 19 (U19) national competitive soccer players participated in this study. All participants were evaluated according to anthropometrics, FMS, jump performance, instep kick speed and anaerobic performance. There were no significant differences in the individual FMS scores between competitive levels. There were significant negative correlations between hurdle step (right) and Running-based Anaerobic Sprint Test (RAST) power average ( ρ = −0.293; p = 0.043) and RAST fatigue index (RAST FatIndex) ( ρ = −0.340; p = 0.018). The hurdle step (left) had a significant negative correlation to squat jump (SJ) ( ρ = −0.369; p = 0.012). Rotary stability had a significant negative correlation to RAST fatigue index (Right: ρ = −0.311; p = 0.032. Left: ρ = −0.400; p = 0.005). The results suggest that individual FMS scores may be better discriminants of performance than FMS total score and established minimal association between FMS scores and physical variables. Based on that, FMS may be suitable for the purposes of determining physical function but not for discriminating physical performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessArticle
Differences in the Dominant and Non-Dominant Knee Valgus Angle in Junior Elite and Amateur Soccer Players after Unilateral Landing
Received: 29 October 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
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Abstract
More than 70% of all knee injuries in soccer occur in non-contact situations. It is known that increased lower limb dynamic knee valgus is associated with such situations. Little has been found out about differences in knee kinematics of the dominant (kicking) and [...] Read more.
More than 70% of all knee injuries in soccer occur in non-contact situations. It is known that increased lower limb dynamic knee valgus is associated with such situations. Little has been found out about differences in knee kinematics of the dominant (kicking) and non-dominant (supporting) leg during a single leg landing. A total of 114 male adolescent soccer players (age 14.6 ± 1.1 years) from elite (N = 66) and amateur soccer clubs (N = 48) performed a single leg drop landing down from a box. For each leg, the two-dimensional dynamic knee valgus angle (DKVA) was calculated. Paired t-tests were used to statistically determine significant differences between dominant and non-dominant leg DKVA, and t-tests were calculated between the two performance groups. Statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) were identified for the DKVA between the dominant and non-dominant leg for both amateur and elite players, showing a greater DKVA for the dominant leg. Group differences for the DKVA between amateur and elite players were not found, neither for the dominant, nor for the non-dominant leg. It can be concluded that the non-dominant leg showed more stable dynamics than the dominant leg during unilateral landing regardless of the player’s performance level. This could be due to adaptions to sport-specific requirements. Therefore, it is recommended that programs to prevent knee injuries among soccer players consider the dynamics of each leg individually. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Seasonal Variation of Agility, Speed and Endurance Performance in Young Elite Soccer Players
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 27 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate changes in the linear running speed (LRS) for 30 m, change of direction speed (CODS), and endurance in young elite Czech soccer players. The following tests were conducted to assess CODS and endurance: Agility 505 [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate changes in the linear running speed (LRS) for 30 m, change of direction speed (CODS), and endurance in young elite Czech soccer players. The following tests were conducted to assess CODS and endurance: Agility 505 turning toward the dominant (A505DL) and non-dominant lower limb (A505NL); Illinois Agility Test (IAT); and intermittent test (Yo-Yo IRT1). During the soccer season, we investigated performance at the following time periods: the start (t1) and the end of the pre-season period (t2); during (t3) and at the end of the competitive period (t4). Repeated measurement analysis of variance revealed a significant effect of time period on selected fitness parameters (p < 0.05). Post hoc analysis for test A505DL revealed significant improvements of performance at t3 (2.71 ± 0.08 s) and t4 (2.72 ± 0.06 s) compared to t1 (2.81 ± 0.09 s). A505NL was significantly different between t1 (2.83 ± 0.09 s) and t2 (2.76 ± 0.09 s), t3 (2.7 ± 0.07 s) and t4 (2.71 ± 0.09 s). Performance of CODS at t1 for the IAT (18.82 ± 0.56 s) was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than any other time period (t2 = 18.52 ± 0.63 s, t3 = 17.94 ± 0.51 s, t4 = 17.89 ± 0.66 s). The power of LRS was significantly different at t3 (4.99 ± 0.15 s), and t4 (4.98 ± 0.17 s) compared to t1 (5.15 ± 0.21 s), and t2 (5.07 ± 0.14 s). For the Yo-Yo IRT1 test, we observed a significant increase in performance between t1 (625.26 ± 170.34 m), t2 (858.95 ± 210.55 m), and t3 (953.68 ± 229.88 m). These results show the impact of soccer season time period on young soccer player performance and may further serve as a basis for comparison with similar research conducted by peers. These results may aid sports practice for clinicians, conditioning coaches, soccer coaches and physiotherapeutic coaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Functional Assessment and Injury Risk in a Professional Soccer Team
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
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Abstract
At the last World Conference on Sport and Physical Therapy celebrated in Bern (Switzerland, 2015), it was confirmed that the functional skills of an athlete are a very important variable to be considered in the recovery of an injury. On the other hand, [...] Read more.
At the last World Conference on Sport and Physical Therapy celebrated in Bern (Switzerland, 2015), it was confirmed that the functional skills of an athlete are a very important variable to be considered in the recovery of an injury. On the other hand, its use as a predictive risk tool still lacks solid evidence. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a battery of functional tests (FPT) could be used as a preliminary measure for the season in order to identify the injury risk in a professional soccer team in the Spanish Second Division B League. Fifty-two soccer players (ages of 25.3 ± 4.6 years, 10.33% ± 0.9% fat) were functionally assessed during two seasons (2012–2013 and 2013–2014) and analyzed from an injury perspective. A total of 125 injuries were recorded. The sample was grouped based on the number of injuries and the required absence days. Except for the bipodal vertical jump (CMJ), none of the functional tests revealed differences among the groups. The correlation study between the functional condition and the suffered injuries did not show any significant results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Change of Muscle Activity as Well as Kinematic and Kinetic Parameters during Headers after Core Muscle Fatigue
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
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Abstract
In soccer, headers are a tactical measure and influenced by numerous factors. The goal of this study was to identify whether changes in kinematics and muscular activity, especially of the head-stabilizing muscles, occur during headers when the core musculature is fatigued. In two [...] Read more.
In soccer, headers are a tactical measure and influenced by numerous factors. The goal of this study was to identify whether changes in kinematics and muscular activity, especially of the head-stabilizing muscles, occur during headers when the core musculature is fatigued. In two subgroups, muscular activity (12 amateur players, age 23.6 ± 4.2 years) and kinematics and dynamics (29 amateur players, age 23.7 ± 2.8 years) were examined during straight headers on a pendulum header. Data were collected before and after the core muscles were fatigued by an exercise program. Telemetric surface EMG, 3D acceleration sensor, force plate, and video recordings were used. Under fatigue, the activity of M. erector spinae and M. rectus abdominis was significantly reduced in the preparation phase of the header. The activity of M. sternocleidomastoideus was significantly increased during the jump phase, and the hip extension angle during maximum arched body tension was significantly reduced under fatigue. Jumping height, acceleration force impulse, and linear head acceleration were also significantly reduced. We conclude that fatigue of the core muscles affects the motion technique of the header and the activity of the muscle groups stabilizing the head. Therefore, the necessity of specific training in soccer should be emphasized from a medical-preventive point of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Poorer Intermittent Sprints Performance in Ramadan-Fasted Muslim Footballers despite Controlling for Pre-Exercise Dietary Intake, Sleep and Training Load
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
This study examines the effects of Ramadan fasting on sprint performance during prolonged intermittent exercise in trained Muslim footballers, under controlled pre-exercise conditions. A within-group, cross-over study design with two non-fasted or Control trials performed before (i.e., CON1) and after (CON2) the Ramadan [...] Read more.
This study examines the effects of Ramadan fasting on sprint performance during prolonged intermittent exercise in trained Muslim footballers, under controlled pre-exercise conditions. A within-group, cross-over study design with two non-fasted or Control trials performed before (i.e., CON1) and after (CON2) the Ramadan month, and with the Ramadan-fasted (RAM) trials performed within the Ramadan month. After familiarization, 14 players completed a modified 60-min (4 × 15-min exercise blocks interspersed with 3-min intervals) of the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (mLIST) of fixed speeds of walking, jogging, running, but with all-out effort sprints. During the interval periods, capillary blood glucose and blood lactate measures were taken, rectal and skin temperatures were recorded and maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) of the dominant leg and hand-grip were performed to provide some indication to the cause(s) of ‘fatigue’ during exercise. Players were provided with standardized 24-h pre-packed meals prior to all trials. Sleep hours were objectively assessed and perceived training loads were monitored and these were equivalent between RAM and CON trials. Sprint times throughout mLIST were significantly faster in both CON1 and CON2 as compared to RAM trials (all P < 0.017; d = small to moderate), and this poorer performance in RAM was observed as early as during the first 15-min of the mLIST. Blood markers, MVIC and thermoregulatory results were not substantially different between both CON and RAM trials. In conclusion, despite similarities in dietary intake, sleeping hours and training loads between conditions, results still indicate that Ramadan fasting had an adverse effect on prolonged intermittent performance. Nocebo effects plays a dominant role during exercise in the Ramadan-fasted state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Content Validity and Psychometric Properties of the Nomination Scale for Identifying Football Talent (NSIFT): Application to Coaches, Parents and Players
Received: 24 October 2016 / Revised: 6 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
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Abstract
The identification of football talent is a critical issue both for clubs and the families of players. However, despite its importance in a sporting, economic and social sense, there appears to be a lack of instruments that can reliably measure talent performance. The [...] Read more.
The identification of football talent is a critical issue both for clubs and the families of players. However, despite its importance in a sporting, economic and social sense, there appears to be a lack of instruments that can reliably measure talent performance. The aim of this study was to design and validate the Nomination Scale for Identifying Football Talent (NSIFT), with the aim of optimising the processes for identifying said talent. The scale was first validated through expert judgment, and then statistically, by means of an exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), internal reliability and convergent validity. The results reveal the presence of three factors in the scale’s factor matrix, with these results being confirmed by the CFA. The scale revealed suitable internal reliability and homogeneity indices. Convergent validity showed that it is teammates who are best able to identify football talent, followed by coaches and parents. It can be concluded that the NSIFT is suitable for use in the football world. Future studies should seek to confirm these results in different contexts by means of further CFAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Relationships and Predictive Capabilities of Jump Assessments to Soccer-Specific Field Test Performance in Division I Collegiate Players
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 28 November 2016 / Accepted: 30 November 2016 / Published: 3 December 2016
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Abstract
Leg power is an important characteristic for soccer, and jump tests can measure this capacity. Limited research has analyzed relationships between jumping and soccer-specific field test performance in collegiate male players. Nineteen Division I players completed tests of: leg power (vertical jump (VJ), [...] Read more.
Leg power is an important characteristic for soccer, and jump tests can measure this capacity. Limited research has analyzed relationships between jumping and soccer-specific field test performance in collegiate male players. Nineteen Division I players completed tests of: leg power (vertical jump (VJ), standing broad jump (SBJ), left- and right-leg triple hop (TH)); linear (30 m sprint; 0–5 m, 5–10 m, 0–10, 0–30 m intervals) and change-of-direction (505) speed; soccer-specific fitness (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2); and 7 × 30-m sprints to measure repeated-sprint ability (RSA; total time (TT), performance decrement (PD)). Pearson’s correlations (r) determined jump and field test relationships; stepwise regression ascertained jump predictors of the tests (p < 0.05). All jumps correlated with the 0–5, 0–10, and 0–30 m sprint intervals (r = −0.65–−0.90). VJ, SBJ, and left- and right-leg TH correlated with RSA TT (r = −0.51–−0.59). Right-leg TH predicted the 0–5 and 0–10 m intervals (R2 = 0.55–0.81); the VJ predicted the 0–30 m interval and RSA TT (R2 = 0.41–0.84). Between-leg TH asymmetry correlated with and predicted left-leg 505 and RSA PD (r = −0.68–0.62; R2 = 0.39–0.46). Improvements in jumping ability could contribute to faster speed and RSA performance in collegiate soccer players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessArticle
Identification of Defensive Performance Factors in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 21 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of defensive play in elite football, to identify variables associated with the direct recovery of ball possession, and to propose a model for predicting the success of defensive transitions. We analyzed 804 transitions [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of defensive play in elite football, to identify variables associated with the direct recovery of ball possession, and to propose a model for predicting the success of defensive transitions. We analyzed 804 transitions in the final stages of the Fedération Internationale Football Association (FIFA) World Cup 2010, and investigated the following variables using univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses: duration of defensive transition, possession loss zone, position of players at the start and end of the defensive transitions, defensive organization, general defensive approach, time of the match, position of defense, zone in which the offensive transition ends, match status, and outcome of the defensive transition. We found that the defensive transitions started most frequently in the middle offensive zone (48.9%), with an organized defense set-up (98.8%), and were unsuccessful on 57.2% of occasions. The bivariate analysis showed that the variable most strongly associated with direct recovery of the possession of the ball (p = 0.018) is the area in which the ball is lost, and the multivariate analysis showed that the duration of the defensive transition can be used as a performance indicator, with transitions lasting between 0 and 15 s associated with a higher likelihood of directly recovering the ball. This work has allowed us to identify a pattern of tactical-strategic behavior with major probabilities of success in the defensive transitions. These results will be able to be used by coaches to improve the performance of their teams in this type of situation in the game. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessArticle
Goal Format in Small-Sided Soccer Games: Technical Actions and Offensive Scenarios of Prepubescent Players
Received: 12 July 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 25 November 2016
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the number of goal-posts and the positioning of goal-posts used within small-sided games on the frequency of technical actions and offensive scenarios performed by prepubescent players within soccer. The participants were eight [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the number of goal-posts and the positioning of goal-posts used within small-sided games on the frequency of technical actions and offensive scenarios performed by prepubescent players within soccer. The participants were eight male prepubescent soccer players (12.1 ± 0.5 years). The participants were video recorded for 20 min playing four different formats of 4v4 small-sided games: (1) standard two goal game; (2) four goal game, one goal in each corner; (3) two goal game with goal-posts positioned 9.14 m/10 yd infield, scoring only through the back of the goal; (4) four goal-game, one goal positioned 9.14 m/10 yd infield in each corner, scoring through either the front or back of each goal. Chi-squared tests of independence were utilized to statistically explore the impact of the different small-sided game formats. There were significant associations (p < 0.05) observed between the different small-sided game formats and the frequency of turns, dribbles, shots, goals and overlaps performed. For example, players performed more turns in small-sided game format two and more shots during small-sided game format four. It is suggested coaches should consider using a variation of the number and positioning of goal-posts in small-sided games as an effective training tool in the development of prepubescent soccer players. This will enable coaches to vary the focus of sessions, and develop specific technical and tactical actions within a situation similar to that of real match-play. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Procedural Tactical Knowledge and Specific Motor Skills in Young Soccer Players
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between offensive tactical knowledge and the soccer-specific motor skills performance. Fifteen participants were submitted to two evaluation tests, one to assess their technical and tactical analysis. The motor skills performance was measured through [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between offensive tactical knowledge and the soccer-specific motor skills performance. Fifteen participants were submitted to two evaluation tests, one to assess their technical and tactical analysis. The motor skills performance was measured through four tests of technical soccer skills: ball control, shooting, passing and dribbling. The tactical performance was based on a tactical assessment system called FUT-SAT (Analyses of Procedural Tactical Knowledge in Soccer). Afterwards, technical and tactical evaluation scores were ranked with and without the use of the cluster method. A positive, weak correlation was perceived in both analyses (rho = 0.39, not significant p = 0.14 (with cluster analysis); and rho = 0.35; not significant p = 0.20 (without cluster analysis)). We can conclude that there was a weak association between the technical and the offensive tactical knowledge. This shows the need to reflect on the use of such tests to assess technical skills in team sports since they do not take into account the variability and unpredictability of game actions and disregard the inherent needs to assess such skill performance in the game. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessArticle
Comparıson of the Heart Rate and Blood Lactate Responses of Different Small Sided Games in Young Soccer Players
Received: 18 August 2016 / Revised: 21 September 2016 / Accepted: 26 September 2016 / Published: 29 September 2016
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to compare the percentage of maximum heart rate (%HRmax), blood lactate (La), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE, CR-10) responses across different formats of small-sided games (SSG) in elite young soccer players. Fourteen players (average [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to compare the percentage of maximum heart rate (%HRmax), blood lactate (La), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE, CR-10) responses across different formats of small-sided games (SSG) in elite young soccer players. Fourteen players (average age 16.7 ± 0.6 years; height 177.6 ± 4.1 cm; body mass 66.3 ± 4.7 kg; average training age 6.7 ± 1.6 years; percentage of body fat 8.4 ± 2.6%) volunteered to perform the YoYo intermittent recovery test (level 1) and eight bouts of soccer drills including 2-a-side, 3-a-side, and 4-a-side games without goalkeepers in random order at two-day intervals. Heart rates were monitored throughout the SSGs, whereas the RPE and venous blood lactate were determined at the end of the last bout of each SSG. The differences in La, %HRmax, and RPE either across the different SSGs or between the bouts were identified using 3 × 8 (games × exercise bouts) two-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. Significant differences were found in terms of La, RPE, and %HRmax among the different types of SSG (p ≤ 0.05). 3-a-side and 4-a-side games elicited significantly higher responses than 2-a-side games in terms of %HRmax (p ≤ 0.05), whereas 4-a-side games resulted in significantly lower La and RPE responses compared to 2-a-side and 3-a-side games. The results of this study show that physiological responses differ according to the numbers of players involved in small-sided games. Therefore, it can be concluded that 3-a-side and 4-a-side games could be more effective in improving high intensity aerobic performance than 2-a-side games, which in turn are more appropriate for developing anaerobic performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Recovery Duration on Technical Proficiency during Small Sided Games of Football
Received: 2 May 2016 / Revised: 27 June 2016 / Accepted: 4 July 2016 / Published: 8 July 2016
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of increasing the duration of the recovery periods separating serial bouts of small sided games (SSG) of football on technical skills (TS). Twelve semi-professional footballers (mean ± SD; age 21 ± 3 years; [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of increasing the duration of the recovery periods separating serial bouts of small sided games (SSG) of football on technical skills (TS). Twelve semi-professional footballers (mean ± SD; age 21 ± 3 years; VO2peak 64 ± 7 mL∙min∙kg−1; playing experience 15 ± 3 years) completed two SSG sessions, consisting of 3 vs. 3 players and 6 bouts of 2 min, separated by either 30 s recovery (REC-30) or 120 s recovery (REC-120). Sixteen TS, including passing, possession, and defensive related variables, and exercise intensity (heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, time motion descriptors) during the bouts were measured. Repeated measures ANOVA were used to determine differences between-conditions, for TS. The number of successful tackles was significantly higher, and the average time each team maintained possession was significantly lower in REC-120 compared to REC-30. There were no significant differences for all other TS variables, or exercise intensity measures between REC-30 and REC-120. Overall, a four-fold increase in the duration of recovery separating SSG bouts did not alter the technical skill execution of players. The experience and skill level of the players, combined with an apparent regulation of effort through pacing, may have assisted in the maintenance of technical skill execution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Physiological, Technical, and Tactical Analysis during a Friendly Football Match of Elite U19
Received: 13 May 2016 / Revised: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 8 June 2016 / Published: 16 June 2016
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Abstract
The main objective was to analyze a friendly match of youth elite soccer players identifying the variance of tactical and physiological response parameters during the game. In addition, detecting the impact of both halves on player performance. For the purposes of this study [...] Read more.
The main objective was to analyze a friendly match of youth elite soccer players identifying the variance of tactical and physiological response parameters during the game. In addition, detecting the impact of both halves on player performance. For the purposes of this study twenty-two U19 players were analyzed playing 11v11. Activity profile, heart rate (HR and HRmax), grouped in five different zones were analyzed via Bluetooth technology, technical performance was analyzed by the Team Sport Assessment Procedure (TSAP), and tactical performance was measured by Social Network Analysis. A comparison of heart rate responses showed significant main effects in the halves (p = 0.001; η p 2 = 0.623). A comparison between tactical position and technical performance had significant main effects (p = 0.001; η p 2 = 0.390). Tactical position showed statistically significant effects on tactical prominence (p = 0.002; η p 2 = 0.296). Therefore, fatigue is a component distinguished in technical/tactical parameters, such as volume of play and efficiency index. Results suggest that fatigue effects may constrain technical performance and, for that reason, the use of instruments to monitor the fatigue effect during matches may be suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessArticle
Physiological Characteristics of Incoming Freshmen Field Players in a Men’s Division I Collegiate Soccer Team
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 26 May 2016 / Accepted: 1 June 2016 / Published: 8 June 2016
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Abstract
Freshmen college soccer players will have lower training ages than their experienced teammates (sophomores, juniors, seniors). How this is reflected in field test performance is not known. Freshmen (n = 7) and experienced (n = 10) male field soccer players from [...] Read more.
Freshmen college soccer players will have lower training ages than their experienced teammates (sophomores, juniors, seniors). How this is reflected in field test performance is not known. Freshmen (n = 7) and experienced (n = 10) male field soccer players from the same Division I school completed soccer-specific tests to identify potential differences in incoming freshmen. Testing included: vertical jump (VJ), standing broad jump, and triple hop (TH); 30-m sprint, (0–5, 5–10, 0–10, and 0–30 m intervals); 505 change-of-direction test; Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2 (YYIRT2); and 6 × 30-m sprints to measure repeated-sprint ability. A MANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc was conducted on the performance test data, and effect sizes and z-scores were calculated from the results for magnitude-based inference. There were no significant between-group differences in the performance tests. There were moderate effects for the differences in VJ height, left-leg TH, 0–5, 0–10 and 0–30 m sprint intervals, and YYIRT2 (d = 0.63–1.18), with experienced players being superior. According to z-score data, freshmen had meaningful differences below the squad mean in the 30-m sprint, YYIRT2, and jump tests. Freshmen soccer players may need to develop linear speed, high-intensity running, and jump performance upon entering a collegiate program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Open AccessArticle
Heart Rate Responses during Small Sided Games and Official Match-Play in Soccer
Received: 25 February 2016 / Revised: 25 May 2016 / Accepted: 26 May 2016 / Published: 30 May 2016
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Abstract
Small sided games (SSGs) are a match specific type of training. In addition, there is an insufficient number of studies that compare heart rate (HR) responses of SSGs and official match-play (OM). The purpose of this study was to investigate the heart rate [...] Read more.
Small sided games (SSGs) are a match specific type of training. In addition, there is an insufficient number of studies that compare heart rate (HR) responses of SSGs and official match-play (OM). The purpose of this study was to investigate the heart rate responses during SSGs and OM in young soccer players. Twenty-two male soccer players (mean ± SD; age 17.4 ± 0.9 years, height 174.9 ± 6.6 cm, body weight 67.7 ± 8.1 kg) volunteered to participate in this study. The first session included anthropometric measurements and a maximum running test (RT). Following the RT session, all players participated in five different randomly ordered SSG sessions (3-, 4-, 5-, 7- and 9-a-side with goalkeepers). OMs were also monitored in the fourth week of the study. A one-way multivariate repeated-measures analysis of variance (MANOVA) was then conducted to evaluate the differences between the SSGs and OM. The results showed that 3-a-side elicited significantly higher HR and %HRmax than other SSGs and OM, whereas 9-a-side resulted in significantly lower HR and %HRmax compared to other SSG formats and OM (p < 0.05). In conclusion, 3-a-side, 4-a-side and 5-a-side SSG formats provide players with the opportunity to spend sufficient proportion of time spent in high intensity zones that are specific to match demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Nutrition and Supplementation in Soccer
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 25 April 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
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Abstract
Contemporary elite soccer features increased physical demands during match-play, as well as a larger number of matches per season. Now more than ever, aspects related to performance optimization are highly regarded by both players and soccer coaches. Here, nutrition takes a special role [...] Read more.
Contemporary elite soccer features increased physical demands during match-play, as well as a larger number of matches per season. Now more than ever, aspects related to performance optimization are highly regarded by both players and soccer coaches. Here, nutrition takes a special role as most elite teams try to provide an adequate diet to guarantee maximum performance while ensuring a faster recovery from matches and training exertions. It is currently known that manipulation and periodization of macronutrients, as well as sound hydration practices, have the potential to interfere with training adaptation and recovery. A careful monitoring of micronutrient status is also relevant to prevent undue fatigue and immune impairment secondary to a deficiency status. Furthermore, the sensible use of evidence-based dietary supplements may also play a role in soccer performance optimization. In this sense, several nutritional recommendations have been issued. This detailed and comprehensive review addresses the most relevant and up-to-date nutritional recommendations for elite soccer players, covering from macro and micronutrients to hydration and selected supplements in different contexts (daily requirements, pre, peri and post training/match and competition). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
Open AccessReview
Soccer and Relative Age Effect: A Walk among Elite Players and Young Players
Received: 5 October 2016 / Revised: 2 January 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (648 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Grouping people according to chronological age is popular in fields such as education and sport. Athletes who are born in the first months of the year usually have cognitive and physical development differences in contrast to those born in the last months of [...] Read more.
Grouping people according to chronological age is popular in fields such as education and sport. Athletes who are born in the first months of the year usually have cognitive and physical development differences in contrast to those born in the last months of the same year. That is why competitive teams tend to select older players more often than youngsters. Age differences between athletes born in the same year as well as an over-representation of older players are known as the Relative Age Effect. This effect is extensively described in young and elite team sports such as basketball, volleyball or, ice-hockey, as well as in soccer. The purpose of this study is to examine the state-of-the-art of the Relative Age Effect in youth and elite soccer players. This review summarizes recent research articles on the Relative Age Effect related to competitive soccer from 2010 to 2016. The systematic literature search was conducted in four databases: SPORTDiscus, Medline, EBSCO host and Google Scholar. Although causes and final solutions have not been clearly achieved yet, it is necessary to continue investigating this phenomenon in order to provide a starting point for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance in Soccer)
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