Physiological responses and time-motion characteristics of various small-sided soccer games in youth players

Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Sports Sciences, 2009, 27 (1), pp. 1 - 8
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The aim of this study was to examine acute physiological responses and time-motion characteristics associated with three different small-sided soccer game formats in youth players. Sixteen male soccer players aged 16.3 +/- 0.6 years (mean +/- s) completed three variations of a small-sided game (i.e. 2 vs. 2, 4 vs. 4, and 6 vs. 6 players) in which heart rate, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), blood lactate concentration, and time-motion characteristics were recorded. The pitch size was altered to keep the relative pitch area per player consistent for each game format. The 2 vs. 2 games exhibited greater blood lactate, heart rate, and RPE responses compared with 4 vs. 4 and 6 vs. 6 games (P<0.05). The players travelled less (P<0.05) distance at speeds of 0-7 km . h(-1) in the 4 vs. 4 compared with the 2 vs. 2 games (1128 +/- 10 m and 1176 +/- 8 m, respectively). Average maximal sprint distances above 18 km . h(-1) were lower (P<0.05) in 2 vs. 2 than in 4 vs. 4 and 6 vs. 6 games (11.5 +/- 3.9 m, 15.3 +/- 5.5 m, and 19.4 +/- 5.9 m, respectively), and in 4 vs. 4 compared with 6 vs. 6 games. The results show that as small-sided game formats decrease in size and relative pitch area remains constant, overall physiological and perceptual workload increases.
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