Repeated high-intensity activities during youth soccer games in relation to changes in maximal sprinting and aerobic speed

 Buchheit -  Changes in Fitness and game RSA (Small)

pdf: Buchheit – Changes in Fitness and game RSA

Int J Sports Med. 2013 Jan;34(1):40-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1316363. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Repeated high-speed activities during youth soccer games in relation to changes in maximal sprinting and aerobic speeds.


ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Sport Science, Doha, Qatar.


The aim of this study was to examine in highly-trained young soccer players whether substantial changes in either maximal sprinting speed (MSS) or maximal aerobic speed (as inferred from peak incremental test speed, V(Vam-Eval)) can affect repeated high-intensity running during games. Data from 33 players (14.5±1.3 years), who presented substantial changes in either MSS or V(Vam-Eval) throughout 2 consecutive testing periods (~3 months) were included in the final analysis. For each player, time-motion analyses were performed using a global positioning system (1-Hz) during 2-10 international club games played within 1-2 months from/to each testing period of interest (n for game analyzed=109, player-games=393, games per player per period=4±2). Sprint activities were defined as at least a 1-s run at intensities higher than 61% of individual MSS. Repeated-sprint sequences (RSS) were defined as a minimum of 2 consecutive sprints interspersed with a maximum of 60 s of recovery. Improvements in both MSS and V(Vam-Eval) were likely associated with a decreased RSS occurrence, but in some positions only (e. g., - 24% vs. - 3% for improvements in MSS in strikers vs. midfielders, respectively). The changes in the number of sprints per RSS were less clear but also position-dependent, e. g., +7 to +12% for full-backs and wingers, - 5 to - 7% for centre-backs and midfielders. In developing soccer players, changes in repeated-sprint activity during games do not necessarily match those in physical fitness. Game tactical and strategic requirements are likely to modulate on-field players’ activity patterns independently (at least partially) of players’ physical capacities.