Monitoring locomotor load in soccer: is metabolic power, powerful?

Buchheit M, Manouvrier C, Cassirame J and Morin JB. Monitoring locomotor load in soccer: is metabolic power, powerful? Int J Sport Med, In press, 2015.

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MetabonotpowerulFigure 1. Oxygen uptake (VO2), speed and metabolic power estimated from locomotor demands (PGPS) during the warm-up and the 3 exercise bouts in a representative player. VO2max: maximal oxygen uptake reached during an incremental test to exhaustion.

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The aim of the present study was to examine the validity and reliability of metabolic power (P) estimated from locomotor demands during soccer-specific drills. Fourteen highly-trained young soccer players (15.4±1.6 yr) performed a soccer-specific circuit with the ball (3 x 1-min bouts, interspersed with 30-s passive recovery) on two different occasions. Locomotor activity was monitored with 4-Hz GPS units, while oxygen update (VO2) was collected with a portable gas analyzer. P was calculated using either net VO2 responses and traditional calorimetry principles (PVO2, or locomotor demands (PGPS, Distance covered into different speed, acceleration and P zones was recorded. Players covered 30 times more distance >20 W/kg (PGPS) than >14.4 km.h-1. While PGPS was 29 ± 10 % lower than PVO2 (Cohen’s d<-3) during the exercise bouts, it was 85 ± 7 % lower (d<-8) during recovery phases. The typical error of the estimate between PGPS vs PVO2 was moderate: 19.8%, 90% confidence limits: (18.4;21.6). The correlation between both estimates of P was small: 0.24 (0.14;0.33). Very large day-to-day variations were observed for acceleration, deceleration and >20 distances (all CVs >50%), while total distance, average PVO2 and PGPS showed CVs <10%. ICC ranged from very low- (acceleration and >20 distances) to-very high (PVO2). To conclude, PGPS largely underestimates the energy demands of soccer-specific drills, especially during the recovery phases. Together with its moderate agreement with calorimetry-related P estimations, the poor reliability of PGPS >20 questions its value for monitoring purposes in soccer.

Key words: soccer, acceleration, deceleration, energy demands, soccer-specific, training load.

Change of direction speed in soccer: How much braking is enough?

Hader K, Palazzi D and Buchheit M. Change of direction speed in soccer: How much braking is enough? Kinesiology 47(2015) 1:44-52

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Figure 1. Running speed during 20-m sprints with (45º and 90º) or without (straight line, SL) change of direction. The grey area represents the change of direction.



The aims of the present study were to examine 1) the validity and reliability of a new timing system to assess running kinematics during change of direction (COD), and 2) the determinants of COD-speed. Twelve young soccer players performed three 20-m sprints, either in straight line or with one 45º- or 90º-COD. Sprints were monitored using timing gates and two synchronized 100-Hz laser guns, to track players’ velocities before, during and after the COD. The validity analysis revealed trivial-to-small biases and smallto-moderate typical errors of the estimate with the lasers compared with the timing gates. The reliability was variable-dependent, with trivial- (distance at peak speed) to-large (distance at peak deceleration) typical errors. Kinematic variables were angle-dependent, with likely lower peak speed, almost-certainly slower minimum speed during the COD and almost-certainly greater deceleration reached for 90º-COD vs. 45º-COD sprints. The minimum speed during the COD was largely correlated with sprint performance for both sprint angles. Correlations with most of the other independent variables were unclear. The new timing system showed acceptable levels of validity and reliability to assess some of the selected running kinematics during COD sprints. The ability to maintain a high speed during the COD may be the determinant for COD-speed.

Key words: acceleration, deceleration, speed profile, sprint, laser gun, soccer