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Seasonal Variation in Physiological Fitness of a Semiprofessional Soccer Team

Caldwell, Brian P1; Peters, Derek M1,2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - pp 1370-1377
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a4e82f
Original Research

Caldwell, BP and Peters, DM. Seasonal variation in physiological fitness of a semiprofessional soccer team. J Strength Cond Res 23(5): 1370-1377, 2009-The purpose of this study was to investigate seasonal variations in physiological fitness of semiprofessional soccer players over a 12-month period. Thirteen male players were tested 5 times over a 12-month period using bioelectrical impedance, a 20-m multistage fitness test, countermovement standing vertical jump, 15-m sprint test, Illinois agility test, and sit and reach test. Significant deconditioning was apparent in all fitness variables from end of season one season to prepreseason training of the next season. Aerobic fitness, vertical jump, percent body fat, agility, and sprint performance improved from prepreseason to midseason. Significant decreases in aerobic fitness and the cessation of significant increases in vertical jump, sprint, and agility performance were shown from midseason onward. No differences between the fitness components at the end of season one and the end of season two were identified. The deconditioning apparent in all fitness parameters during the off season, together with progressive improvement in most from postpreseason to midseason would support these parameters as sport-specific fitness requirements. Such improvements suggest that the short-term demands of playing and training in the first half of the season develop fitness and these trends are similar to those for professional players. Body fat was also shown to be detrimental to sprint performance throughout the 12-month period. Further research is needed to identify if the plateau in fitness from midseason is the result of attaining the required level of fitness, fatigue, allied training, or even relative success. Enhancing off-season training may enable yearly fitness increases by at least maintaining fitness levels for the next year's preseason.

1Institute of Sport & Exercise Science, University of Worcester, United Kingdom; and 2Faculty of Health & Sport, University of Agdur, Norway

Address correspondence to Dr. Derek M. Peters, d.peters@worc.ac.uk.

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association