Tessitore, A, Perroni, F, Meeusen, R, Cortis, C, Lupo, C, and Capranica, L. Heart rate responses and technical-tactical aspects of official 5-a-side youth soccer matches played on clay and artificial turf. J Strength Cond Res 26(1): 106–112, 2012—Using a randomized crossover design, this study aimed to compare the heart rate (HR) responses and match analysis parameters (i.e., type of action; the number of players involved in an action; the number of passes performed in a collective action; precision of the shots; lost balls; ball interceptions; dribblings; and tackles) of official 5-a-side youth male soccer matches played over 2 pitch surface (i.e., clay vs. artificial turf) conditions. Twenty-two young male soccer players (age 8.3 ± 0.4 years) engaged in 2 consecutive 15-minute periods in each experimental condition. During the match, 53% of HR responses exceeded 85% of the individual HRpeak. No difference emerged between both pitch surfaces and match periods for HR and match analysis indicators. The two 15-minute periods resulted in being appropriate for 8-year-old players, in resembling the intensity of play and the intermittent nature of adult soccer. The similar HR responses and technical-tactical patterns observed on the 2 surfaces indicate that youth match play is not affected by differences in pitch surface. To support the development of individual and team skills of young soccer players, coaches are advised to prioritize game knowledge based on divergent thinking and experience, rather than traditional teaching based on instructions.
1Department of Human Movement and Sports Science, University Foro Italico, Rome, Italy; and 2Department of Human Physiology and Sports Medicine, University of Vrije, Brussel, Belgium
Address correspondence to Dr. Antonio Tessitore, email@example.com.