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Repeated Sprint and Change-of-Direction Abilities in Soccer Players: Effects of Age Group

Dellal, Alexandre1,2; Wong, Del P.3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 9 - p 2504–2508
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31827f540c
Original Research

Abstract: Dellal, A and Wong, DP. Repeated sprint and change-of-direction abilities in soccer players: effects of age group. J Strength Cond Res 27(9): 2504–2508, 2013—The purpose of the present study was to compare the performance in repeated sprint ability (RSA) and repeated changes-of-direction (RCOD) among elite soccer players with different age categories. Forty-nine elite soccer players from the same club and from different age categories (Pro2: n = 8, U19: n = 18, U17: n = 13, and U15: n = 10) participated in this study. Each player was tested in both a RSA straight-line sprints (10 × 20 m with active recovery) and a RCOD test including four 100° COD at every 4 m (10 × 20 m with active recovery). The average time (AT), fastest time (FT), total time (TT), percentage of decrement score (%Dec), and RSA/RCOD index were recorded and calculated during all the RSA and RCOD tests. Results showed significant age group effects on RSA and RCOD parameters (p < 0.01) and RSA/RCOD index parameters (p < 0.01). Compared with other groups, U15 has significant (p < 0.05) higher values in RSA-AT, RSA-FT, RSA-TT, RCOD-AT, RCOD-FT, RCOD-TT, index-AT, index-FT, and index-TT. However, the trend of performance time and RSA/RCOD index was always similar (i.e., U15 > U17 > U19 > Pro2; Pro2 > U19 > U17 > U15) showing an age dependant for RSA and RCOD performance. The %Dec in RSA of U15 and U17 was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than U19 and Pro2, whereas the %Dec in RCOD of U15 was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than U19. In conclusion, the present study showed that the RSA and RCOD are age dependent, and therefore, coaches should plan a specific program differentiating the RSA and RCOD, while the individualized training could begin in U17.

1Medical Excellence Center FIFA, Santy Orthopedicae Clinical, Sport Science and Research Department, Lyon, France

2Tunisian Research Laboratory “Sport Performance Optimization” Department-National Center of Medicine and Science in Sport (CNMSS) - El Menzah, Tunisia

3Department Human Performance Laboratory, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Address correspondence to Dr. Dellal Alexandre, alexandredellal@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.