The purpose of this study was to determine young (16.9+/-0.5 yr) soccer players' repeated sprint ability (RSA) at different game stages. Players performed repeated sprint test (RST) (12X20 m) after warm-up prior to a game, at half-time and after a full soccer game, each on a different day, in random order. Ideal (fastest) sprint time (IS) and total (accumulative) sprint time (TS) were significantly slower at the end of the game compared to after the warm-up prior to the game (p<0.01 for each). Differences between IS and TS after the warm-up prior to the game and at half-time, and between half-time and end of the game, were not statistically significant. There was no significant difference in the performance decrement (PD) during the RST after warm-up prior to the game, at half-time, or the end of the game. Significant negative correlation was found between predicted VO2 and the difference between TS after the warm-up prior to the game and the end of the game (r=-0.52), but not between predicted VO2 and the difference in any of the RST performance indices between warm-up prior to the game and half-time, or between half-time and the end of the game. The findings indicate a significant RSA reduction only at the end but not at the half time of a soccer game. The results also suggest that the contribution of the aerobic system to soccer intensity maintenance is crucial, mainly during the final stages of the game.
Copyright (C) 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.