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Effects of an In-season Plyometric Training Program on Repeated Change of Direction and Sprint Performance in the Junior Soccer Player

Hammami, Mehréz1; Negra, Yassine1; Aouadi, Ridha1,2; Shephard, Roy J.3; Chelly, Mohamed Souhaiel1,4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 12 - p 3312–3320
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001470
Original Research

Hammami, M, Negra, Y, Aouadi, R, Shephard, RJ, and Chelly, MS. Effects of an in-season plyometric training program on repeated change of direction and sprint performance in the junior soccer player. J Strength Cond Res 30(12): 3312–3320, 2016—We aimed to determine the gains in explosive movements of male junior soccer players induced by incorporating an 8-week plyometric training program (PTP) into a standard soccer conditioning regimen 5 months after the beginning of the competitive season. Our hypothesis was that PTP would enhance explosive movements, and thus sprint running, repeated shuttle sprint ability (RSSA), agility and the ability to make repeated changes of direction (RCOD). A group of junior soccer players were randomly divided into 2 groups: an experimental group (E, n = 15, age 15.7 ± 0.2 years) and a control group (C, n = 13, age 15.8 ± 0.2 years). The participants in E and C performed training exercises and matches together, but for an 8-week period in the latter part of the season, the experimental group replaced a part of the normal regimen (the tactical session) by a biweekly course of PTP (hurdle and drop jumps). Two familiarization sessions were held 2 weeks before definitive testing. The ability of the players was assessed by 3 agility tests (a sprint test with 180° turns, a 9-3-6-3-9 m sprint with backward and forward running, and a four 5-m sprint test with turns); 2 repeated sprint tests (RSSA and RCOD); and running times over 5-, 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-m distances. Participants in E showed gains relative to C in sprint times (p ≤ 0.05 for 5, 10, and 20 m), and 2 of 3 the RCOD parameters (RCOD best, p ≤ 0.001; RCOD total, p ≤ 0.05). However, with the pattern of plyometric training that we adopted, and perhaps because participants were in good initial physical condition, the agility and RSSA test scores remained unchanged. Nevertheless, we conclude that our PTP can be commended to junior soccer players as a means of improving important components of their physical performance.

1Research Unit “Sport Performance & Health,” Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Saîd;

2Northern Border University, College of Sciences, Turaif, Saudi Arabia;

3Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; and

4Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Said, University of “La Manouba,” Tunis, Tunisia

Address correspondence to Dr. Mohamed Souhaiel Chelly,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.