Training Status and Match Activity of Professional Soccer Players Throughout a Season

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Silva, JR, Magalhães, J, Ascensão, A, Seabra, AF, and Rebelo, AN. Training status and match activity of professional soccer players throughout a season. J Strength Cond Res 27(1): 20–30, 2013—The purpose of this study was to examine match activity (MA) and fatigue development (FD) during official soccer games in different moments of a season and the influence of training status (TS) on MA and FD. Match activity of 13 professional players was examined by time-motion analysis at 4 time points of a competitive season. In addition, per time point within the 2-week period between the 2 games video-filmed, players performed the following physical tests: countermovement jump, 5- and 30-m sprints, change of direction, knee extensor and flexor isokinetic strength, and Yo-Yo intermittent endurance test-level 2. The players covered a greater high-intensity distance running (HI; p < 0.05) in the last quarter of the season (E4) than in the second (E2) and the third (E3) quarters. Within each assessment period, a greater distance was covered in HI during the peak 5-minute period of the match (P5-min) than in the 5-minute period after P5-min (Next5-min) and the remaining 5-minute periods (Av5-min; p < 0.05) of the match. Also, P5-min was higher in E4 than in the beginning of the season (E1, E2, and E3; p < 0.05). The physical fitness variables, composites scores of power-related and isokinetic strength tests were correlated (r ranging between 0.59 and 0.73, p < 0.05) with game physical parameters (GPPs) analyzed by time motion. Soccer players were found to cover more HI during the game and in the P5-min toward end of season. The players with greater muscle strength and power expressed lower performance decrements in the GPPs. In conclusion, the results highlight the relevance of players' neuromuscular function on game physical performance.

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