Effects of Plyometric and Directional Training on Speed and Jump Performance in Elite Youth Soccer Players
Beato, M, Bianchi, M, Coratella, G, Merlini, M, and Drust, B. Effects of plyometric and directional training on speed and jump performance in elite youth soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 32(2): 289–296, 2018—Soccer players perform approximately 1,350 activities (every 4–6 seconds), such as accelerations/decelerations and changes of direction (CODs) during matches. It is well established that COD and plyometric training have a positive impact on fitness parameters in football players. This study analyzed the effect of a complex COD and plyometric protocol (CODJ-G) compared with an isolated COD protocol (COD-G) training on elite football players. A randomized pre-post parallel group trial was used in this study. Twenty-one youth players were enrolled in this study (mean ± SD; age 17 ± 0.8 years, mass 70.1 ± 6.4 kg, and height 177.4 ± 6.2 cm). Players were randomized into 2 different groups: CODJ-G (n = 11) and COD-G (n = 10), training frequency of 2 times a week more than 6 weeks. Sprint 10, 30, and 40 m, long jump, triple hop jump, and 505 COD test were considered. Exercise-induced within-group changes in performance for both CODJ-G and COD-G: long jump (effect size [ES] = 0.32 and ES = 0.26, respectively) and sprint 10 m (ES = −0.51 and ES = −0.22, respectively), after 6 weeks of training. Moreover, CODJ-G reported substantially better results (between-group changes) in long jump test (ES = 0.32). In conclusion, this study showed that short-term protocols (CODJ-G and COD-G) are important and able to give meaningful improvements on power and speed parameters in a specific soccer population. CODJ-G showed a larger effect in sprint and jump parameters compared with COD-G after the training protocol. This study offers important implications for designing COD and jumps training in elite soccer.