Ecological validity and reliability of an age-adapted endurance field test in young male soccer players

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability and the association with relevant match activities (ecological validity) of an age-adapted field test for intermittent high-intensity endurance known as Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 1 children test (YYIR1C) in young male soccer players. Twenty-eight young male outfield soccer players (age 11.1±0.9 years, height 142±4.4 cm, body mass 37.0±5.9 kg) with at least 2 years of experience in soccer competitions were tested twice using YYIR1C and an age-adapted competitive small-sided game (i.e., 9v9), 7 days apart in a random order. The YYIR1C performance showed an excellent relative (ICC=0.94) and a good absolute reliability (TEM as %CV=5.1%). Very large and significant associations were found between YYIR1C performance and match high-intensity activity (r2=0.53). Large correlations were found between YYIR1C and match sprinting (r2=0.42) and high-intensity metabolic power (r2=0.46) distances. Match total distance was largely associated with YYIR1C (r2=0.30). The results of this study showed that YYIR1C may be considered a valid and reliable field test for assessing intermittent high-intensity endurance in young male soccer players. Due to the relevance of aerobic fitness in youth soccer, future studies testing the sensitiveness of YYIR1C are necessary.

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