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The purpose of this study was to determine whether caffeinated gum influenced performance in a battery of soccer-specific tests used in the assessment of performance in soccer players. In a double-blind, randomized, crossover design, 10 male university-standard soccer players (age: 19 ± 1 years, stature: 1.80 ± 0.10 m, body mass: 75.5 ± 4.8 kg) masticated a caffeinated (200 mg; caffeine) or control (0 mg; placebo) gum on two separate occasions. After a standardized warm-up, gum was chewed for 5 min and subsequently expectorated 5 min before players performed a maximal countermovement jump, a 20-m sprint test, and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. Performance on 20-m sprints was not different between trials (caffeine: 3.2 ± 0.3 s, placebo: 3.1 ± 0.3 s; p = .567; small effect size: d = 0.33), but caffeine did allow players to cover 2.0% more distance during Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (caffeine: 1,754 ± 156 m, placebo: 1,719 ± 139 m; p = .016; small effect size: d = 0.24) and increase maximal countermovement jump height by 2.2% (caffeine: 47.1 ± 3.4 cm, placebo: 46.1 ± 3.2 cm; p = .008; small effect size: d = 0.30). Performance on selected physical tests (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 and countermovement jump) was improved by the chewing of caffeinated gum in the immediate period before testing in university-standard soccer players, but the sizes of such effects were small. Such findings may have implications for the recommendations made to soccer players about to engage with subsequent exercise performance.
Ranchordas, King, and Russell are with the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom. Lynn is with Food Group, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom. Russell is with the School of Social and Health Sciences, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, United Kingdom.