Ingesting a 12% Carbohydrate-Electrolyte Beverage Before Each Half of a Soccer Match Simulation Facilitates Retention of Passing Performance and Improves High-Intensity Running Capacity in Academy Players

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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This study investigated the influence of ingesting a 12% carbohydrate plus electrolyte (CHO-E) solution providing 60 g of carbohydrate before each half of a 90-min soccer match simulation (SMS) protocol on skill performance, sprint speed, and high-intensity running capacity. Eighteen elite academy (age: 18 ± 2 years) soccer players ingested two 250-ml doses (pre-exercise and at halftime) of a 12% CHO-E solution or electrolyte placebo administered in a double-blind randomized cross-over design. During an indoor (artificial grass pitch) SMS, dribbling, passing, and sprint performance were assessed, and blood was drawn for glucose and lactate analysis. High-intensity running capacity was assessed following the SMS. Dribbling speed/accuracy and sprint speed remained unchanged throughout the SMS. Conversely, passing accuracy for both dominant (mean percentage difference [95% confidence interval, CI]: 9 [3, 15]) and nondominant (mean percentage difference [95% CI]: 13 [6, 20]) feet was better maintained during the SMS on CHO-E (p < .05), with passing speed better maintained in the nondominant foot (mean percentage difference [95% CI]: 5.3 [0.7, 9.9], p = .032). High-intensity running capacity was greater in CHO-E versus placebo (mean percentage difference [95% CI]: 13 [6, 20], p = .010). Capillary blood glucose concentration was higher in CHO-E than placebo at halftime (CHO-E: 5.8 ± 0.5 mM vs. placebo: 4.1 ± 0.4 mM, p = .001) and following the high-intensity running capacity test (CHO-E: 4.9 ± 0.4 mM vs. placebo: 4.3 ± 0.4 mM, p = .001). Ingesting a 12% CHO-E solution before each half of a match can aid in the maintenance of soccer-specific skill performance, particularly on the nondominant foot, and improves subsequent high-intensity running capacity.

Rodriguez-Giustiniani, Witard, and Galloway are with the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom. Rollo is with Gatorade Sports Science Institute, PepsiCo Global Nutrition R&D, Leicester, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Stuart D. R. Galloway at s.d.r.galloway@stir.ac.uk.
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