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Context: High doses of ∼6 mg·kg−1 body mass have improved performance during intermittent running, jumping, and agility protocols. However, there are sparse data on low doses of caffeine, especially in elite adolescent soccer players. Methods: A total of 15 elite youth soccer players (177.3 [4.8] cm, 66.9 [7.9] kg, and 16  y) participated in the study, consuming 1, 2, or 3 mg·kg−1 caffeine in a gelatin capsule or a 2-mg·kg−1 placebo in a single-blind, randomized, crossover study design. Testing consisted of a 20-m sprint, arrowhead agility (change of direction [CoD] right or left), countermovement jump (CMJ), and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1). Postexercise CMJ performance was assessed as participants exited the Yo-Yo IR1. Data were analyzed using a Bayesian multilevel regression model to provide explained variance and probabilities of improvement (P = %). Results: Compared with placebo, 3 mg·kg−1 caffeine presented the highest probabilities of change across a range of tests (mean [SD], P = %). Times for 20-m sprint were 3.15 (0.10) s vs 3.18 (0.09) s (P = 73%), CoD-right times were 8.43 (0.24) s vs 8.55 (0.25) s (P = 99%), CoD-left times were 8.44 (0.22) s vs 8.52 (0.18) s (P = 85%), Yo-Yo IR1 distance was 2440 (531) m vs 2308 (540) m (P = 15%), and preexercise CMJ height was 41.6 (7.2) cm vs 38 (8.5) cm (P = 96%). Postexercise CMJ was higher with 3 mg·kg−1 than with placebo (42.3  cm vs 36.6  cm; P = 100%). Doses of 1 or 2 mg·kg−1 caffeine also demonstrated the ability to enhance performance but were task dependent. Conclusion: Low doses of caffeine improve performance but are dose and task dependent. A dose of 3 mg·kg−1 caffeine improved performance across the majority of tests with potential to further improve postexercise CMJ height.
Ellis and Myers are with Newman University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Noon and Clarke are with Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom.