Variation in Physical Performance of Futsal Players During Congested Fixtures

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To investigate the match-to-match variation of physical performance during official congested fixtures in elite futsal players. Methods: Physical performance was measured by external and internal load metrics in 12 elite male futsal players. Two periods with 3 matches within 4 days were analyzed. The variation in physical performance of the players during matches was analyzed using the latent growth curve modeling that estimated interindividual and intraindividual growth paths. Results: Playing time had a significant effect on physical performance growth with significant paths of interindividual and intraindividual variability. Players who competed for more time revealed lower initial levels (ie, first match) of total distance covered (β = −0.62), high-speed running (β = −0.18), accelerations (β = −0.31), decelerations (β = −0.44), and session rate of perceived exertion (β = 0.81) than players who competed for less time (P < .05). In addition, players who competed for more time revealed higher increases in total distance covered (β = 0.47), high-speed running (β = 0.16), and session rate of perceived exertion (β = 0.66) and lower increases in accelerations (β = −0.21) and decelerations (β = −0.58) than players who competed for less time from the first to the third match (P < .05). Conclusions: Congested fixtures did not affect physical performance in elite futsal players. Playing time showed to be a key performance factor. There was a considerable heterogeneity in the responsiveness to physical performance over congested fixtures, suggesting an analysis of individual variability to evaluate real changes in match performance, training intensity, and workload.

Ribeiro and Travassos are with the Dept of Sport Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal. Ribeiro, Monteiro, Sampaio, and Travassos are with the Research Center in Sport Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESD, CreativeLab Research Community, Vila Real, Portugal. Monteiro is also with the ESECS, Polytechnic of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal. Gonçalves is with the Departamento de Desporto e Saúde, Escola de Saúde e Desenvolvimento Humano, Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal, and the Comprehensive Health Research Center (CHRC), Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal. Gonçalves, Brito, and Travassos are with the Portugal Football School, Portuguese Football Federation, Oeiras, Portugal.

Ribeiro (joaonunorib@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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