Shuttle Running Within a Small-Sided Game: Effects on Internal and External Workloads, in Young Elite Soccer Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Marco PanascìDepartment of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze Motorie, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

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Vittoria FerrandoDepartment of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze Motorie, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9647-9276*
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Ambra BisioDepartment of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze Motorie, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

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Luca FilipasDepartment of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
Department of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases, IRCCS MultiMedica, Milan, Italy

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Piero RuggeriDepartment of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze Motorie, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

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Emanuela FaelliDepartment of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze Motorie, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

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Purpose: To compare the effects of 2 small-sided games (SSGs), shuttle running within the bout (SSG-S) versus possession play only (SSG-P) on acute physiological and metabolic responses, perception of effort, and performance. Methods: Ten young elite male soccer players (age 18.6 [1.9] y) performed two 5vs5 SSG formats (SSG-S and SSG-P) consisting of 4 × 4 minutes with 1 minute of passive recovery between bouts, 2 times each, once a week, and in a randomized order. Heart rate, blood lactate concentration, and rating of perceived exertion were assessed as indices of internal workload. Total and relative distances, distance at moderate and high speed, distances traveled in accelerations (≥2 m·s−2) and decelerations (≤−2 m·s−2; DDEC), and average metabolic power were chosen as indices of external workload and collected with a 10-Hz portable global positioning system device. Results: Total distance, distances traveled in acceleration, distances traveled in deceleration, average metabolic power (always P < .01 and g > 1.62—large effect), and distance at moderate speed (P = .03 and g = 0.84—large effect) were significantly higher in SSG-S than in SSG-P. Moreover, the SSG-S showed higher blood lactate concentration (P = .0001, g = 12.58—large effect) and rating of perceived exertion (P = .03, g = 1.14—large effect) values than SSG-P. No significant differences in peak heart rate, relative distance, and distance at high speed were found. Conclusions: Our study showed, in young competitive male soccer players, the effectiveness of an SSG format that includes shuttle running within each bout in the development of more relevant internal and external workloads. These experimental data should encourage coaches to use this new SSG regimen within the traditional weekly training program.

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