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Physiological, Perceptual and Performance Responses Associated With Self-Selected Versus Standardized Recovery Periods During a Repeated Sprint Protocol in Elite Youth Football Players: A Preliminary Study

Neil Gibson, Callum Brownstein, Derek Ball, and Craig Twist


To examine the physiological and perceptual responses of youth footballers to a repeated sprint protocol employing standardized and self-selected recovery.


Eleven male participants (13.7 ± 1.1 years) performed a repeated sprint assessment comprising 10 × 30 m efforts. Employing a randomized cross-over design, repeated sprints were performed using 30 s and self-selected recovery periods. Heart rate was monitored continuously with ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and lower body muscle power measured 2 min after the final sprint. The concentration of blood lactate was measured at 2, 5 and 7 min post sprinting. Magnitude of effects were reported using effect size (ES) statistics ± 90% confidence interval and percentage differences. Differences between trials were examined using paired student t tests (p < .05).


Self-selected recovery resulted in most likely shorter recovery times (57.7%; ES 1.55 ± 0.5; p < .01), a most likely increase in percentage decrement (65%; ES 0.36 ± 0.21; p = .12), very likely lower heart rate recovery (-58.9%; ES -1.10 ± 0.72; p = .05), and likely higher blood lactate concentration (p = .08–0.02). Differences in lower body power and RPE were unclear (p > .05).


Self-selected recovery periods compromise repeated sprint performance.

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The Effect of Sodium Acetate Ingestion on the Metabolic Response to Prolonged Moderate-Intensity Exercise in Humans

Gordon I. Smith, Asker E. Jeukendrup, and Derek Ball

At rest, administration of the short-chain fatty acid acetate suppresses fat oxidation without affecting carbohydrate utilization. The combined effect of increased acetate availability and exercise on substrate utilization is, however, unclear. With local ethics approval, we studied the effect of ingesting either sodium acetate (NaAc) or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) at a dose of 4 mmol·kg-1 body mass 90 min before completing 120 min of exercise at 50% VO2peak. Six healthy young men completed the trials after an overnight fast and ingested the sodium salts in randomized order. As expected NaAc ingestion decreased resting fat oxidation (mean ± SD; 0.09 ± 0.02 vs. 0.07 ± 0.02 g·min-1 pre- and post-ingestion respectively, p < .05) with no effect upon carbohydrate utilization. In contrast, NaHCO3 ingestion had no effect on substrate utilization at rest. In response to exercise, fat and CHO oxidation increased in both trials, but fat oxidation was lower (0.16 ± 0.10 vs. 0.29 ± 0.11 g·min-1, p < .05) and carbohydrate oxidation higher (1.67 ± 0.35 vs. 1.44 ± 0.22 g·min-1, p < .05) in the NaAc trial compared with the NaHCO3 trial during the first 15 min of exercise. Over the final 75 min of exercise an increase in fat oxidation and decrease in carbohydrate oxidation was observed only in the NaAc trial. These results demonstrate that increasing plasma acetate concentration suppresses fat oxidation both at rest and at the onset of moderate-intensity exercise.

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The Effect of Maturation on Performance During Repeated Sprints With Self-Selected Versus Standardized Recovery Intervals in Youth Footballers

Callum G. Brownstein, Derek Ball, Dominic Micklewright, and Neil V. Gibson

Purpose: The purpose of this experiment was to assess performance during repeated sprints utilizing self-selected recovery intervals in youth football (soccer) players at different stages of maturation. Methods: Quota sampling method was used to recruit 14 prepeak height velocity (PHV) and 14 post-PHV participants for the study (N = 28; age = 13 [0.9] y, stature = 162.5 [10.8] cm, mass = 50.2 [12.7] kg). Players performed repeated sprints comprising 10 × 30 m efforts under 2 experimental conditions: using 30-second and self-selected recovery intervals. Magnitude of effects for within- and between-group differences were reported using effect size (ES) statistics ± 90% confidence intervals and percentage differences. Results: The decline in sprint performance was likely lower in the pre-PHV compared with the post-PHV group during the standardized recovery trial (between-group difference = 37%; ES = 0.41 ± 0.51), and likely lower in the post-PHV group during the self-selected recovery trial (between-group difference = 50%; ES = 0.45 ± 0.54). Mean recovery duration was likely shorter in the pre-PHV compared with the post-PHV group during the self-selected recovery trial (between-group difference = 26.1%; ES = 0.47 ± 0.45). Conclusion: This is the first study to show that during repeated sprints with self-selected recovery, pre-PHV children have an impaired ability to accurately interpret physical capabilities in the context of the task compared with post-PHV adolescents.