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Esmie P. Smith, Andrew P. Hill and Howard K. Hall

Researchers have recently begun to examine the negative experiences of junior athletes within youth soccer academies. This is in part because youth soccer academies have the potential to be stressful. Boys can join development centers in soccer academies of professional clubs in the UK from 5 years

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Luke Wilkins, Jen Sweeney, Zoella Zaborski, Carl Nelson, Simon Tweddle, Eldre Beukes and Peter Allen

has received considerable research interest in the sports domain is that of elite soccer players. Studies have reported a number of disconcerting findings including, but not limited to: i) a prevalence rate for anxiety and depression of 26% for current professional soccer players and 39% for retired

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Rafael A.B. Tedesqui and Terry Orlick

The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the attentional focus experienced by elite soccer players in different soccer positions and performance tasks of both closed and open skills. No previous studies have explored elite soccer players’ attentional skills from a naturalistic and qualitative perspective in such detail. Data collection consisted of individual semistructured interviews with eight highly elite Brazilian soccer players from five main soccer positions, namely goalkeeper, defender, wing, midfielder, and forward. Important themes were positive thinking, performing on autopilot, and relying on peripheral vision. For example, thematic analysis indicated that in tasks where there may be an advantage in disguising one’s intentions (e.g., penalty kick), relying on peripheral vision was essential. Early mistakes were among the main sources of distractions; thus, players reported beginning with easy plays as a strategy to prevent distractions. Implications for applied sport psychology were drawn and future studies recommended.

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Youri Geurkink, Gilles Vandewiele, Maarten Lievens, Filip de Turck, Femke Ongenae, Stijn P.J. Matthys, Jan Boone and Jan G. Bourgois

Soccer training consists of structurally and systematically performed general and specific exercises to improve physical abilities and acquire skills. The adaptations imposed by a training stimulus take place on an anatomical, physiological, biochemical, molecular, and functional level. 1 The

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Saichon Kloyiam, Sarah Breen, Philip Jakeman, Joe Conway and Yeshayahu Hutzler

The purpose of this study was to describe running economy, soccer specific endurance, and selected kinematic running criteria in soccer players with cerebral palsy (SPCP) and to compare them with values of position-matched players without CP. Fourteen international, male soccer players with cerebral palsy completed the “Yo-Yo” intermittent recovery run level 1 (IRL-1) test to assess soccer-specific endurance and a submaximal running test on a treadmill to determine running economy. The mean IRL-1 distance covered by the SPCP of the Irish CP team was found to be 43–50% below the mean distance attained by position-matched soccer players without disability, while running economy was found to be within the range of that reported for able-bodied athletes. No relationship could be found between the level of CP-ISRA classification and soccer-specific endurance or running economy in this group of elite level SPCP. Though small in number, these data support a further examination of the relationship between CP classification and sport-specific performance.

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Göran Landahl, Peter Adolfsson, Mats Börjesson, Clas Mannheimer and Stig Rödjer

The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia among elite women soccer players. Hemoglobin, serum iron, serum total iron binding capacity, and ferritin were determined in 28 female soccer players called up for the national team. Of the investigated female soccer players, 57% had iron deficiency and 29% iron deficiency anemia 6 months before the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It is concluded that iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia is common in female soccer players at the top international level. Some might suffer from relative anemia and measurement of hemoglobin alone is not sufficient to reveal relative anemia. Regular monitoring of hemoglobin concentration and iron status is necessary to institute iron supplementation when indicated.

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Jamie Barker, Marc Jones and Iain Greenlees

This study evaluated the effects of hypnosis on self-efficacy and soccer performance. Fifty-nine collegiate soccer players were randomly allocated to either a hypnosis (n = 30) or video attention-control group (n = 29). A pretest–posttest design with an additional 4-week follow-up was used. Self-efficacy was measured via a task-specific questionnaire comprising 10 items relating to good performance on a soccer wall-volley task. The hypnotic intervention comprised three sessions using ego-strengthening suggestions. The control group watched edited videos of professional soccer games. Results indicated that, following the intervention, the hypnosis group were more efficacious and performed better than the control group. These differences were also seen at the 4-week follow-up stage. Although changes in self-efficacy were associated with changes in performance, the effect of hypnosis on performance was not mediated by changes in self-efficacy. The study demonstrates that hypnosis can be used to enhance and maintain self-efficacy and soccer wall-volley performance.

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Espen Tønnessen, Erlend Hem, Svein Leirstein, Thomas Haugen and Stephen Seiler

Purpose:

The purpose of this investigation was to quantify maximal aerobic power (VO2max) in soccer as a function of performance level, position, age, and time of season. In addition, the authors examined the evolution of VO2max among professional players over a 23-y period.

Methods:

1545 male soccer players (22 ± 4 y, 76 ± 8 kg, 181 ± 6 cm) were tested for VO2max at the Norwegian Olympic Training Center between 1989 and 2012.

Results:

No differences in VO2max were observed among national-team players, 1st- and 2nd-division players, and juniors. Midfielders had higher VO2max than defenders, forwards, and goalkeepers (P < .05). Players <18 y of age had ~3% higher VO2max than 23- to 26-y-old players (P = .016). The players had 1.6% and 2.1% lower VO2max during off-season than preseason (P = .046) and in season (P = .021), respectively. Relative to body mass, VO2max among the professional players in this study has not improved over time. Professional players tested during 2006–2012 actually had 3.2% lower VO2max than those tested from 2000 to 2006 (P = .001).

Conclusions:

This study provides effect-magnitude estimates for the influence of performance level, player position, age, and season time on VO2max in men’s elite soccer. The findings from a robust data set indicate that VO2max values ~62–64 mL · kg−1 · min−1 fulfill the demands for aerobic capacity in men’s professional soccer and that VO2max is not a clearly distinguishing variable separating players of different standards.

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Matthew D. Portas, Jamie A. Harley, Christopher A. Barnes and Christopher J. Rush

Purpose:

The study aimed to analyze the validity and reliability of commercially available nondifferential Global Positioning System (NdGPS) devices for measures of total distance during linear, multidirectional and soccer-specific motion at 1-Hz and 5-Hz sampling frequencies.

Methods:

Linear (32 trials), multidirectional (192 trials) and soccer-specific courses (40 trials) were created to test the validity (mean ± 90% confidence intervals), reliability (mean ± 90% confidence intervals) and bias (mean ± 90% confidence intervals) of the NdGPS devices against measured distance. Standard error of the estimate established validity, reliability was determined using typical error and percentage bias was established.

Results:

The 1-Hz and 5-Hz data ranged from 1.3% ± 0.76 to 3.1% ± 1.37 for validity and 2.03% ± 1.31 to 5.31% ± 1.2 for reliability for measures of linear and soccer-specific motion. For multidirectional activity, data ranged from 1.8% ± 0.8 to 6.88% ± 2.99 for validity and from 3.08% ± 1.34 to 7.71% ± 1.65 for reliability. The 1-Hz underestimated some complex courses by up to 11%.

Conclusions:

1-Hz and 5-Hz NdGPS could be used to quantify distance in soccer and similar field-based team sports. Both 1-Hz and 5-Hz have a threshold beyond which reliability is compromised. 1-Hz also underestimates distance and is less valid in more complex courses.

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Liam Anderson, Robert J. Naughton, Graeme L. Close, Rocco Di Michele, Ryland Morgans, Barry Drust and James P. Morton

The daily distribution of macronutrient intake can modulate aspects of training adaptations, performance and recovery. We therefore assessed the daily distribution of macronutrient intake (as assessed using food diaries supported by the remote food photographic method and 24-hr recalls) of professional soccer players (n = 6) of the English Premier League during a 7-day period consisting of two match days and five training days. On match days, average carbohydrate (CHO) content of the prematch (<1.5 g·kg-1 body mass) and postmatch (1 g·kg-1 body mass) meals (in recovery from an evening kick-off) were similar (p > .05) though such intakes were lower than contemporary guidelines considered optimal for prematch CHO intake and postmatch recovery. On training days, we observed a skewed and hierarchical approach (p < .05 for all comparisons) to protein feeding such that dinner (0.8 g·kg-1)>lunch (0.6 g·kg-1)>breakfast (0.3 g·kg-1)>evening snacks (0.1 g·kg-1). We conclude players may benefit from consuming greater amounts of CHO in both the prematch and postmatch meals so as to increase CHO availability and maximize rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis, respectively. Furthermore, attention should also be given to ensuring even daily distribution of protein intake so as to potentially promote components of training adaptation.