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Martin Buchheit, Ben M. Simpson, Esa Peltola and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

The aim of the present study was to locate the fastest 10-m split time (Splitbest) over a 40-m sprint in relation to age and maximal sprint speed in highly trained young soccer players. Analyses were performed on 967 independent player sprints collected in 223 highly trained young football players (Under 12 to Under 18). The maximal sprint speed was defined as the average running speed during Splitbest. The distribution of the distance associated with Splitbest was affected by age (X 2 3 = 158.7, P < .001), with the older the players, the greater the proportion of 30-to-40-m Splitbest. There was, however, no between-group difference when data were adjusted for maximal sprint speed. Maximal sprint speed is the main determinant of the distance associated with Splitbest. Given the important disparity in Splitbest location within each age group, three (U12-U13) to two (U14-U18) 10-m intervals are still required to guarantee an accurate evaluation of maximal sprint speed in young players when using timing gates.

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Thomas A. Haugen, Espen Tønnessen, Jonny Hisdal and Stephen Seiler

The overall objective of this review was to investigate the role and development of sprinting speed in soccer. Time–motion analyses show that short sprints occur frequently during soccer games. Straight sprinting is the most frequent action before goals, both for the scoring and assisting player. Straight-line sprinting velocity (both acceleration and maximal sprinting speed), certain agility skills, and repeated-sprint ability are shown to distinguish groups from different performance levels. Professional players have become faster over time, indicating that sprinting skills are becoming more and more important in modern soccer. In research literature, the majority of soccer-related training interventions have provided positive effects on sprinting capabilities, leading to the assumption that all kinds of training can be performed with success. However, most successful intervention studies are time consuming and challenging to incorporate into the overall soccer training program. Even though the principle of specificity is clearly present, several questions remain regarding the optimal training methods within the larger context of the team-sport setting. Considering time-efficiency effects, soccer players may benefit more by performing sprint-training regimens similar to the progression model used in strength training and by world-leading athletics practitioners, compared with the majority of guidelines that traditionally have been presented in research literature.

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Robert W. Meyers, Jonathan L. Oliver, Michael G. Hughes, John B. Cronin and Rhodri S. Lloyd

The purpose of this study was to examine the natural development of the mechanical features of sprint performance in relation to maturation within a large cohort of boys. Three hundred and thirty-six boys (11-15 years) were analyzed for sprint performance and maturation. Maximal speed, stride length (SL), stride frequency (SF), flight time (FT) and contact time (CT) were assessed during a 30m sprint. Five maturation groups (G1-5) were established based on age from peak height velocity (PHV) where G1=>2.5years pre-PHV, G2 = 2.49-1.5years pre-PHV, G3 = 1.49-0.5years pre-PHV, G4 = 0.49years pre- to 0.5years post-PHV and G5 = 0.51-1.5years post-PHV. There was no difference in maximal speed between G1, G2 and G3 but those in G4 and G5 were significantly faster (p < .05) than G1-3. Significant increases (p < .05) in SL were observed between groups with advancing maturation, except G4 and G5 (p > .05). SF decreased while CT increased (both p < .05) between G1, G2 and G3, but no further significant changes (p > .05) were observed for either variable between G3, G4 and G5. While G1-3 increased their SL, concomitant decreases in SF and increases in CT prevented them from improving maximal speed. Maximal sprint speed appears to develop around and post-PHV as SF and CT begin to stabilize, with increases in maximal sprint speed in maturing boys being underpinned by increasing SL.

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Peter A. van de Hoef, Jur J. Brauers, Maarten van Smeden, Frank J.G. Backx and Michel S. Brink

increased joint stiffness, improved muscle strength, increased contraction speed, and improved dynamic stability and neuromuscular control. 5 – 7 Consequently, these exercises might increase jump height, sprint speed, agility, and endurance. 8 Several studies have focused on effects of plyometric training

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Jorg Teichmann, Edin K. Suwarganda, C. Martyn Beaven, Kim Hébert-Losier, Jin Wei Lee, Florencio Tenllado Vallejo, Philip Chun Foong Lew, Ramlan Abdul Aziz, Yeo Wee Kian and Dietmar Schmidtbleicher

performance measures in elite female field hockey athletes when compared with an analogous training program without specific sensorimotor training. Specifically, the 6 sessions of the UDP were responsible for enhancements in 5-m, 10-m, and 20-m running sprint speed and concentric-only jump performance. The

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Christopher Thomas, Paul Comfort, Paul A. Jones and Thomas Dos’Santos

Purpose:

To investigate the relationships between maximal isometric strength, vertical jump (VJ), sprint speed, and change-of-direction speed (CoDS) in academy netball players and determine whether players who have high performance in isometric strength testing would demonstrate superior performance in VJ, sprint speed, and CoDS measures.

Method:

Twenty-six young female netball players (age 16.1 ± 1.2 y, height 173.9 ± 5.7 cm, body mass 66.0 ± 7.2 kg) from a regional netball academy performed isometric midthigh pull (IMTP), squat jumps (SJs), countermovement jumps (CMJs), 10-m sprints, and CoDS (505).

Results:

IMTP measures displayed moderate to strong correlations with sprint and CoDS performance (r = –.41 to –.66). The VJs, which included SJs and CMJs, demonstrated strong correlations with 10-m sprint times (r = –.60 to –.65; P < .01) and CoDS (r = –.60 to –.71; P = .01). Stronger players displayed significantly faster sprint (ES = 1.1–1.2) and CoDS times (ES = 1.2–1.7) and greater VJ height (ES = 0.9–1.0) than weaker players.

Conclusion:

The results of this study illustrate the importance of developing high levels of lower-body strength to enhance VJ, sprint, and CoDS performance in youth netball players, with stronger athletes demonstrating superior VJ, sprint, and CoDS performances.

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Robert W. Meyers, Jon L. Oliver, Michael G. Hughes, Rhodri S. Lloyd and John Cronin

The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability of the spatiotemporal determinants of maximal sprinting speed in boys over single and multiple steps. Fifty-four adolescent boys (age = 14.1 ± 0.7 years [range = 12.9–15.7 years]; height = 1.63 ± 0.09 m; body mass = 55.3 ± 13.3 kg; -0.31 ± 0.90 age from Peak Height Velocity (PHV) in years; mean ± s) volunteered to complete a 30 m sprint test on 3 occasions over a 2-week period. Speed, step length, step frequency, contact time, and flight time were assessed via an optical measurement system. Speed and step characteristics were obtained from the single-fastest step and average of the 2 and 4 fastest consecutive steps. Pairwise comparison of consecutive trials revealed the coefficient of variation (CV) for speed was greater in 4-step (CV = 7.3 & 7.5%) compared with 2-step (CV = 4.2 & 4.1%) and 1-step (CV = 4.8 & 4.6%) analysis. The CV of step length, step frequency and contact time ranged from 4.8 to 7.5% for 1-step, 3.8–5.0% for 2-step and 4.2–7.5% for 4-step analyses across all trials. An acceptable degree of reliability was achieved for the spatiotemporal and performance variables assessed in this study. Two-step analysis demonstrated the highest degree of reliability for the key spatiotemporal variables, and therefore may be the most suitable approach to monitor the spatiotemporal characteristics of maximal sprint speed in boys.

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Hani Al Haddad, Ben M. Simpson, Martin Buchheit, Valter Di Salvo and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

This study assessed the relationship between peak match speed (PMS) and maximal sprinting speed (MSS) in regard to age and playing positions. MSS and absolute PMS (PMSAbs) were collected from 180 male youth soccer players (U13–U17, 15.0 ± 1.2 y, 161.5 ± 9.2 cm, and 48.3 ± 8.7 kg). The fastest 10-m split over a 40-m sprint was used to determine MSS. PMSAbs was recorded using a global positioning system and was also expressed as a percentage of MSS (PMSRel). Sprint data were compared between age groups and between playing positions. Results showed that regardless of age and playing positions, faster players were likely to reach higher PMSAbs and possibly lower PMSRel. Despite a lower PMSAbs than in older groups (eg, 23.4 ± 1.8 vs 26.8 ± 1.9 km/h for U13 and U17, respectively, ES = 1.9 90%, confidence limits [1.6;2.1]), younger players reached a greater PMSRel (92.0% ± 6.3% vs. 87.2% ± 5.7% for U13 and U17, respectively, ES = –0.8 90% CL [–1.0;–0.5]). Playing position also affected PMSAbs and PMSRel, as strikers were likely to reach higher PMSAbs (eg, 27.0 ± 2.7 vs 23.6 ± 2.2 km/h for strikers and central midfielders, respectively, ES = 2.0 [1.7;2.2]) and PMSRel (eg, 93.6% ± 5.2% vs 85.3% ± 6.5% for strikers and central midfielders, respectively, ES = 1.0 [0.7;1.3]) than all other positions. The findings confirm that age and playing position affect the absolute and relative intensity of speed-related actions during matches.

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Darrell L. Bonetti, Will G. Hopkins and Andrew E. Kilding

Context:

Live-high train-low altitude training produces worthwhile gains in performance for endurance athletes, but the benefits of adaptation to various forms of artificial altitude are less clear.

Purpose:

To quantify the effects of intermittent hypoxic exposure on kayak performance.

Methods:

In a crossover design with a 6-week washout, we randomized 10 subelite male sprint kayak paddlers to hypoxia or control groups for 3 weeks (5 days/week) of intermittent hypoxic exposure using a nitrogen-filtration device. Each day's exposure consisted of alternately breathing hypoxic and ambient air for 5 minutes each over 1 hour. Performance tests were an incremental step test to estimate peak power, maximal oxygen uptake, exercise economy, and lactate threshold; a 500-m time trial; and 5 × 100-m sprints. All tests were performed on a wind-braked kayak ergometer 7 and 3 days pretreatment and 3 and 10 days post treatment. Hemoglobin concentration was measured at 1 day pretreatment, 5 and 10 days during treatment, and 3 days after treatment.

Results:

Relative to control, at 3 days post treatment the hypoxia group showed the following increases: peak power 6.8% (90% confidence limits, ± 5.2%), mean repeat sprint power 8.3% (± 6.7%), and hemoglobin concentration 3.6% (± 3.2%). Changes in lactate threshold, mean 500-m power, maximal oxygen uptake, and exercise economy were unclear. Large effects for peak power and mean sprint speed were still present 10 days posthypoxia.

Conclusion:

These effects of intermittent hypoxic exposure should enhance performance in kayak racing. The effects might be mediated via changes in oxygen transport.

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Pål Haugnes, Per-Øyvind Torvik, Gertjan Ettema, Jan Kocbach and Øyvind Sandbakk

), fractional utilization of VO 2 max, and skiing efficiency/economy are well recognized determinants of sprint XC skiing, 1 – 3 the ability to generate a high finish sprint speed is of additional importance for the race outcome. 4 The finish sprint speed is determined by the combination of having a high