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

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 Heart of Midlothian Football Club
  • 2 Northumbria University
  • 3 Heriot-Watt University
  • 4 University of Aberdeen
  • 5 University of Essex
  • 6 Oriam: Scotland's Sports Performance Centre
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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.

Brownstein is with Heart of Midlothian Football Club, Edinburgh, United Kingdom; the School of Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; and Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Ball is with the Institute of Education for Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom. Micklewright is with the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom. Gibson is with Oriam: Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Brownstein (callum.brownstein@northumbria.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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