Latest research in football - week 11 - 2020

As previous literature updates, I have performed a PubCrawler search looking for football articles in NCBI Medline (PubMed) and GenBank databases.

Following studies were retrieved for this week:

#1 Effects of Warming Up With Lower-Body Wearable Resistance on Physical Performance Measures in Soccer Players Over an 8-Week Training Cycle
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Mar 4. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003498. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Bustos A, Metral G, Cronin J, Uthoff A, Dolcetti J
Summary: Warm-ups provide an opportune time to integrate specific movements to improve performance. This study aimed to examine the effects of adding wearable resistance (WR) lower-limb loading to a warm-up on physical performance measures in soccer athletes. Thirty-one national-level soccer players (aged 16-18 years) were matched for speed and allocated to either a WR training (WRT = 15) or an unloaded (CON = 16) group. Both groups performed the same warm-up 2-3x·wk for 8 weeks with the WRT group wearing 200- to 600-g loads on their calves. Pre-training, mid-training, and post-training data were collected for 10- and 20-m sprint times, repeated sprint ability, and vertical countermovement jump (CMJ) and horizontal countermovement jump (standing long jump [SLJ]) performance. Wearable resistance training improved pre-training to post-training 10- and 20-m sprint times more than the unloaded training (effect size [ES] = -1.06 to -0.96, respectively; 60.0-66.7 vs. 18.8-37.5% > smallest worthwhile change [SWC]). Both groups decreased CMJ over the first 4 weeks (ES ≥ 0.45) and increased CMJ performance over the second 4 weeks of training (ES ≥ 0.27). Both the WRT and CON groups improved SLJ performance after the 8-week training block (ES = 0.85 and 0.93, respectively; 86.7 and 62.5% > SWC, respectively), yet no differences were identified between groups. These findings indicate that 8 weeks (23 sessions) of WR training appears to elicit practically meaningful improvements in accelerated sprinting and horizontal jumping performance. Strength and conditioning practitioners should consider including WR in sports where sprinting and horizontal force production are critical performance indicators.

#2 Magnitude or Direction? Seasonal Variation of Interlimb Asymmetry in Elite Academy Soccer Players
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Mar 4. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003565. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Bishop C, Read P, Chavda S, Jarvis P, Brazier J, Bromley T, Turner A
Summary: Previous research has highlighted a distinct lack of longitudinal data for asymmetry. The aims of this study were to provide seasonal variation data for the magnitude and direction of asymmetry. Eighteen elite male academy soccer players (under-23) performed unilateral countermovement jumps (CMJs) and unilateral drop jumps (DJs) during pre-season, mid-season, and end of season time points. Recorded metrics for asymmetry included jump height and concentric impulse for the CMJ, and jump height and reactive strength index for the DJ. The magnitude of asymmetry showed trivial to small changes throughout the season (CMJ effect size [ES] range = -0.43 to 0.05; DJ ES range = -0.18 to 0.41). However, Kappa coefficients showed poor to substantial levels of agreement for the direction of asymmetry during the CMJ (Kappa = -0.06 to 0.77) and DJ (Kappa = -0.10 to 0.78) throughout the season. These data show that when monitoring asymmetry, the magnitude alone may provide a false impression of consistent scores over time. By contrast, monitoring the direction of asymmetry highlights its task and variable nature and is suggested as a useful tool for practitioners who wish to monitor asymmetry over the course of a competitive soccer season.

#3 Seasonal Effects of Strength Endurance vs. Power Training in Young Female Soccer Athletes
Reference: J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Mar 4. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003564. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Lesinski M, Prieske O, Chaabene H, Granacher U
Summary: This study examined the seasonal effects of strength endurance training (SET) vs. power training (PT) on physical fitness and body composition in young female soccer players. Thirty-six young female elite soccer players (15 ± 1 years; maturity offset +3 ± 1 years) were allocated to progressive SET (n = 19) or PT (n = 17). Over the course of one soccer season, SET performed slow movement velocity, moderate intensity (50-60% of the 1 repetition maximum [1RM]; 20-40 repetitions) strength exercises while PT performed moderate-to-high intensity (50-95% of the 1RM; 3-8 repetitions), high movement velocity strength exercises (2 sessions·wk). Before and after training, tests were performed for the assessment of muscle strength (1RM leg press), jump performance (countermovement jump [CMJ], drop jump [DJ]), muscular endurance (ventral Bourban test), linear speed (10 m, 20 m), change-of-direction (CoD) speed (T-test), dynamic balance (Y-balance test), sport-specific performance (kicking velocity), and body composition (lean body mass and fat mass). An analysis of covariance was used to test for between-group differences at post-test with baseline values as covariate. No significant between-group differences were observed in terms of total training volume over the respective soccer seasons (p = 0.069; d = 0.68). At post-test, SET showed significantly better ventral Bourban and T-test performances (d = 1.28-2.28; p = 0.000-0.001) compared with PT. However, PT resulted in significantly better 1RM leg press, DJ, 10-m, and 20-m sprint performances (d = 0.85-1.44; p = 0.000-0.026). No significant between-group differences were observed at post-test for CMJ, Y-balance test, kicking performance, and body composition (d = 0.20-0.74, p = 0.051-0.594). Our findings are mainly in accordance with the principle of training specificity. Both SET and PT are recommended to be implemented in young female elite soccer players according to the respective training period.

#4 Gonadal hormones may predict structural bone fragility in elite female soccer player
Reference: J Sports Sci. 2020 Mar 9:1-11. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2020.1735982. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Lanhers C, Courteix D, Valente-Dos-Santos J, Ferry B, Gracia-Marco L, Pereira B, Borda IM, Lespessailles E, Duclos M
Summary: This study determined the impact of menstrual status on bone tissue in elite post-pubertal female soccer players over an entire season. Fifty-one elite female soccer players participated. At baseline, forty-one were assigned to the low hormonal androgenic profile (low-HAPL) and 10 to the high hormonal androgenic profile (high-HAPL). An 8-month training program led to increased bone mineral density content (p<0.05). The low-HAPL athletes improved the Narrow neck average cortical thickness (ACT) by 1.4% and reduced the corresponding Buckling ratio (BR) by 2.6%, thus decreasing the fracture risk (p<0.05). The high-HAPL athletes decreased the Narrow neck ACT by 5.4% and increased the BR by 2.6%, increasing fracture risk (p<0.05). Differences were assigned as being "very likely beneficial" for the low-HAPL athletes, supported by very large (d=3.41) and large (d=1.58) effect sizes for the Narrow neck ACT and BR, respectively. A season of soccer training has induced bone geometry improvements in adolescent females. Bone health parameters improved in the two clusters. However, high-HAPL athletes decreased its resistance to loading compare to low-HAPL athletes. Even if female players do not present clinical symptoms related to their hormonal status, sport medicine physicians should pay attention to their structural bone fragility.

#5 Pre- and Post-Activity Stretching Practices of Collegiate Soccer Coaches in the United State
Reference: Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 Feb 1;13(6):260-272. eCollection 2020.
Authors: Judge LW, Avedesian JM, Bellar DM, Hoover DL, Craig BW, Langley J, Nordmann N, Schoeff MA, Dickin C
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Summary: Current pre- and post-activity stretching guidelines are designed to optimize performance and reduce injury risk. However, it is unclear whether soccer coaches adhere to these recommendations. The purpose of this study was to determine if collegiate soccer coaches' perceptions and practices align with current scientific recommendations. A total of 781 questionnaires were electronically distributed to soccer coaches from NCAA Division I and III universities. The questionnaire obtained demographic, professional, and educational information, as well as stretching practices. Statistical analysis consisted of computing frequency counts and means where applicable. Pearson's Chi-square tests were performed to assess the potential differences in stretching perceptions and practices among the cohort of soccer coaches. Results suggest that soccer coaches are choosing some forms of stretching more frequently than other coaches (χ2 = 342.7, p < 0.001). Further analysis failed to determine significant associations between stretching type and coaching certification, level, sex, years of experience, and age. Of the 209 respondents, 84.9% believed pre-activity stretching to be of greater than average importance on a seven-point Likert scale. Dynamic stretching (68.7%) or a combination of static and ballistic stretching (18.0%) prior to athletic events was the most typical stretching prescribed. Current post-activity practices demonstrate that most coaches (95.4%) are using some form of a general cool-down following practice or competition. This study is an important assessment of the extent to which collegiate coaches administer appropriate stretching techniques. Most coaches adhere to current recommendations; however, they should continue to evaluate their practices against ongoing research and the practices of their peers.

#6 Continued Play Following Sport-Related Concussion in United States Youth Soccer
Reference: Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 Feb 1;13(6):87-100. eCollection 2020.
Authors: Zynda AJ, Sabatino MJ, Ellis HB, Miller SM
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Summary: Medical guidelines and legislation in the US call for immediate removal from play and prohibit continued play on the same day if a concussion is suspected. However, there is limited literature examining whether these guidelines and laws are being followed in youth soccer. The purpose of this study was to identify the frequency at which youth soccer players continued play on the same day following sport-related concussion and factors that may be associated with this behavior. A retrospective review of youth soccer players diagnosed at the initial clinic visit with a sport-related concussion was performed. Participants were categorized into groups, those who continued play on the same day as their concussion (PLAY) and those who did not (NO PLAY). Records were reviewed for demographics, injury characteristics, SCAT3™ symptoms, mBESS and ImPACT® results, symptom resolution and return to play protocol initiation. Fifty-eight girls (mean age: 14 years, range: 7-18 years) and 29 boys (mean age: 14.4 years, range: 6-18 years) participated in this study. Thirty of 58 girls (51.7%) continued play the same day compared to only 5 of 29 boys (17.2%; p=0.002). The odds of continued play in girls were 5 times as high as the odds of continued play in boys (OR=5.05; 95% CI, 1.59-19.3). Overall, 35 (40.2%) soccer players continued play on the same day following a concussion. In conclusion, approximately 40% of youth soccer players continued play on the same day as their concussion. Girl soccer players demonstrated a significantly higher frequency of continued play than boys.

#7 A Comparison of Quadriceps-to-Hamstrings Ratios During Isokinetic Testing, Cutting, and Drop Landings in Male Soccer Players
Reference: Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 Feb 1;13(4):157-166. eCollection 2020.
Authors: O'Donnell SR, Eitan DN, Roper JL
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Summary: Collegiate soccer is not an unusual place to suffer a knee injury. The sport has many dynamic movements, such as cutting, jumping and shooting. Many professionals use quadriceps-to-hamstring (Q/H) ratios as a tool to determine when an injured player can to return to game play or use the ratio to investigate how predisposed a certain player is to sustaining a knee injury. However, many of these ratios are taken in isokinetic testing in a controlled environment and to our knowledge it is unknown if these ratios are similar to those measured during dynamic activity. Therefore, this study investigated if there was a relationship between Q/H ratios measured during isokinetic testing and drop landings and cutting. Fifteen Division 2 collegiate male soccer players (age: 19.79 ± 1.25 years; height: 176.74 ± 6.22 cm; weight: 77.24 ± 11.01 kg). Wearing Athlos© compression shorts participants performed isokinetic testing, drop landings and cutting drills while muscle activity was measured. A significant difference was found between the bilateral Q/H ratios during the drop landings (p = 0.04; η = 0.49). There were no significant bilateral differences measured during the cutting drills in either direction and isokinetic testing (p > 0.05). Additionally, there was so significant relationship in Q/H ratios between isokinetic testing and the dynamic movements (p > 0.05). This suggests that clinicians should use Q/H ratios during dynamic movements rather than isokinetic testing in a controlled environment to better assess player risk disposition and return-to-play criteria.

#8 In-Season Hip Thrust vs. Back Squat Training in Female High School Soccer Players
Reference: J Exerc Sci. 2020 Feb 1;13(4):49-61. eCollection 2020.
Authors: Millar NA, Colenso-Semple LM, Lockie RG, Marttinen RHJ, Galpin AJ
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Summary: The barbell back squat provides a highly effective training stimulus to improve lower body strength, speed, and power, which are considered key components of athletic performance in many sports. The barbell hip thrust exercise utilizes similar musculature, and is popular among practitioners, but has received far less scientific examination. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of an in-season resistance training program with hip thrusts or back squats on physical performance in adolescent female soccer players. Fourteen players completed identical whole-body resistance training twice per week for 6 weeks, except one group used the barbell hip thrust (HT) (n = 6) and the other the back squat (SQ) (n = 8). Improvements were observed for both groups in hip thrust 3RM (HT = 34.0%, SQ = 23.8%), back squat 3RM (HT = 34.6%, SQ = 31.0%), vertical jump (HT = 5.4%, SQ = 4.9%), broad jump (HT = 10.5%, SQ = 8.1%), ball kicking distance (HT = 13.2%, SQ = 8.1%), and pro-agility (HT = -1.5%, SQ = -1.5%; faster), but not 36.6-m dash (HT = 2.9%, SQ = 1.9%; slower) with no significant between-group differences. These data indicate that both the hip thrust and the squat provide an effective stimulus to improve these sport-specific performance measures. Practitioners should consider these findings in combination with other factors (equipment availability, ability to coach the movement, training goals, injuries, etc.) when selecting exercises.

#9 The Use of Small-Sided Games as an Aerobic Fitness Assessment Supplement Within Elite Level Professional Soccer
Reference: J Hum Kinet. 2020 Jan 31;71:243-253. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2019-0086. eCollection 2020 Jan.
Authors: Owen AL, Newton M, Shovlin A, Malone S
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Summary: The purpose of this investigation was to quantify the association between 5 vs. 5 small sided games (SSG) running performance and physiological performance during the Yo-YoIR1 test to ascertain the utility of SSGs as a potential fitness test modality within elite professional soccer players. Twenty-three (n = 23) elite male professional soccer players (mean ± SD age 25.3 ± 3.1 yrs, mass: 76 ± 9 kg, height: 176 ± 9 cm) were assessed. Players completed an intermittent aerobic fitness test (Yo-YoIR1) and a 5 vs. 5 SSGs protocol for the purpose of the study. During all SSGs players wore GPS (Statsports 10-Hz, Viper Pod, Newry, Northern Ireland) and HR monitors (Polar, Oy Kemple, Finland) with these measures related to Yo-YoIR1 running performance. Results revealed SSGs running performance (TD; m) and physiological performance (HR) showed the lowest CV% (< 5%), with high speed movements, accelerations and decelerations highlighting higher CV% during SSGs. Possibly small to possibly very large associations were observed for running performance during 5 vs. 5 SSGs and Yo-YoIR1 performance, with negative associations observed between physiological performance during SSG and YoYoIR1 running performance. To conclude, the current study observed how running performance during a standardised 5 vs. 5 SSG protocol within elite soccer cohorts is associated with the Yo-YoIR1 running performance. Given the low CV%, repeatability and large association of global running performance and internal load measures during a 5 vs. 5 SSG with Yo-YoIR1 performance, this particular soccer specific SSG protocol potentially supplements traditional non-sport specific testing assessments.

#10 Spanish Elite Soccer Reserve Team Configuration and the Impact of Physical Fitness Performance
Reference: J Hum Kinet. 2020 Jan 31;71:211-218. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2019-0085. eCollection 2020 Jan.
Authors: Arcos AL, Martínez-Santos R, Castillo D
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Summary: The aim of this study was threefold: 1) to assess the configuration of an elite reserve soccer team, 2) to compare physical fitness performance of promoted and new players according to the playing position, and 3) to analyze the level of competitive participation attained by these players. We considered physical fitness tests (5 m and 15 m sprint, countermovement jump [CMJ] and aerobic endurance) performed by 192 players (age = 20.2 ± 2.3 years) enrolled in the reserve team of a Spanish La Liga club from 1994 to 2013. The players were classified according to the previous club criterion (promoted from the soccer academy and new players signed from other clubs), b) their playing position, and c) the competitive level attained until the 2016/2017 season (Spanish 1st and 2nd Divisions and the remaining competition levels). The proportion of promoted and new players was similar (p = 0.47). Overall, no substantial differences (unclear-small) were found in physical fitness performance between promoted and new players. Considering the playing position, promoted lateral defenders (LDs) showed better sprinting (ES = moderate) and CMJ (ES = moderate) performance than new LDs. In addition, promoted central midfielders (CMs) demonstrated better performance in the 5 m sprint and the CMJ (ES = moderate) than new CMs. The percentage of players who later competed in the Spanish 1st and 2nd Divisions was greater in promoted players compared to new players (p = 0.006). Physical fitness performance did not determine the selection of new players in a soccer elite reserve team. We may conclude that soccer academies should prioritize the selection and the training process of youth soccer players.

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