Latest research in football - week 9 - 2023

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 Peak match acceleration demands differentiate between elite youth and professional football players

Reference: PLoS One. 2023 Mar 1;18(3):e0277901. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277901. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Bradley Thoseby, Andrew D Govus, Anthea C Clarke, Kane J Middleton, Ben J Dascombe

Download link:

Summary: Youth footballers need to be developed to meet the technical, tactical, and physical demands of professional level competition, ensuring that the transition between competition levels is successful. To quantify the physical demands, peak match intensities have been measured across football competition tiers, with team formations and tactical approaches shown to influence these physical demands. To date, no research has directly compared the physical demands of elite youth and professional footballers from a single club utilising common formations and tactical approaches. The current study quantified the total match and peak match running demands of youth and professional footballers from a single Australian A-League club. GPS data were collected across a single season from both a professional (n = 19; total observations = 199; mean ± SD; 26.7 ± 4.0 years) and elite youth (n = 21; total observations = 59; 17.9 ± 1.3 years) team. Total match demands and peak match running demands (1-10 min) were quantified for measures of total distance, high-speed distance [>19.8 km·h-1] and average acceleration. Linear mixed models and effect sizes identified differences between competition levels. No differences existed between competition levels for any total match physical performance metric. Peak total and high-speed distances demands were similar between competitions for all moving average durations. Interestingly, peak average acceleration demands were lower (SMD = 0.63-0.69) in the youth players across all moving average durations. The data suggest that the development of acceleration and repeat effort capacities is crucial in youth players for them to transition into professional competition.



#2 Validity and sensitivity of field tests' heart-rate recovery assessment in recreational football players

Reference: PLoS One. 2023 Mar 1;18(3):e0282058. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282058. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Susana Póvoas, Peter Krustrup, Carlo Castagna

Download link:

Summary: We aimed at examining the criterion validity and sensitivity of heart-rate recovery (HRRec) in profiling cardiorespiratory fitness in male recreational football players in the untrained and trained status, using endurance field-tests. Thirty-two male untrained subjects (age 40 ± 6 years, VO2max 41.7 ± 5.7 ml·kg-1·min-1, body mass 82.7 ± 9.8 kg, stature 173.3 ± 7.4 cm) participated in a 12-week (2‒3 sessions per week) recreational football intervention and were tested pre- and post-intervention (i.e. untrained and trained status). The participants performed three intermittent field tests for aerobic performance assessment, namely Yo-Yo intermittent endurance level 1 (YYIE1) and level 2 (YYIE2) tests, and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 1 (YYIR1) test. VO2max was assessed by performing a progressive maximal treadmill test (TT) and maximal HR (HRmax) determined as the maximal value across the testing conditions (i.e., Yo-Yo intermittent tests or TT). HRRec was calculated as the difference between Yo-Yo tests' HRpeak or HRmax and HR at 30 s (HR30), 60 s (HR60) and 120 s (HR120) and considered as beats·min-1 (absolute) and as % of tests' HRpeak or HRmax values. Significant post-intervention improvements (p<0.0001) were shown in VO2max (8.6%) and Yo-Yo tests performance (23-35%). Trivial to small (p>0.05) associations were found between VO2max and HRRec (r = -0.05-0.27, p>0.05) across the Yo-Yo tests, and training status either expressed as percentage of HRpeak or HRmax. The results of this study do not support the use of field-test derived HRRec to track cardiorespiratory fitness and training status in adult male recreational football players.



#3 Energy expenditure, dietary intake and energy availability in female professional football players

Reference: BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2023 Feb 23;9(1):e001553. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2023-001553. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Marcus Smavik Dasa, Oddgeir Friborg, Morten Kristoffersen, Gunn Pettersen, Guy Plasqui, Jorunn Kaiander Sundgot-Borgen, Jan H Rosenvinge

Download link:

Summary: The aim was to quantify energy expenditure and intake in professional female footballers playing on a national and/or international level. Second, to determine the prevalence of low energy availability among these players, defined as <30 kcal/kg fat-free mass (FFM)/day. Fifty-one players completed a 14-day prospective observational study during the 2021/2022 football season. Energy expenditure was determined using the doubly labelled water method. Energy intake was assessed using dietary recalls, while global positioning system determined the external physiological load. Descriptive statistics, stratification and the correlation between explainable variables and outcomes were conducted to quantify the energetic demands. The mean energy expenditure for all players (22±4 years) was 2918±322 kcal. Mean energy intake was 2274±450 kcal, resulting in a discrepancy of ~22%. Carbohydrate intake was below the recommended guidelines on match day at 4.5±1.9 g/kg. The mean energy availability was 36.7±17.7 kcal/kg FFM/day on matchday and 37.9±11.7 kcal/kg FFM/day on training days, resulting in a prevalence of 36% and 23% for low energy availability during the observational period, respectively. These elite female football players displayed moderate energy expenditure levels and failed to meet the recommended levels of carbohydrate intake. In conjunction with inadequate nutritional periodisation, this will likely hamper performance through inadequate muscle glycogen resynthesis. In addition, we found a considerable prevalence of low energy availability on match and training days.



#4 Epidemiology of Football Injuries of the German Bundesliga: A Media-Based, Prospective Analysis over 7 Consecutive Seasons

Reference: Sports Med Open. 2023 Mar 3;9(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s40798-023-00563-x.

Authors: Karen Aus der Fünten, Tobias Tröß, Abed Hadji, Florian Beaudouin, Ida Bo Steendahl, Tim Meyer

Download link:

Summary: This study describes the implementation of a standardised, prospective injury database covering the entire 1st male German football league ("Bundesliga") based on publicly available media data. For the first time, various media sources were used simultaneously as the external validity of media-generated data was low in the past compared to data obtained by way of the "gold standard", i.e. by the teams' medical staffs. The study covers 7 consecutive seasons (2014/15-2020/21). The primary data source was the online version of the sport-specific journal "kicker Sportmagazin™" complemented by further publicly available media data. Injury data collection followed the Fuller consensus statement on football injury studies. During the 7 seasons, 6653 injuries occurred, thereof 3821 in training and 2832 in matches. The injury incidence rates (IRs) per 1000 football hours were 5.5 [95% CI 5.3-5.6], 25.9 [25.0-26.9] per 1000 match, and 3.4 [3.3-3.6] per 1000 training hours. Twenty-four per cent of the injuries (n = 1569, IR 1.3 [1.2-1.4]) affected the thigh, 15% (n = 1023, IR 0.8 [0.8-0.9]) the knee, and 13% (n = 856, IR 0.7 [0.7-0.8]) the ankle. Muscle/tendon injuries contributed 49% (n = 3288, IR 2.7 [2.6-2.8]), joint/ligament injuries 17% (n = 1152, IR 0.9 [0.9-1.0]), and contusions 13% (n = 855, IR 0.7 [0.7-0.8]). Compared to studies using injury reports from the clubs' medical staff, media data revealed similar proportional distributions of the injuries, but the IRs tended towards the lower end. Obtaining specific locations or diagnosis especially with regard to minor injuries is difficult. Media data are convenient for investigating the quantity of injuries of an entire league, for identifying injuries for further subanalysis, and for analysing complex injuries. Future studies will focus on the identification of inter- and intraseasonal trends, players' individual injury histories, and risk factors for subsequent injuries. Furthermore, these data will be used in a complex system approach for developing a clinical decision support system, e.g. for return to play decisions.



#5 Design and Validation of a Test to Evaluate the Execution Time and Decision-Making in Technical-Tactical Football Actions (Passing and Driving)

Reference: Behav Sci (Basel). 2023 Jan 26;13(2):101. doi: 10.3390/bs13020101.

Authors: Guillermo Andres Calle-Jaramillo, Enoc Valentin Gonzalez-Palacio, Lewis Adrian Perez-Mendez, Andres Rojas-Jaramillo, Jose Antonio Gonzalez-Jurado

Download link:

Summary: Reaction time and decision-making (DMA) in football have usually been evaluated using edited images or videos of game situations. The purpose of this research is to design and validate a test that simultaneously evaluates execution time (ET) and decision-making (DMA) in the subcategories of type of action (TA) and direction of movement (DM). A quantitative, cross-sectional, and descriptive study of 30 young players. A total of 32 stimuli were programmed, corresponding to 64 responses, from which the total index (TI) was obtained from the division between DMA and ET. The content validity index (CVI = 0.78) showed a high degree of consensus among experts. In the validation process, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to assess intraclass and interobserver reliability, and a moderate level of agreement was found between subjects for the TA (ICC = 0.593) and ET (ICC = 0.602) and a moderate high level of concordance for DM (ICC = 0.804) and TI (ICC = 0.855). Regarding interobserver reliability, an excellent level of agreement was found for all variables: TA (ICC = 0.998), DM (ICC = 0.998), ET (ICC = 1.000), and TI (ICC = 1.000). For the relationship between intraobserver and interobserver variables, statistical significance was established as p < 0.01. Finally, the intraobserver ETM (5.40%) and interobserver ETM (0.42%) was low compared with the reference value (5.9%). The designed test meets the validity criteria since the variables show sufficient intraclass reliability (test-retest) and reliability among observers.



#6 Exploring the Effects of Tasks with Different Decision-Making Levels on Ball Control, Passing Performance, and External Load in Youth Football

Reference: Children (Basel). 2023 Jan 26;10(2):220. doi: 10.3390/children10020220.

Authors: Diogo Coutinho, Adam Leigh Kelly, Sara Santos, Pedro Figueiredo, David Pizarro, Bruno Travassos

Download link:

Summary: This study aimed to understand how the design of decision-making tasks affects youth football players' ball control, passing performance, and external load. A total of 16 male youth football players (age: 12.94 ± 0.25 years) competed in various tasks based on the following levels of decision-making: (i) low decision-making (Low DM), which consisted of a predefined ball control and passing sequence; (ii) moderate decision-making (Mod DM), which consisted of maintaining possession in a square with four players and two balls while maintaining the same position; and (iii) high decision-making (High DM), which consisted of a 3 vs. 3 + 2 neutral players ball possession game. The study design consisted of a pre-post design (a 6 min pre-test game, a 6 min intervention, and a 6 min post-test game). The players' ball control and passing performance were measured using the game performance evaluation tool and notational analysis, while GPS data were used to determine their physical performance. The pre-post test analysis revealed decrements in players' ability to identify more offensive players after the Mod DM task (W = 9.50, p = 0.016), while there was an increase in their ability to receive the ball towards the space following the High DM task (t = -2.40, p = 0.016). Analysis between groups showed lower values in most ball control variables for the Low DM task compared to the Mod DM task (ball control execution, p = 0.030; appropriateness, p = 0.031; motor space, p = 0.025), while there were also lower values in the distance covered while sprinting (p = 0.042). Overall, prescriptive tasks (Low DM) that are repetitive in nature may affect players' perceptual attunement, whereas static tasks (e.g., Mod DM) may limit their ability to locate players in more offensive positions. Moreover, game-based situations (High DM) seem to acutely enhance players' performance, possibly due to contextual dependency. Overall, coaches should carefully consider the type of practice structure when designing tasks that aim to improve players' technical skills in youth football.



#7 Task-Involving Motivational Climate and Enjoyment in Youth Male Football Athletes: The Mediation Role of Self-Determined Motivation

Reference: Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Feb 9;20(4):3044. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20043044.

Authors: Nuno Amaro, Diogo Monteiro, Filipe Rodrigues, Rui Matos, Miguel Jacinto, Beatriz Cavaco, Sandro Jorge, Raúl Antunes

Download link:

Summary: This study aimed at examining the mediation role of self-determined motivation (identified and integrated regulation and intrinsic motivation) in the association between task-involving climate and enjoyment in youth male football athletes. A total of 109 youth males (M = 14.38; SD = 1.55) were recruited to participate in this study. The survey included sociodemographic data and validated instruments such as the Motivational Climate Sport Youth Scale, the Behavioral Regulation Sport Questionnaire, and the Sports Enjoyment Scale. The results showed that the task-involving climate was a positive and significant predictor of integrated regulation and intrinsic motivation. In addition, integrated regulation and intrinsic motivation were positive and significant predictors of enjoyment. The results of the mediation analysis revealed a partial mediation role of self-determined motivation in the relationship between task-involving climate and enjoyment. Significant indirect effects only occurred through intrinsic motivation. Providing higher levels of enjoyment in the sport context could be an excellent option for leisure activities for children and youth, as long as self-determined motivation and task-involving climates provided by the coaches are present.



#8 Effect of Supplementation with Black Chokeberry ( Aronia melanocarpa) Extract on Inflammatory Status and Selected Markers of Iron Metabolism in Young Football Players: A Randomized Double-Blind Trial

Reference: Nutrients. 2023 Feb 15;15(4):975. doi: 10.3390/nu15040975.

Authors: Błażej Stankiewicz, Mirosława Cieślicka, Jan Mieszkowski, Andrzej Kochanowicz, Bartłomiej Niespodziński, Andrzej Szwarc, Tomasz Waldziński, Joanna Reczkowicz, Elżbieta Piskorska, Miroslav Petr, Anna Skarpańska-Stejnborn, Jędrzej Antosiewicz

Download link:

Summary: The use of herbal medicinal products and supplements in amateur and professional sports has increased in the last decades. This is because most of these products and supplements contain bioactive compounds with a variety of biological properties that exert a physiological effect on the human body. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of dietary supplementation with lyophilized black chokeberry extract on the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, hepcidin, and selected markers of iron metabolism in a group of young football players. This double-blind study included 22 male football players (mean = 19.96 ± 0.56), divided into two groups: supplemented and placebo. Before and after a 90-day period of training combined with supplementation (6 g of lyophilized black chokeberry extract), participants performed maximal multistage 20-m shuttle run tests at the beginning and at the end of the supplementation period, with blood sampled for analysis at different times before and after exercise. The levels of IL-6, IL-10, ferritin, myoglobin, hepcidin, 8-OHdG, albumin, and TAC were analyzed. The analysis of variance revealed a significant effect of 90-day supplementation with the lyophilized extract on changes in the IL-6 and IL-10 levels, and TAC induced by maximal aerobic effort. In conclusion, supplementation with lyophilized black chokeberry extract improves the performance and antioxidant status of serum in humans and induces protective changes in inflammatory markers.



#9 Effects of substitute allowance on match activity characteristics in Japanese professional football across 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons

Reference: J Sports Sci. 2023 Feb 25;1-7. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2023.2182878. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Makoto Ayabe, Shunsuke Sunami, Hideaki Kumahara, Satoshi Ishizaki

Summary: This study aimed to examine the effects of substitute player allowance per match on running performance in Japanese professional football over three consecutive seasons with different numbers of maximum substitutes. Match running performance was obtained from all outfield players in the official matches of the 1st Division of the Japan Professional Football League over three seasons (2019/2020/2021; 22291 player files) by a 4th generation TRACAB® system which provided the total distance covered (TD) and the number of sprinting runs (SP; ≥24.0 km/h for≥1.0 s). The players were divided according to play time: full match (STA), replaced during match (REP), and substitutes during match (SUB). The number of SUBs increased significantly from 2019 to 2021 (p < 0.05). SUB had a significantly higher average speed than STA and REP. The analysis of covariance with the number of recovery days, ambient temperature, and relative humidity as covariates revealed that the TD and SP significantly differed based on the number of SUBs (p < 0.05). Stepwise regression analysis showed that the number of SUBs significantly contributed to the TD and SP. These results suggest that the new law, which increased the maximum SUB allowance from three to five, improved the match running performance in Japanese professional football.



#10 Football training as a non-pharmacological treatment of the global aging population-A topical review

Reference: Front Aging. 2023 Feb 9;4:1146058. doi: 10.3389/fragi.2023.1146058. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Magni Mohr, Ioannis G Fatouros, Muhammad Asghar, Pasqualina Buono, George P Nassis, Peter Krustrup

Summary: In the present topical mini-review, the beneficial impact of small-sided game football training for the increasing elderly global population is presented. As a multicomponent type of physical activity, football training executed on small pitched with 4-6 players in each team is targeting a myriad of physiological systems and causes positive adaptations of relevance for several non-communicable diseases, of which the incidence increases with advancing age. There is strong scientific evidence that this type of football training promotes cardiovascular, metabolic and musculo-skeletal health in elderly individuals. These positive adaptations can prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, sarcopenia and osteoporosis, and lower the risk of falls. Also, football training has been proven an efficient part of the treatment of several patient groups including men with prostate cancer and women after breast cancer. Finally, regular football training has an anti-inflammatory effect and may slow the biological aging. Overall, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that recreational football training can promote health in the elderly.



#11 Daytime Napping Benefits Passing Performance and Scanning Activity in Elite Soccer Players

Reference: J Sports Sci Med. 2023 Mar 1;22(1):75-83. doi: 10.52082/jssm.2023.75. eCollection 2023 Mar.

Authors: Masaki Nishida, Shuta Okano, Atsushi Ichinose, Shutaro Suyama, Sumi Youn

Download link:

Summary: The present study explored the effect of a daytime napping opportunity on scanning activity, which is an essential component of successful soccer performance. Fourteen male elite collegiate soccer players performed the Trail Making Test (TMT), which was used to assess complex visual attention. In addition, a soccer passing test, modified with reference to the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test, was used to evaluate passing performance as well as scanning activity. A cross-over design was applied to examine nap and no-nap interventions. Participants (N = 14, mean age: 21.6 SD = 0.5 years, height: 1.73 ± 0.06 m, body mass: 67.1 ± 4.5 kg) were randomly allocated to a midday nap (40 minutes) or no-nap group. Subjective sleepiness was measured using the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, and perceptive fatigue was evaluated by the visual analog scale. There were no significant differences in subjective measurements or TMT between the nap and no-nap groups. However, the performance time for the passing test and scanning activity was significantly shorter (p < 0.001) and scanning activity was significantly more frequent in the nap condition than in the no-nap condition (p < 0.00005). These results suggest that daytime napping is beneficial for soccer-related cognitive function, represented by visuospatial processing and decision-making, and particularly as a potential countermeasure to mental fatigue. Considering that inadequate sleep and residual fatigue are commonly observed in elite soccer, this finding may have practical implications for the preparation of players.



#12 Warm-up stretching exercises and physical performance of youth soccer players

Reference: Front Physiol. 2023 Feb 15;14:1127669. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1127669. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Jordan Hernandez-Martinez, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Tiago Vera-Assaoka, María Castillo-Cerda, Bastian Carter-Truillier, Tomás Herrera-Valenzuela, Antonio López-Fuenzalida, Hadi Nobari, Pablo Valdés-Badilla

Download link:

Summary: This study aims to compare the effects of standard warm-up versus warm-up using stretching exercises on the physical performance of male youth soccer players. Eighty-five male soccer players (age: 10.3 ± 4.3 years; body mass index: 19.8 ± 4.3 kg/m2) were assessed for countermovement jump height (CMJ, cm), 10 m, 20 m and 30 m running sprint speed (s) and ball kicking speed (km/h) for the dominant and non-dominant leg under five (randomized) warm-up conditions. Using 72 h of recovery between conditions, the participants completed a control condition (CC) and four experimental conditions, including static stretching (SSC), dynamic stretching (DSC), ballistic stretching (BSC), and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNFC) exercises. All warm-up conditions had a duration of 10 minutes. The main results indicate that no significant differences (p > 0.05) were found between warm-up conditions compared to CC in CMJ (CC = 28.1 ± 4.9; SSC = 28.4 ± 4.9; DSC = 30.9 ± 4.8; BSC = 30.9 ± 5.2; PNFC = 28.4 ± 5.0), 10 m sprint (CC = 2.42 ± 0.4; SSC = 2.50 ± 0.4; DSC = 2.30 ± 0.3; BSC = 2.27 ± 0.3; PNFC = 2.53 ± 0.4), 20 m sprint (CC = 5.42 ± 0.9; SSC = 5.59 ± 0.9; DSC = 5.37 ± 0.9; BSC = 5.40 ± 0.9; PNFC = 5.44 ± 0.9), 30 m sprint (CC = 8.05 ± 1.3; SSC = 8.27 ± 1.3; DSC = 8.01 ± 1.3; BSC = 8.00 ± 1.3; PNFC = 8.12 ± 1.3), ball kicking speed for dominant (CC = 56.2 ± 4.9; SSC = 55.3 ± 5.2; DSC = 56.9 ± 5.8; BSC = 57.3 ± 5.8; PNFC = 55.7 ± 5.2) and non-dominant leg (CC = 52.8 ± 3.4; SSC = 51.8 ± 4.6; DSC = 53.5 ± 5.4; BSC = 53.6 ± 4.9; PNFC = 52.5 ± 4.0). In conclusion, compared to standard warm-up, stretching-based warm-up exerts no effect on male youth soccer players jump height, sprint speed and ball kicking speed.



#13 Reduced Match Exposure in the Previous 2 Matches Accounts for Hamstring Muscle Injury Incidence in Professional Football Players

Reference: Sports Health. 2023 Mar 10;19417381231158117. doi: 10.1177/19417381231158117.

Authors: Víctor Moreno-Pérez, Juan Del Coso, Roberto López-Del Campo, Ricardo Resta, José Romero-Sangüesa, Javier Courel-Ibáñez, Alberto Méndez-Villanueva

Summary: Hamstring strain injuries are one of the most prevalent injuries in football (soccer). We examined the influence of accumulated match-play exposure on the occurrence of hamstring strain injury in professional football from 2 teams (Spanish 1st Division, LaLiga) over 3 seasons, and determined specific cut-off points as indicators of injury risk. We hypothesized that overloaded players would be more likely to sustain a hamstring injury. Playing time, total running distance, and high-speed running (>24 km/h) distance during official matches of players that sustained a hamstring injury were compared with uninjured, paired controls. Cumulative playing time and running performance of 4 matches before the injury was computed. Relative risk (RR) of injury occurrence was estimated by generalized estimating equations. Diagnostic accuracy was determined by receiver operating characteristics and the area under the curve. Thirty-seven hamstring strain injuries occurred, representing 23 ± 18 absence days per injury. Thirty-seven controls (uninjured players) were used as comparators. Low match-play exposures during 1 and 2 matches before injury were likely to explain injury occurrence (RR: 14-53%; P < 0.01). Metrics from the match before the hamstring muscle strain demonstrated the best accuracy to predict injury occurrence: high-speed running distance ≤328 m (sensitivity, 64%; specificity, 84%), playing time ≤64 min (sensitivity, 36%; specificity, 97%), and running distance ≤5.8 km (sensitivity, 39%; specificity, 97%). Relatively reduced competitive exposure in the previous 2 matches was associated with higher hamstring injury risk in professional football players. Screening simple metrics such as the accumulated match exposure during official matches and considering specific cut-off points for some running variables may be good indicators of injury risk and may assist in better individual injury management in professional soccer players.



#14 Cold water immersion after a soccer match: Does the placebo effect occur?

Reference: Front Physiol. 2023 Feb 21;14:1062398. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1062398. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Nidhal Nasser, Houssem Zorgati, Hamdi Chtourou, Alexandre Guimard

Download link:

Summary: Although cold water immersion (CWI) is one of the most widely used post-exercise strategies to accelerate recovery processes, the benefits of CWI may be associated with placebo effects. This study aimed to compare the effects of CWI and placebo interventions on time course of recovery after the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST). In a randomized, counterbalanced, crossover study, twelve semi-professional soccer players (age 21.1 ± 2.2 years, body mass 72.4 ± 5.9 kg, height 174.9 ± 4.6 cm, ˙V�˙ O2max 56.1 ± 2.3 mL/min/kg) completed the LIST followed by CWI (15 min at 11°C), placebo (recovery Pla beverage), and passive recovery (Rest) over three different weeks. Creatine kinase (CK), C-reactive protein (CRP), uric acid (UA), delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), 10-m sprint (10 mS), 20-m sprint (20 mS) and repeated sprint ability (RSA) were assessed at baseline and 24 and 48 h after the LIST. Compared to baseline, CK concentration was higher at 24 h in all conditions (p < 0.01), while CRP was higher at 24 h only in CWI and Rest conditions (p < 0.01). UA was higher for Rest condition at 24 and 48 h compared to Pla and CWI conditions (p < 0.001). DOMS score was higher for Rest condition at 24 h compared to CWI and Pla conditions (p = 0.001), and only to Pla condition at 48 h (p = 0.017). SJ and CMJ performances decreased significantly after the LIST in Rest condition (24 h: -7.24%, p = 0.001 and -5.45%, p = 0.003 respectively; 48 h: -9.19%, p < 0.001 and -5.70% p = 0.002 respectively) but not in CWI and Pla conditions. 10 mS and RSA performance were lower for Pla at 24 h compared to CWI and Rest conditions (p < 0.05), while no significant change was observed for 20 mS time. These data suggests that CWI and Pla intervention were more effective than the Rest conditions in recovery kinetics of muscle damage markers and physical performance. Furthermore, the effectiveness of CWI would be explained, at least in part, by the placebo effect.



#15 Return to Play and Pattern of Injury After ACL Rupture in a Consecutive Series of Elite UEFA Soccer Players

Reference: Orthop J Sports Med. 2023 Mar 3;11(3):23259671231153629. doi: 10.1177/23259671231153629. eCollection 2023 Mar.

Authors: Luca Farinelli, Elisabeth Abermann, Amit Meena, Peter Ueblacker, Jochen Hahne, Christian Fink

Download link:

Summary: Anterior cruciate ligament rupture represents a career-threatening injury for professional soccer players. The aim was to analyze the pattern of injury, return to play (RTP), and performance of a consecutive series of elite professional soccer players after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). We evaluated the medical records of 40 consecutive elite soccer players who underwent ACLR by a single surgeon between September 2018 and May 2022. Patient age, height, weight, body mass index, position, injury history, affected side, RTP time, minutes played per season (MPS), and MPS as a percentage of playable minutes before and after ACLR were retrieved from medical records and from publicly available media-based platforms. Included were 27 male patients (mean ± SD age at surgery, 23.2 ± 4.3 years; range, 18-34 years). The injury occurred during matches in 24 players (88.9%), with a noncontact mechanism in 22 (91.7%). Meniscal pathology was found in 21 patients (77.8%). Lateral meniscectomy and meniscal repair were performed in 2 (7.4%) and 14 (51.9%) patients, respectively, and medial meniscectomy and meniscal repair were performed in 3 (11.1%) and 13 (48.1%) patients, respectively. A total of 17 players (63.0%) underwent ACLR with bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft and 10 (37.0%) with soft tissue quadriceps tendon. Lateral extra-articular tenodesis was added in 5 patients (18.5%). The overall RTP rate was 92.6% (25 of 27). Two athletes moved to a lower league after surgery. The mean MPS% during the last preinjury season was 56.69% ± 21.71%; this decreased significantly to 29.18% ± 20.6% (P < .001) in the first postoperative season and then increased to 57.76% ± 22.89% and 55.89% ± 25.8% in the second and third postoperative seasons. Two (7.4%) reruptures and 2 (7.4%) failed meniscal repairs were reported. ACLR in elite UEFA soccer players was associated with a 92.6% rate of RTP and 7.4% rate of reinjury within 6 months after primary surgery. Moreover, 7.4% of soccer players moved to a lower league during the first season after surgery. Age, graft selection, concomitant treatments, and lateral extra-articular tenodesis were not significantly associated with prolonged RTP.



#16 Ankle dorsiflexion range of motion and landing postures during a soccer-specific task

Reference: PLoS One. 2023 Mar 16;18(3):e0283150. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0283150. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Hadi Akbari, Yohei Shimokochi, Bahram Sheikhi

Download link:

Summary: Ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (DF-ROM) has been shown to be associated with poor landing posture. However, previously used tasks have been controlled, and it is unclear whether clinical measurements of the ankle DF-ROM, are associated with landing positions during sport-specific task. This study sought to determine the relationship between ankle DF-ROM and landing positions. Thirty male soccer players participated in this study. The ankle DF-ROM was measured by the weight bearing lunge test in degrees using a cell phone app (TiltMeter). Landing patterns were assessed during a soccer-specific task using landing error scoring system items using Kinovea software. Simple correlations were used to evaluate the relationships between ankle DF-ROM and landing error scores. Significant correlations were found between ankle DF-ROM and landing errors (r = -0.450, P = 0.006). A decreased ankle DF-ROM was associated with greater landing errors in a soccer specific situation. These results suggest that ankle DF-ROM may serve a useful clinical measure for identifying poor landing posture in the real-world environment. Therefore, assessment of ankle DF-ROM could be included in the screening process, which could help identify the cause of the faulty motion.



#17 Starters and non-starters soccer players in competition: is physical performance increased by the substitutions?

Reference: BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2023 Mar 16;15(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s13102-023-00641-3.

Authors: Alfonso Castillo-Rodríguez, José Luis González-Téllez, Antonio Figueiredo, José Luis Chinchilla-Minguet, Wanesa Onetti-Onetti

Download link:

Summary: Non-starters soccer players have a great role within the team, being indispensable to reduce fatigue, as well as to maintain and increase the team's performance during the match. This study aimed to analyze the physical performance of the starter and non-starters players during competitive soccer matches. Twenty-two soccer players participated in this study, divided into two groups according to the role in the match (starters or non-starters). WIMU Global Positioning System devices were used in order to record physical performance metrics. Independent samples t-test and one-way ANOVA tests were performed to compare starters and non-starters, and the playing position, respectively, and two-way ANOVA test was perform with these factors too. There were no differences in the main physical performance metrics between starters and non-starters players during competition, although there were differences in physical performance metrics according to the playing position. Midfielders performed highest distance per minute, player load, and distance covered between 12 and 21 km·h- 1 (p < .05). Finally, distance covered at speeds greater than 24 km·h- 1 was predicted by the playing role (starters and non-starters) and playing position factors with 88% of explained variance (ηp2 = 0.772). The main findings of this study showed that non-starter players had a similar physical performance during competitive matches as the starter players for whom they are substituted. In addition, the playing position determined different physical performance, contributing in this manuscript that behavior and decision-making of the players could be affected by their position in the field. More studies are needed on non-starter player performance and contextual factors that could influence the physical responses of these players.



#18 Trends in Relative Age Effects of Top-Level Female Soccer Players: A Japanese Study

Reference: Percept Mot Skills. 2023 Mar 15;315125231162745. doi: 10.1177/00315125231162745.

Authors: Shigeki Matsuda, Hiroaki Ishigaki

Summary: We investigated recent trends in relative age effect (RAE) findings of top-level female soccer players in Japan, using data from the 2016 to 2020 seasons. We conducted two main analyses: (a) An examination of RAE for all registered players in the Japan Women's Soccer League (Nadeshiko League) from 2016 to 2020; and (b) an examination of RAE of newly registered players in the league from 2017 to 2020. In the first analysis, we found a significant difference between the number of players born in Q1 (April-June) versus Q4 (January-March), with the number of players born in Q1 greater and with the ratio between these groups ranging from 1.5 to 1.7. In the second analysis, we found a significant relationship between Q1 and Q4 for the 2017 season alone. However, the Q1/Q4 ratio ranged from 1.4 to 1.9, and the semester ratio of S1 (Q1 + Q2))/S2 (Q3 + Q4) ranged from 1.2 to 1.3, suggesting a birth month bias. Thus, there was a RAE in female soccer players playing recently in Japan's top-level leagues; and the size of the effect did not change significantly across recent seasons.



#19 Sex difference in soccer instep kicking

Reference: J Sports Sci. 2022 Oct;40(20):2217-2224. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2022.2139881.

Authors: Tsuyoshi Iitake, Maya Hioki, Hitoshi Takahashi, Hiroyuki Nunome

Summary: We aimed to clarify the differences in soccer instep kicking dynamics between sex groups. The instep kicking of seven female (height: 160.3 ± 6.1 cm; mass: 54.3 ± 5.2 kg) and seven male (height: 173.0 ± 5.9 cm; mass: 70.0 ± 9.0 kg) players were recorded by a motion capture system (500 Hz). Joint moments of the kicking leg were computed and normalized by the body mass and height. Statistical parametric mapping was used to compare the entire kicking motion between the two groups. Significantly slower resultant ball velocity seen in female players was most likely explained by their significantly slower run-up velocity, shorter leg length and lower foot-ball velocity ratio. Female players exhibited significantly smaller knee joint moment in the latter part (80-86%) of kicking. Also, significantly smaller positive work done by knee extension moment and the ratio of work (knee extension/hip flexion) were found in female players. These results suggested that the suppressed knee extension moment action was identified as a key kinetic characteristic in the instep kicking of female players, and to compensate for this action, they more rely on the work due to hip flexion moment to execute the instep kicking.



#20 Effects of plyometric vs. strength training on strength, sprint, and functional performance in soccer players: a randomized controlled trial

Reference: Sci Rep. 2023 Mar 14;13(1):4256. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-31375-4.

Authors: Shahnaz Hasan

Download link:

Summary: Plyometric training (PT) has been shown to have numerous benefits and few harmful effects. This study aimed to compare the effects of PT vs. strength training on muscle strength, sprint, and lower limb functional performance in soccer players. Ninety participants (mean age 22.5 years) were equally and randomly divided into three groups: a plyometric training group (PTG; n = 30), a strength training group (STG; n = 30), and a control group (CG; n = 30). In PTG: bounding, hurdling, and drop jumping exercises were performed. In STG: isometric exercises of knee extension (at 60º knee flexion), quadriceps (in supine), hip adductors (in crook lying), and straight leg raise were performed. In CG: no specific training was given. All interventions were performed for eight weeks. Isometric strength (IS), sprint (ST), and single-leg triple hop (SLTH) tests were outcome measures. The wilcoxon signed ranks test was used for with-in-group analysis, and Kruskal Wallis and Mann-Whitney u tests were used for between-group analyses. In PTG: in comparison to a baseline measurement, IS increased by 8.83% (p < 0.05), ST decreased by 20.14% (p < 0.05), and SLTH increased by 7.78% (p < 0.05). In STG: IS increased by 15.76% (p < 0.05), ST decreased by 30.26% (p < 0.05), and SLTH increased by 12.41% (p < 0.05). In CG: IS increased by 5.72% (p < 0.05), ST decreased by 15.54% (p < 0.05), and SLTH increased by 4.41% (p < 0.05). The greatest improvements were observed in STG, followed by PTG and CG. Strength training was found to be more effective than PT in improving muscle strength, sprint, and lower limb functional performance in male soccer players.



#21 The association of dietary insulin load and dietary insulin index with body composition among professional soccer players and referees

Reference: BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2023 Mar 13;15(1):31. doi: 10.1186/s13102-023-00635-1.

Authors: Mohammad Beba, Mohammad Gholizadeh, Mohammad Sharifi, Tohid Seifbarghi, Kurosh Djafarian

Download link:

Summary: There has been limited research undertaken about the association of dietary insulin load (DIL) and dietary insulin index (DII) with body composition in non-athletic adults, however, to the best of our knowledge No previous study has investigated such an association in an athletic population. The aim of this study was to explore the association of DII and DIL with body compositions in male and female soccer players and referees. The cross-sectional study was conducted on 199 professional male and female soccer players and referees. A 147-item semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was adopted to congregate the participants' dietary data. Body composition was measured using InBody to gain a detailed understanding of fat mass, percent body fat (PBF), lean mass, percent muscle mass (PMM), and bone mineral content (BMC). Waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) were obtained from all participants. Other body composition parameters include a body shape index (ABSI), abdominal volume index (AVI), body adiposity index (BAI), body roundness index (BRI), conicity index (CI), weight-adjusted waist index (WWI) and waist-to-hip-to-height ratio (WHHR) were calculated using a particular defined formula. Results of multiple linear regression revealed that there is a significant association between DIL and BMI (P = 0.04) in < 18 male soccer players, CI (P = 0.04) and WWI (P = 0.03) in ≥ 18 female soccer players, PBF (P = 0.02), PMM (P = 0.01) and WWI (P = 0.01) in ≥ 18 female soccer players. Nevertheless, no significant associations between DIL and body composition parameters were found in the referees. Additionally, there is a significant association between DII and BMC (P = 0.02) in male soccer referees, however, no significant associations were found in young soccer players and female athletes. This study demonstrates that DIL is positively associated with BMI, CI, and WWI in male soccer players and PBF, and WWI in female soccer players. Although, there was an observed negative association between DIL and PMM in females. In addition, a significant negative association between DII and BMC was observed in male soccer players.


The Training Manager -