Latest research in football - week 29 - 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 Junior to senior transition pathway in Italian Football: The rocky road to the top is not determined by youth national team's selections

Reference: PLoS One. 2023 Jul 18;18(7):e0288594. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0288594. eCollection 2023.

Authors: Gennaro Boccia, Paolo Riccardo Brustio, Rocco Rinaldi, Ruggero Romagnoli, Marco Cardinale, Maria Francesca Piacentini

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Summary: Football is a popular sport, but little is known about the youth-to-senior transition rates in elite players, particularly in large and successful countries. This study aims to investigate the youth-to-senior transition rate in the Italian national football team, both prospectively and retrospectively, and to explore if Relative Age Effects (RAEs) affect this transition. Data from 885 players selected in youth and senior Italian national teams between 2000 and 2021 were included in the study. For each player, the birthdate and the number of selection in Under 16, 17, 19, 21 and senior team was considered. The transition rate was determined by the number of youth players competing in the Senior National team (and vice versa), whilst birth quarter (Q) distributions with a chi-square goodness-of-fit test. Prospectively, the transition rate increased as age increased (i.e., from ~20% in U16 to ~50% in U19). Retrospectively, less than 10-20% of youth players were subsequently selected for the senior team. Data revealed a skewed birth date distribution in all age groups, and the RAEs magnitude decreased when age increased (i.e., ORs for Q1 vs Q4 was ~ 9 in U16 and ~ 1.7 in senior teams). Nevertheless, the RAE magnitude was smaller for successfully transitioned players. In conclusion, most players in the senior team were not previously selected for youth teams suggesting that junior international experience may not be a prerequisite for later success. Moreover, while the birthdate strongly influences the selection of youth national teams, its impact is less evident in the youth-to-senior transition.



#2 Are hip biomechanics during running associated with symptom severity or cam morphology size in male football players with FAI syndrome?

Reference: Gait Posture. 2023 Jun 29;105:17-26. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2023.06.021. Online ahead of print.

Authors: Mark J Scholes, Benjamin F Mentiplay, Joanne L Kemp, Matthew G King, Anthony G Schache, Joshua J Heerey, Prasanna Sritharan, Adam I Semciw, Rintje Agricola, Kay M Crossley

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Summary: Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) syndrome is considered a motion-related condition. Little is known about the influence of symptom severity and cam morphology on hip biomechanics for individuals with FAI syndrome. Our research question was: Are hip biomechanics during running associated with symptom severity or cam morphology size in male football players with FAI syndrome? Forty-nine male, sub-elite football (soccer or Australian football) players (mean age= 26 years) with FAI syndrome completed the International Hip Outcome Tool-33 (iHOT-33) and Copenhagen Hip and Groin Outcome Score (HAGOS) and underwent radiographic evaluation. Biomechanical data were collected during overground running (3-3.5 m∙s-1) using three-dimensional motion capture technology and an embedded force plate. Various discrete hip angles and impulses of joint moments were analysed during the stance phase. Linear regression models investigated associations between running biomechanics data (dependent variables) and iHOT-33 and HAGOS scores and cam morphology size (independent variables). Hip joint angles during running were not associated with symptom severity in football players with FAI syndrome. A positive association was found between the impulse of the hip external rotation moment and HAGOS-Sport scores, such that a smaller impulse magnitude occurred with a lower HAGOS-Sport score (0.026 *10-2 [95%CI <0.001 *10-2 to 0.051 *10-2], P = 0.048). Larger cam morphology was associated with a greater peak hip adduction angle at midstance (0.073 [95%CI 0.002-0.145], P = 0.045). Hip biomechanics during running did not display strong associations with symptom severity or cam morphology size in male football players with FAI syndrome who were still participating in training and match play. Future studies might consider investigating associations during tasks that utilise end range hip joint motion or require greater muscle forces.



#3 Adherence to Injury Prevention Exercise Programmes in Amateur Adolescent and Adult Football: A Detailed Description of Programme Use from a Randomised Study

Reference: Sports Med Open. 2023 Jul 15;9(1):57. doi: 10.1186/s40798-023-00608-1.

Authors: Hanna Lindblom, Markus Waldén, Martin Hägglund

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Summary: Injury prevention exercise programmes (IPEPs) efficaciously reduce injuries. However, it is challenging to achieve sufficient adherence across a season. The main aim was to describe adherence to IPEPs in three groups of coaches and players partaking in a cluster randomised trial. Secondary aims were to describe perceptions of IPEPs, use of programme material, and overall preventive strategies. This is a sub-study analysing data from a three-armed randomised trial with teams randomised to use either a comprehensive IPEP (extended Knee Control) or an adductor strength programme, and non-randomised teams that already used a self-chosen IPEP regularly at study start (comparison group). Teams were instructed to use their respective intervention across the 2020 football season. Male and female, adolescent (≥ 14 years of age), and adult amateur players took part. Coaches and players responded to weekly and end-of-season questionnaires. Data were presented descriptively. Weekly player data were reported by 502 players (weekly response rate 65%), 289 (58%) responded to end-of-season questionnaires. Teams in the extended Knee Control and comparison group used their respective IPEP in 483/529 (91%) and 585/641 (91%) of training sessions, and teams in the adductor group in in 199/315 (63%) sessions. Regarding utilisation fidelity, 42-52% of players in each group used 1-10 repetitions per exercise. Seven out of 17 teams in the adductor group had progressed as recommended in terms of number of repetitions. Two teams (10%) in the extended Knee Control group, and 7/24 of comparison teams used the same exercises across the season. Coaches accessed the IPEPs by different means (printed material, films, workshops, etc.), but half did not use the provided digital material. The players appreciated that the IPEPs could reduce injury risk and that they improved their exercise performance, but disliked that they had less time for football and that the exercises were boring. Forty-nine players had experienced pain during IPEP performance. Adherence with the IPEPs was generally high. To meet different coach needs, programme material should be available via different digital and printed resources. The number of players reporting pain during IPEP performance is a noteworthy finding.



#4 Effects of Acute Caffeine Ingestion on Cognitive Performance before and after Repeated Small-Sided Games in Professional Soccer Players: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Crossover Trial

Reference: Nutrients. 2023 Jul 10;15(14):3094. doi: 10.3390/nu15143094.

Authors: Rodrigo Freire de Almeida, Mateus de Oliveira, Isadora Clivatti Furigo, Rodrigo Aquino, Neil David Clarke, Jason Tallis, Lucas Guimaraes-Ferreira 

Summary: Soccer is a team sport that requires players to process a significant amount of information quickly and respond with both speed and accuracy to the ever-changing demands of the game. As such, success in soccer depends not only on physical attributes but also on cognitive abilities such as perception and decision-making. The aim of the current study was to investigate the acute effects of caffeine ingestion on Stroop test performance before and after repeated small-sided games (SSG) in professional soccer players. Twelve professional male soccer players (29 ± 4.1 years; 78.1 ± 7.7 kg body mass) participated in this study. A randomized crossover double-blind placebo-controlled trial was used. Caffeine (5 or a placebo was ingested 45 min before a protocol consisting of five 5 min SSG with 1 min rest intervals. A computerized version of the colour Stroop test was completed immediately before and after the exercise protocol. During the Stroop test, words appeared on the computer screen in three different ways: (i) neutral words (neutral condition); (ii) correspondent colour (i.e., "red" painted in red; congruent condition), or; (iii) different colour (i.e., "red" painted in green; incongruent condition). The incongruent condition aimed to cause the interference effect, as the colour and the word did not match. Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed after each SSG. RPE increased during the five sets of the SSG protocol (p < 0.001), without differences between the caffeine and placebo trials. The soccer-specific exercise protocol promoted a faster response during the Stroop test (two-way ANOVA main effect for SSG protocol: p < 0.05), with no differences in accuracy (p > 0.05). Caffeine ingestion resulted in slower reaction time during the Stroop test during the congruent and neutral trials but not during the incongruent trial (two-way ANOVA main effect for supplementation: p = 0.009, p = 0.045, and p = 0.071, respectively). Accuracy was lower in the caffeine trial in congruent and incongruent trials (p < 0.05 caffeine vs. placebo both on the pre- and post-SSG protocol). In conclusion, a soccer-specific exercise protocol improved the Stroop test performance in professional soccer players, but acute caffeine ingestion (5 was detrimental.



#5 The Effect of Environmental Disasters on Endocrine Status, Hematology Parameters, Body Composition, and Physical Performance in Young Soccer Players: A Case Study of the Aral Sea Region

Reference: Life (Basel). 2023 Jul 3;13(7):1503. doi: 10.3390/life13071503.

Authors: Valerii O Erkudov, Kenjabek U Rozumbetov, Francisco Tomás González-Fernández, Andrey P Pugovkin, Ilal I Nazhimov, Azat T Matchanov, Halil İbrahim Ceylan

Summary: The Aral Sea region (Uzbekistan) is infamous because of the ecological disaster characterized by the disappearance of the Aral Sea due to excessive uncontrolled water intake for agriculture needs. A new desert occurrence, soil and climate aridization led to pesticide and toxic metals environment pollution. The impact of environmental conditions in some areas of Uzbekistan on the health of soccer players is not as noticeable as, for example, the effectiveness of training, so it is not widely discussed in scientific papers. The aim of the present study was to study the features of endocrine status, hematology parameters (e.g., red blood cells (RBC) and hemoglobin (Hb)), and their influence on body composition and physical fitness performance in local young soccer players of the Aral Sea region as the territory of ecological disaster. The study involved 60 male soccer players aged from 18 to 22 years. Participants were divided into two groups: the experimental group (EG), which consisted of 30 soccer players living on the territory of the Aral ecological disaster region, and the control group (CG), which included 30 soccer players, natives of the ecologically favorable region of Uzbekistan. All volunteers had anthropometric measurements, concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), total testosterone (TT), estradiol (E2), cortisol (C), RBC, and Hb count. Moreover, Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (YYIRT1) and professional skills tests such as dribbling shuttle test (DSt) and goal accuracy test (GAt) were assessed. When comparing the CG group to the EG group, it was observed that the EG group exhibited statistically significantly reduced levels of TT and E2 (p < 0.05). No significant statistical difference was observed between the two groups in terms of IGF-1 and C (p > 0.05). Regarding hematological parameters, Hb, Ht, and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) were found to be significantly lower in the EG compared with the CG (p < 0.05). Moreover, the distance covered in the YYIR1 test was found to be significantly lower in soccer players within the EG compared with the CG (p < 0.05). Additionally, it was determined that there was no significant difference between the groups in terms of DSt and GAt values (p > 0.05). Lastly, significant differences were observed between the EG and CG in terms of anthropometric characteristics (diameters, skinfold, and somatotype profile) (p < 0.05). The present study showed that the changes in evaluated characteristics might result from the complex influence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, the content of which is high in the environment of the Aral Sea region. The results obtained may help monitor the health of athletes living in an environmentally unfriendly environment.



#6 Match Running Performance Profile and Heart Rate Response in Amputee Soccer Players

Reference: Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Jul 13;20(14):6357. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20146357.

Authors: Foteini-Vasiliki Panagiotopoulou, Yiannis Michailidis, Athanasios Mandroukas, Aris Mavropoulos, Vasilios Tsimaras, Pantelis T Nikolaidis, Kosmas Christoulas, Thomas Metaxas

Summary: The purpose of this study was (a) to create a profile of the running performances of male amputee soccer players in different speed zones, (b) to investigate the relationship between heart rate (HR) and running distance in two soccer matches, and (c) to study the effect of the level of amputation on the running distance covered during a match. The participants were male amputee soccer players (n = 10, Greek, n = 5; Belgian, n = 5) who played two international, friendly matches. Distances were measured using a global positioning system, and HRs were recorded using a Polar Team Pro. No differences in the distances covered were observed between participants with different levels of amputation (p > 0.05). Nevertheless, there was a trend that participants with a below-the-knee amputation tended to cover longer distances in total (difference +262.3 m, Cohen's d = 0.40) and in zones 2 (+324.4 m, d = 0.79), 3 (+ 7.1 m, d = 0.65), 4 (+22.7 m, d = 0.43), and 5 (+0.4 m, d = 0.20) and less distance in zone 1 (-207.2 m, d = 0.88). They also tended to perform more accelerations (+3.9, d = 0.89) and decelerations (+4.2, d = 0.87) and had a higher mean HR (+8.4%, d = 2.04) than those with an above-the-knee amputation. Moreover, the mean HR corresponded to 83.3% of the HRmax and did not correlate with distance in any speed zone. It was concluded that the level of amputation might influence running performance and acute physiological response during a soccer match.



#7 Replicative Study in Performance-Related Genes of Brazilian Elite Soccer Players Highlights Genetic Differences from African Ancestry and Similarities between Professional and U20 Youth Athletes

Reference: Genes (Basel). 2023 Jul 14;14(7):1446. doi: 10.3390/genes14071446.

Authors: Tane Kanope, Caleb G M Santos, Feliciana Marinho, Gustavo Monnerat, Mario Campos-Junior, Ana Carolina P da Fonseca, Verônica M Zembrzuski, Miller de Assis, Michael W Pfaffl, Eduardo Pimenta

Summary: Classically, genetic association studies have attempted to assess genetic polymorphisms related to human physiology and physical performance. However, the heterogeneity of some findings drives the research to replicate, validate, and confirmation as essential aspects for ensuring their applicability in sports sciences. Genetic distance matrix and molecular variance analyses may offer an alternative approach to comparing athletes' genomes with those from public databases. Thus, we performed a complete sequencing of 44 genomes from male Brazilian first-division soccer players under 20 years of age (U20_BFDSC). The performance-related SNP genotypes were obtained from players and from the "1000 Genomes" database (European, African, American, East Asian, and South Asian). Surprisingly, U20_BFDSC performance-related genotypes had significantly larger FST levels (p < 0.00001) than African populations, although studies using ancestry markers have shown an important similarity between Brazilian and African populations (12-24%). U20_BFDSC were genetically similar to professional athletes, showing the intense genetic selection pressure likely to occur before this maturation stage. Our study highlighted that performance-related genes might undergo selective pressure due to physical performance and environmental, cognitive, and sociocultural factors. This replicative study suggests that molecular variance and Wright's statistics can yield novel conclusions in exercise science.



#8 Another Way to Confuse Motor Control: Manual Technique Supposed to Shorten Muscle Spindles Reduces the Muscular Holding Stability in the Sense of Adaptive Force in Male Soccer Players

Reference: Brain Sci. 2023 Jul 21;13(7):1105. doi: 10.3390/brainsci13071105.

Authors: Frank N Bittmann, Silas Dech, Laura V Schaefer

Summary: Sensorimotor control can be impaired by slacked muscle spindles. This was shown for reflex responses and, recently, also for muscular stability in the sense of Adaptive Force (AF). The slack in muscle spindles was generated by contracting the lengthened muscle followed by passive shortening. AF was suggested to specifically reflect sensorimotor control since it requires tension-length control in adaptation to an increasing load. This study investigated AF parameters in reaction to another, manually performed slack procedure in a preselected sample (n = 13). The AF of 11 elbow and 12 hip flexors was assessed by an objectified manual muscle test (MMT) using a handheld device. Maximal isometric AF was significantly reduced after manual spindle technique vs. regular MMT. Muscle lengthening started at 64.93 ± 12.46% of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC). During regular MMT, muscle length could be maintained stable until 92.53 ± 10.12% of MVIC. Hence, muscular stability measured by AF was impaired after spindle manipulation. Force oscillations arose at a significantly lower level for regular vs. spindle. This supports the assumption that they are a prerequisite for stable adaptation. Reduced muscular stability in reaction to slack procedures is considered physiological since sensory information is misled. It is proposed to use slack procedures to test the functionality of the neuromuscular system, which is relevant for clinical practice.



#9 The Effects of FIFA 11+ Kids Prevention Program on Kinematic Risk Factors for ACL Injury in Preadolescent Female Soccer Players: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Reference: Children (Basel). 2023 Jul 12;10(7):1206. doi: 10.3390/children10071206.

Authors: Maedeh Taghizadeh Kerman, Claudia Brunetti, Ali Yalfani, Ahmad Ebrahimi Atri, Chiarella Sforza

Summary: This study aimed to investigate the effects of the 8-week FIFA 11+ Kids program on kinematic risk factors for ACL injury in preadolescent female soccer players during single-leg drop landing. For this, 36 preadolescent female soccer players (10-12 years old) were randomly allocated to the FIFA 11+ Kids program and control groups (18 players per group). The intervention group performed the FIFA 11+ Kids warm-up program twice per week for 8 weeks, while the control group continued with regular warm-up. Trunk, hip, and knee peak angles (from initial ground contact to peak knee flexion) were collected during the single-leg drop landing using a 3D motion capture system. A repeated measure ANOVA was used to analyze groups over time. Significant group × time interactions were found for the peak knee flexion, with a medium effect size (p = 0.05; effect size = 0.11), and peak hip internal rotation angles, with a large effect size (p < 0.01; effect size = 0.28). We found that the FIFA 11+ Kids program was effective in improving knee flexion and hip internal rotation, likely resulting in reducing ACL stress during single-leg drop landing in young soccer players.



#10 Oxidative Stress and Performance after Training in Professional Soccer (European Football) Players

Reference: Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Jul 22;12(7):1470. doi: 10.3390/antiox12071470.

Authors: Michele Abate, Raffaello Pellegrino, Angelo Di Iorio, Vincenzo Salini

Summary: Vitamins, hormones, free radicals, and antioxidant substances significantly influence athletic performance. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether these biological mediators changed during the season and if this was associated with the rate of improvement in performance after training, assessed by means of a standardized test. Professional male soccer players took part in the study. Two evaluations were performed: the first in the pre-season period and the second at the mid-point of the official season, after about 6 months of intensive training and weekly matches. Blood levels of vitamins D, B12, and folic acid, testosterone and cortisol, free radicals, and antioxidant substances were measured. Two hours after breakfast, a Yo-Yo test was performed. The relationships between the biological mediators and the rate of improvement after training (i.e., the increase in meters run in the Yo-Yo test between the pre-season and mid-season periods) were evaluated by means of a linear mixed models analysis. Results: Eighty-two paired tests were performed. The athletes showed better performance after training, with an increase in the meters run of about 20%. No significant relationships between the vitamin and hormone values and the gain in the performance test were observed. Plasmatic levels of free radicals increased significantly, as did the blood antioxidant potential. An indirect relationship between oxidative stress and the improvement in performance was observed (free radicals β ± SE: = -0.33 ± 0.10; p-value = 0.001), with lower levels of oxidative stress being associated with higher levels of performance in the Yo-Yo test. Monitoring the measures of oxidative stress could be a useful additional tool for coaches in training and/or recovery programs tailored to each player.



#11 The Effect on Flexibility and a Variety of Performance Tests of the Addition of 4 Weeks of Soleus Stretching to a Regular Dynamic Stretching Routine in Amateur Female Soccer Players

Reference: Sports (Basel). 2023 Jul 19;11(7):138. doi: 10.3390/sports11070138.

Authors: Mohammad Alimoradi, Mansour Sahebozamani, Elham Hosseini, Andreas Konrad, Sajad Noorian

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Summary: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of 4 weeks of soleus stretching on ankle flexibility and dynamic balance, as well as selected monitoring and performance tests in soccer. Forty-five healthy female soccer players were randomly divided into a regular stretching group, a regular stretching group with soleus stretching, and a control group. Dynamic stretching protocols were performed for 4 weeks during three sessions per week as part of routine exercises. The regular group stretched three muscle groups (i.e., gastrocnemius, quadriceps, and hamstrings), while the regular + soleus group also stretched the soleus muscle. Before and after the stretching intervention, the ankle range of motion test, Y-balance test, drop jump test, dynamic knee valgus test, and Illinois Agility Running Test were performed. Ankle ROM, Y-balance, and DJ significantly improved in both intervention groups compared to controls. Only the regular + soleus group showed improvement in the Illinois Agility Running Test. Additionally, athletes performing the additional soleus stretching had greater improvements in ankle ROM and DJ but not in DKV or Y-balance. The results showed that adding soleus stretching into regular protocols can provide benefits for female soccer players in terms of performance parameters.



#12 The effect of beetroot juice (Beta Vulgaris L.) supplementation on ṼO2max of youth soccer athletes

Reference: J Public Health Afr. 2022 Dec 7;13(Suppl 2):2406. doi: 10.4081/jphia.2022.2406.

Authors: Fajar Rachman Adji, Zaenal M Sofro, Mirza Hapsari

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Summary: Soccer athletes' performance is influenced by perfect ṼO2max. However, athletes often receive rigorous exercise without being supported by proper nutrition which can lead to oxidative stress. It is necessary to maintain performance by supplementing beetroot juice which contains betalains and inorganic nitrates so that oxidative stress can be controlled. This research is aimed to determine the effect of beetroot juice on the ṼO2max of soccer athletes. By using true experimental with randomized pre-test post-test control group design, 16 healthy males aged 16-19 years old were divided into two groups, treatment, and control. Data were analyzed by independent sample t-test and paired t-test. There is a significant difference in weight and body mass index (p<0.05). There is no significant difference in age, height, pre-body fat, post-body fat, Δbody fat, nutrition intake, school hours, sleep hours, and physical exercise as well as ṼO2max before and after intervention (p>0.05). There is a significant difference in ṼO2max change in both groups (p<0.05). Thus, both beetroot juice and placebo significantly affected the increase of ṼO2max levels in soccer athletes.



#13 Effects of Aerobic and Speed Training Versus Active Control on Repeated Sprint Ability and Measures of Self-confidence and Anxiety in Highly Trained Male Soccer Players

Reference: Sports Med Open. 2023 Jul 27;9(1):63. doi: 10.1186/s40798-023-00619-y.

Authors: Walid Selmi, Raouf Hammami, Sofien Kasmi, Sonia Sehli, Haithem Rebai, Michael Duncan, Mokhtar Chtara, Urs Granacher

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Summary: While there is ample evidence on the effects of single-mode aerobic and speed training on physical fitness in soccer players, less is known on the combined effects of these exercise regimens on physical and psychological factors. This study aimed to compare the effects of aerobic and speed training with soccer-specific training versus soccer-specific training only on aerobic performance during the YOYO intermittent fitness test level 1 (final velocity, total distance [TD], maximal oxygen consumption [VO2max]), repeated sprint ability (best, total sprint time [RSABT, RSATT], sprint decrement [RSA dec]) performance and somatic anxiety (SA), cognitive anxiety (CA), and self-confidence (SC) adaptations in soccer players. Thirty-eight highly trained male athletes aged 18.9 ± 0.5 years were randomly assigned to an aerobic and speed training group (COMB-G; n = 20) or an active control group (CON-G; n = 18). Aerobic training comprised intermittent exercises at 110-120% of the final velocity achieved at the end of the YOYO IL1 test. Speed training involved maximal sprints over 15-20-m with 5-6 sets per session. Aerobic or speed training lasted 20 min per session and replaced parts of the soccer-specific training. CON-G performed the soccer-specific training including technical, tactical drills and small-sided games. Training volume was similar between groups. Pre, post intervention, all participants performed a repeated-sprint ability (RSA) test, the YO-YO IL1 test and the players completed a Competitive Scale Anxiety Inventory (CSAI-2). A two (group: COMB-G, CON-G) by two (time: pre, post) mixed ANOVA (group-by-time) was computed. Significant group-by-time interactions were found for RSATT (F = 117.3; p < 0.001; Pη2 = 1.78), RSABT (F = 82.4; p < 0.001; Pη2 = 1.53), final velocity (F = 85.8; p < 0.001; Pη2 = 1.53), TD (F = 87.1; p < 0.001; Pη2 = 1.56), and VO2max (F = 18.0; p < 0.001; Pη2 = 0.72). In addition, significant group-by-time interactions were observed for SC (F = 90.2; p < 0.001; d = 1.60), SA (F = 60.5; p < 0.001; Pη2 = 1.70), and CA (F = 20.7; p < 0.001; Pη2 = 0.75). Post-hoc analyses indicated significant improvements for all dependent variables from pre- to post-training in favor of COMB-G. Aerobic and speed training in combination with soccer-specific training is a safe and effective training method as it exerts positive effects not only for physical fitness but also for self-confidence and the coping of anxiety in male soccer players.



#14 Effects of Flywheel vs. Free-Weight Squats and Split Squats on Jumping Performance and Change of Direction Speed in Soccer Players

Reference: Sports (Basel). 2023 Jun 23;11(7):124. doi: 10.3390/sports11070124.

Authors: Jakub Jarosz, Paulina Królikowska, Patryk Matykiewicz, Piotr Aschenbrenner, Paulina Ewertowska, Michał Krzysztofik

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Summary: The objective of this study was to compare (i) The effects of a flywheel and free-weight resistance training program; and (ii) The effects of performing lateral and frontal split squats as part of a flywheel-resistance training program on jumping performance, the 5-0-5 change of direction test time, and the one-repetition maximum (1RM) back squat in soccer players. Twenty-four male amateur soccer players participated in this study and were randomly and equally assigned to one of three different test groups: forward split-squat group (FSQ); lateral split-squat group (LSQ); and free-weight training group (TRAD). Athletes in the FSQ group performed a squat and a forward split squat on a flywheel device, while those in the LSQ group performed a squat and a lateral split squat (instead of a forward split squat) on a flywheel device. Each training lasted 4 weeks. The main finding was that all training groups, such as TRAD, FSQ, and LSQ, significantly improved broad jump length (p = 0.001; effect size [ES] = 0.36), 5-0-5 COD time with a turn on the dominant limb (p = 0.038; ES = 0.49), and 1RM back squat (p = 0.001; ES = 0.4). In turn, both flywheel-resistance training groups (FSQ and LSQ) significantly improved their counter-movement jump height (p = 0.001; ES = 0.8 and p = 0.002; ES = 0.58; respectively) with no effect in the TRAD (p = 0.676; ES = 0.07) training group. Both free-weight and flywheel-resistance training lasting 4 weeks performed in-season contributed to significant improvement in 1RM back squat, broad jump performance, and 5-0-5 change of direction testing time, while flywheel-resistance training might be superior in counter-movement jump height enhancement in soccer players. Moreover, the manner in which split squats were performed was not a factor influencing the obtained results.



#15 Star Excursion Balance Test as a Predictor of Musculoskeletal Injury and Lower Back Pain in Non-Professional Soccer Players

Reference: Sports (Basel). 2023 Jul 6;11(7):129. doi: 10.3390/sports11070129.

Authors: Iva Sklempe Kokic, Katarina Petric, Danijela Kuna, Stjepan Jelica, Tomislav Kokic

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Summary: Soccer is a sport with worldwide popularity but has a substantial risk of injury. Clinical screening tools are an important factor in strategies of injury prevention. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) and injury and lower back pain (LBP) in amateur soccer players. The research was performed as a longitudinal cohort study on 42 amateur male soccer players with 15.8 ± 6.6 years of soccer playing (age: 25.5 ± 6 years). Participants were surveyed with regard to their soccer playing, injuries, and LBP, and the SEBT was performed. They were followed for 3.5 months. At the follow-up, an additional set of data regarding injuries and LBP was gathered. Significant differences were found in all directions and in the composite score of the SEBT between uninjured and injured players. Shorter distance in all directions and a lower composite score were associated with injury in general. Shorter distances in all but the anterior direction and a lower composite score were associated with lower extremity injury, and shorter anterior distance was associated with LBP. Amateur soccer players with lower SEBT scores are more prone to injuries in general, as well as injuries of the lower extremities. SEBT presents as a useful clinical screening tool in identifying amateur soccer players at risk of injury.


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