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Speed Endurance Training in Elite Youth Soccer Players

Ade, J (2019) Speed Endurance Training in Elite Youth Soccer Players. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The physical demands of soccer match play have significantly increased in recent years. As such, training methods must evolve to ensure players are able to cope with these demands over the course of a season. Speed endurance training is recommended to improve physical performance in elite soccer players, however scientific investigations into different protocols and modalities are sparse. The aim of Study 1 was to determine the exposure to speed endurance training over a season relative to all other conditioning drills. Secondary data was quantified over a 42-week season in an elite youth soccer team using five different conditioning drill categorisations. Speed endurance maintenance and extensive endurance where the most prominent conditioning drills whilst speed endurance production was the least frequent. Nonetheless, the relative distribution of running drills and small-sided games were almost equal for both speed endurance protocols. An investigation into different speed endurance modes and protocols in Study 2 revealed running drills elicit greater heart rate, blood lactate concentration and subjective ratings of perceived exertion than respective small-sided games. Players covered less total distance and high-intensity running distance in the small-sided games, but greater high-intensity acceleration/deceleration distance than in the respective running drills. Additionally, the speed endurance production drills produced greater blood lactate concentrations and high speed running demands than the respective maintenance protocols. These findings suggest speed endurance small-sided games could be used to train the anaerobic energy system, however a greater physiological response may be possible with soccer drills that expose players to greater high speed running demands. The aim of study 3 was to quantify movement patterns, technical skills and tactical actions associated with high speed running efforts during elite match play to provide information for position-specific speed endurance drills. Twenty individual English Premier League players high-intensity running profiles were observed multiple times using a computerised tracking system. Data was coded using a novel ‘High-intensity Movement Programme’ and revealed position-specific trends in and out of possession. This investigation was the first study to contextualise why playing positions perform high-intensity running efforts rather than simply reporting distances covered. In possession, wide midfielders executed more tricks post effort than centre backs and central midfielders whilst fullbacks and wide midfielders performed more crosses post effort than other positions. Out of possession, forwards completed more efforts closing down the opposition but less efforts tracking opposition runners than other positions. Distinct movement patterns were also evident out of possession with forwards performing more arc runs before efforts compared to centre backs, fullbacks and wide midfielders, however centre backs completed more 0-90° turns compared to fullbacks, central and wide midfielders. The data from Study 3 was used to design five individual position-specific speed endurance drills with the aim of exposing players to high speed running and the associated technical and tactical actions performed during a match. An investigation into the position-specific speed endurance drills in Study 4 revealed players covered greater distances across all speed thresholds attaining greater peak and average running speeds during the speed endurance production protocol compared to the maintenance drill. Mean and peak heart rate responses were greater in the maintenance protocol whilst blood lactate concentrations were higher following the production protocol. Minimal differences in neuromuscular function and ratings of perceived recovery were evident following either protocol up to 24 h post drill. The findings suggest position-specific speed endurance production drills should be prescribed to achieve a greater anaerobic stimulus and expose players to high running speeds whilst the maintenance protocol should be administered when a greater cardiovascular load is desirable with a concomitant reduction in high speed running. This research programme provides novel information comparing the physiological response and physical demands of various speed endurance drills in soccer. These studies were the first to report seasonal speed endurance practice and detail generic and position-specific speed endurance soccer drills based on contextualised match data. It is hoped the data from this research project can help applied staff understand the most appropriate speed endurance practices for elite youth players.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soccer; Speed Endurance; High Intensity Training; Position specific; Football
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports > GV711 Coaching
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 08:04
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 15:36
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00011390
Supervisors: Bradley, P
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11390
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