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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2002 September;55(3):181-7

language: English

Physiological eval­u­a­tion of ­elite ­young soc­cer ­players. A lon­gi­tu­di­nal ­study

Sproviero E. 1, 2, De Vito G. 3, Felci U. 1, Macaluso A. 3, Marchettoni P. 1

1 Institute of Human Physiology, I Chair, “La Sapienza“ University of Rome, Rome, Italy;
2 Unit of Rehabilitation, Unified Hospital of Lagonegrese, ASL 3 PZ, Lauria, Italy;
3 Applied Physiology Grup Strathclyde Institute for Biomedical Science, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK


The ­present ­study ­aimed to ­describe, lon­gi­tu­di­nal­ly, the phys­io­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of cir­ca-puber­tal soc­cer ­players. The sam­ple was divid­ed ­into 8 prepuber­tal (PP), and 6 midpuber­tal (MP) sub­jects accord­ing to the lev­el of sex­u­al matur­ity. Participants ­were ­assessed initial­ly (T1) and ­after 2 ­years of reg­u­lar train­ing (T2). Peak oxy­gen ­uptake (V.O2­peak) and ven­til­a­to­ry thresh­old (Tvent), ­were ­used as indi­ca­tors of car­di­o­res­pir­a­to­ry fit­ness. Maximal mus­cle ­peak pow­er (Wp) was ­assessed by a squat­ting ­jump (SJ) and a coun­ter­move­ment ­jump (CJ), per­formed on a ­force plat­form. No sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­enc­es ­were ­found ­between the two ­groups in V.O2­peak at T1 (60.1±5.1 [PP] and 65.0±7.2 [MP] ml . kg-1 . min-1), V.O2 at Tvent cor­re­spond­ed to ­about the 80% of V.O2­peak in ­both ­groups. Wp (W . kg-1) was sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er in MP ­only in SJ (p<0.05). At the sec­ond eval­u­a­tion (T2) ­only PP sub­jects ­showed a sig­nif­i­cant incre­ment in all var­i­ables. This ­study ­showed the ­high lev­el of phys­i­cal fit­ness of ­these ath­letes, and con­firms the impor­tance of ­growth and sex­u­al mat­u­ra­tion for devel­op­ing phys­i­cal fit­ness in cir­ca-puber­tal sub­jects. Further ­research is need­ed to ver­i­fy ­these find­ings, espe­cial­ly includ­ing a con­trol ­group of ­untrained chil­dren.

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