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A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 Sep 15

language: English

Small-sided football games on sand are more physical-demanding but less technical-specific compared to artificial turf

Vincenzo RAGO 1, António N. REBELO 1, Federico PIZZUTO 2, Daniel BARREIRA 1

1 Center of Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; 2 Academy Strength and Conditioning Department, Futebol Clube do Porto, Porto, Portugal


BACKGROUND: The use of sand has been suggested as fitness-enhancing surface in field-based team sports. However, concerns have arisen in regard whether physical responses associated to sand training are sport-specific. We compared physical and technical demands during small-sided football games (4v4 + goalkeeper; SSGs) played on artificial turf and on sand.
METHODS: Movement patterns, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and technical parameters were obtained from eight adult male footballers (20.1±1.0 years, 176±4 cm and 70.1±2.0 kg) using Global Positioning Systems, Visual Analogue Scale questionnaires and Notational analysis respectively.
RESULTS: High-intensity actions (high intensity running, high intensity activities), low changes of speed, as well as peak and average speed were higher on artificial turf (p<0.05; Effect sizes (ES) from 0.41 to 0.82). In contrast, time spent by jogging as well as high and maximum changes of speed was higher on sand (p<0.05; ES from 0.59 to 0.82). Moreover, players perceived more demanding to play on sand (p<0.05; ES=0.72). Rating of successful actions was higher during turf SSGs than sand SSGs (p<0.05; ES from 0.44 to 0.73), whereas actions requiring lifting the ball were higher on sand (p<0.05; ES from 0.47 to 0.50).
CONCLUSIONS: The use of sand can be considered as complemental to on-turf football training, when the training goal is to tax lower−limb muscle strength or to require high-ball situations. Nonetheless, sand training is not appropriate when the achievement of maximal speed is desired. Further research should clarify the suitability of sand training within football conditioning programmes.

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