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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 April;56(4):376-82

lingua: Inglese

Comparison of physical performance among Brazilian elite soccer players of different age-categories

Ronaldo KOBAL 1, Irineu LOTURCO 1, Saulo GIL 3, Cesar C. CAL ABAD 1, Rogério CUNIYOCHI 4, Renato BARROSO 2, Valmor TRICOLI 3

1 NAR, Nucleus of High Performance in Sport, São Paulo, Brazil; 2 Faculty of Physical Education, State University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil; 3 School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 4 Audax São Paulo Esporte Clube, São Paulo, Brazil


BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to compare the physical performance (i.e., strength, power, speed and endurance) between Brazilian elite soccer players from different categories of the same club: professionals (PRO), under-20 (U-20), and under-17 (U-17).
METHODS: Seventy-one soccer players from three categories (PRO=24; U-20=21 and U-17=26) were assessed at the beginning of pre-season. Before the tests, they were familiarized with all experimental procedures. Squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), sprint (10 m/20 m), maximum dynamic strength (1RM), and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery tests level 1 were performed in three non-consecutive sessions.
RESULTS: No significant differences were found between the categories for sprint times. The PRO players presented higher outcomes in the 1RM, SJ, CMJ, and Yo-Yo tests than the U-20 and U-17 players (P≤0.05). No significant differences were found between the U-20 and U-17 players in 1RM, and SJ/CMJ heights. The U-20 presented superior performance than the U-17 in the Yo-Yo test (P≤0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicated that PRO performed better than younger players in all assessments, except for the sprint tests. This may have been possible due to the differences in training experience, technical expertise and individual levels of strength/power. However, the absence of differences between the U-20 and U-17 groups highlighted the necessity of developing specific training strategies in order to improve the physical capacities of younger players, throughout the maturation process. Moreover, due to the importance of sprinting in soccer, it is strongly recommended that fitness coaches develop more effective strategies to improve speed ability in professional players.

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