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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2020 May 20

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.10726-6


language: English

Game-based vs mulitaleral approach: effects of a 12-week program on motor skill acquisition and physical fitness development in soccer school children

Federico ABATE DAGA 1, 2 , Luca BASEGGIO 2, Massimiliano GOLLIN 3, Luca BERATTO 2

1 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Adapted Training and Performance Research Group, School of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Department of Medical Sciences University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 3 Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy


BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a 12-week- game-based training versus a traditional multilateral approach on motor skills acquisition and physical fitness, in a group of U9 children playing soccer.
METHODS: 40 Children 9 years old or younger (U9) recruited from a local soccer school were assigned in a 1:1 ratio to a game-based training program (GB) or a multilateral training (MA) approach. The training programs lasted 12 weeks, and players were tested at baseline and at the end of the program (12-week follow-up). The outcomes were: standing long jump test, shuttle dribble test, 10x5 shuttle run test and Mini-Cooper test.
RESULTS: Within-group comparisons showed statistically-significant improvements in both of the groups: standing long lump (p < 0.0001), shuttle dribble test (p < 0.0001), shuttle run test (p < 0.0001) and Mini-Cooper test (p < 0.0001). Furthermore, the MA group showed better performance in the shuttle run test after 12 weeks of training compared to the GB group (p= 0.0002; +8%).
CONCLUSIONS: A multilateral approach promotes physical development in U9 soccer players without affecting learning of soccer skills. Therefore, a multilateral approach should be included in soccer training programs to ensure an optimal development in young soccer players.

KEY WORDS: Prepubertal soccer; Skills acquisition; Physical development; Motor learning; Multilaterally

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