Changes in sprint-related outcomes during a period of systematic training in a girls' soccer academy

Matthew Wright, Gregory Atkinson

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    Longitudinal data tracking performance indicators collected during structured training are lacking in young female soccer players. Therefore, changes in 5-m acceleration, 20-m speed, change-of-direction speed and repeated-sprint ability were quantified during a three-year period in an FA Centre of Excellence. Fourteen players (mean age = 12.1 years, SD = ±0.9) were recruited and their best performance scores from pre-season and in-season testing were averaged. Players were typically exposed to soccer (2 x 90 min per week) and strength and conditioning training (1 x 70 min per week) and played 20 soccer matches (50-80 min) during 35-week seasons. Mean (±90%CL) overall improvements over the three years were 5.9% (1.3) (most likely large) for speed, 4.0% (1.0) (most likely large) for repeated-sprint ability, 8.8% (1.1) for acceleration and 8.3% (1.4) for change-of-direction speed (both most likely very large). Improvements between years one and two ranged from most likely moderate to very large. Further small improvements in change-of-direction speed and 20-m speed (both likely) were observed between years two and three. Individual differences in response were apparent only for change-of-direction speed, which were moderate and small between years two and three. Most likely very large to near perfect within-player correlations were observed between maturation and sprint measures. These data from a single-arm longitudinal study indicate that systematic exposure to training, which includes one dedicated strength and conditioning session each week, is associated with improvements in sprint related physical qualities in girls.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)-
    JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2017


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