Effects of Small-Sided Games vs. Interval Training in Aerobic Fitness and Physical Enjoyment in Young Elite Soccer Players

Asier Los Arcos, Juan Sebastián Vázquez, Juan Martín, Javier Lerga, Felipe Sánchez, Federico Villagra, Javier J Zulueta

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of Small-Sided Games (SSG) vs. Interval Training (IT) in soccer training on aerobic fitness and physical enjoyment in youth elite soccer players during the last 8 weeks of the season. Seventeen U-16 male soccer players (age = 15.5 ± 0.6 years, and 8.5 years of experience) of a Spanish First Division club academy were randomized to 2 different groups for 6 weeks: SSG group (n = 9) and IT group (n = 8). In addition to the usual technical and tactical sessions and competitive games, the SSG group performed 11 sessions with different SSGs, whereas the IT group performed the same number of sessions of IT. Players were tested before and after the 6-week training intervention with a continuous maximal multistage running field test and the counter movement jump test (CMJ). At the end of the study, players answered the physical activity enjoyment scale (PACES). During the study, heart rate (HR) and session perceived effort (sRPE) were assessed. SSGs were as effective as IT in maintaining the aerobic fitness in elite young soccer players during the last weeks of the season. Players in the SSG group declared a greater physical enjoyment than IT (P = 0.006; ES = 1.86 ± 1.07). Coaches could use SSG training during the last weeks of the season as an option without fear of losing aerobic fitness while promoting high physical enjoyment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0137224
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Sept 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Soccer
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

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