Rampinini Ermanno, Marcora Samuele M, Castagna Carlo, Abt Grant, Chamari Karim, Sassi Aldo, and Impellizzeri Franco M
During soccer training, it is common to reduce the number of players on a side, and the size of the pitch. These small-sided games are one of the most common exercise modes used by coaches for soccer training. Several variables have been suggested to influence small-sided games intensity including the number of players involved, field dimension, rules and coach encouragement (Bangsbo, 1998; Balsom, 1999; Hoff et al., 2002). However, despite the growing interest for this specific training mode, no studies have investigated the effects of these variables on small-sided games exercise intensity. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of number of players, field dimension and coach encouragement, on small sided games intensity. Data were collected on twenty-five amateur soccer players. Specific aerobic interval training, during the competitive season, was performed using 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-a-side games in three different field dimensions (small, medium and large), with and without coach encouragement. Heart rate, rating of perceived exertion (RPE using CR10 scale) and blood lactate ([La-]) were measured. Significant main effects were found for the factors ¡¥number of players¡¦, ¡¥field dimension¡¦, and ¡¥coach encouragement¡¦ (P<0.05), while no interactions were found for any of the investigated variables (P>0.15). The exercise intensity ranged from 83.8 „b 5.0% of HRmax with 3.4 „b 1.0 mmol/l of [La-], and 4.8 „b 0.9 AU (RPE) during 6-a-side without coach encouragement and small field, to 90.9 „b 2.0% of HRmax with 6.5 „b 1.5 mmol/l of [La-], and 8.5 „b 0.4 AU (RPE) during 3-a-side with coach encouragement in a large field. By varying the number of players, from 6-a-side to 3-a-side, the absolute differences were 3.7%, 1.3 mmol/l, and 1.3 AU for % of HRmax, [La-], and RPE, respectively. Coach encouragement increased % of HRmax, [La-] and RPE by 2.2 %, 1.3 mmol/l, and 1.4 AU. Finally, smaller but significant increases were found comparing small to large field dimensions: absolute difference of 1.0 % of HRmax, 0.5 mmol/l of [La-], and 0.5 AU for RPE. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that small-sided games exercise intensity in soccer training can be manipulated by varying the number of soccer players, field dimensions, and the presence or absence of coach encouragement. By using different combination of these factors, coaches can modulate exercise intensity within the high intensity zone and, by doing so, control the aerobic training stimulus.
Communication to 10th European College of Sport Science Congress