Castagna C1,2, Impellizzeri FM3, Cecchini E1, Rampinini E4, Alvarez JC5

1, San Marino Football Federation (FSGC), Department of Research, San Marino; 2, Corso di Laurea in Scienze Motorie, Facolta` di Medicina e Chirurgia, Universita` di Roma Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy; 3Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland; 4, Human Performance Laboratory, S. S. MAPEI, Italy;5, Facultad de Educacio´n y Humanidades de Melilla, Departamento de Educacio´n Fı´sica y Deportiva Universidad de Granada, Melilla, Spain

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of specific endurance (Yo-Yo Intermittent recovery test level 1, Yo-Yo IR1) on match performance in male youth soccer. Twenty-one young, male soccer players (age 14.1 +/- 0.2 years) were involved in the study. Players were observed during international championship games of corresponding age categories and completed the Yo-Yo IR1 on a separate occasion. Physical (distance coverage) and physiological match demands were assessed using Global Positioning System technology and heart rate (HR) short-range telemetry, respectively. During the match (two 30-minutes halves), players covered 6,204 +/- 731 m, of which 985 +/- 362 m (16%) were performed at high intensities (speed >13 km/h, HIA). A significant decrement (3.8%, p = 0.003) in match coverage was evident during the second half. No significant (p = 0.07) difference between halves was observed for HIA (p = 0.56) and sprint (speed >18 km/h, SPR) distances. During the first and second halves, players attained the 86 +/- 5.5 and 85 +/- 6.0% of HRmax (p = 0.17), respectively. Peak HR during the first and second halves were 100 +/- 4 and 99.4 +/- 4.7% of HRmax, respectively. Yo-Yo IR1 performance (842 +/- 352 m) was significantly related to match HIA (r = 0.77, p < 0.001) and total distance (r = 0.65, p = 0.002). This study’s results showed that specific endurance, as determined by Yo-Yo IR1 performance, positively affects physical match performance in male young soccer players. Consequently, the Yo-Yo IR1 test may be regarded as a valid test to assess game readiness and guide training prescription in male youth soccer players.

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Oct;23(7):1954-9.