Background: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of two 8-week sprint training programs on the speed and sport-specific skills of young soccer players and to determine additional effects of 8 weeks’ whole body rotation.
<bold>Material/Methods: </bold>Twenty-two Under-18 soccer players were divided into two groups: a running group (RG) and a ball group (BG). The RG completed sprint training without the ball, whereas the BG members trained with the ball. The 5-, 10-, 15-, 20- and 30-m sprint times and the level of soccer-specific skills were measured before and after completing the training programs.
<bold>Results: </bold>A significant (p < 0.05) time interaction was found in sprint times at all distances. The players from both groups achieved significantly better sprint times on the distances of 15 m and 30 m; additionally, an improvement in the 20 m sprint time was noted in the BG. No significant changes in the level of soccer-specific skills were found.
<bold>Conclusions: </bold>Sprint training performed with a ball might be equally efficient as a traditional non-ball method for developing players’ speed. Moreover, soccer-specific sprint training may improve certain technical skills in young players.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.