The purpose of this study was to investigate physiological responses to various intermittent and continuous small-sided games (SSGs) - including 2-a-side, 3-a-side, and 4-a-side games - in young soccer players. Twenty soccer players (average age 16.6±0.5 years; mean body height 176.2±4.6 cm; mean body mass 65.9±5.6 kg) voluntarily participated in this study. The subjects underwent anthropometric measurements followed by the YoYo intermittent recovery test. Then, they played intermittent (SSGint) and continuous (SSGcon) 2-a-side, 3-a-side, and 4-a-side soccer-specific SSGs in random order at 2-day intervals. Paired t-tests were used to assess differences between the training regimens (intermittent and continuous) in terms of heart rate (HR), percentage of maximum HR (%HRmax), and blood lactate concentration (LA). The differences in LA, HR and %HRmax between the 2-a-side, 3-a-side and 4-a-side SSGint or the 2-a-side, 3-a-side and 4-a-side SSGcon were identified using a one-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. The results demonstrated that the 3-a-side SSGint and SSGcon measurements were significantly higher than the 2-a-side and 4-a-side games in terms of HR and %HRmax, whereas the 2-a-side SSGint and SSGcon resulted in higher LA responses compared to other SSG types. The study results also demonstrated that SSGint and SSGcon are similar in terms of physiological responses except for 2-a-side game LA responses. The results of this study suggest that both SSGint and SSGcon could be used for the physiological adaptations required for soccer specific aerobic endurance.
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”.