FSI Football Science Update

Beyond Distance: A Simple Qualitative Assessment of the Single-Leg Hop Test in Return-to-Play Testing.

Paolo SD, Zaffagnini S, Tosarelli F, Grassi A, Della Villa F .

Sports Health. 2022 Jan 26:19417381211063450. doi: 10.1177/19417381211063450

This study on competitive football (soccer) players found that a 2D qualitative assessment performed through a scoring system based on the video-analysis of sagittal plane joint kinematics (0/2 (inadequate), 1/2 (partially adequate), or 2/2 (adequate)), correlated with the stiffness of the landing measured by the vGRF on a force platform. Thus, this qualitative scoring system effectively identified stiff landings in the SLH for distance test and could be a user-friendly method to assess athletes’ movement quality.




The sensitivity of countermovement jump, creatine kinase and urine osmolality to 90-min of competitive match-play in elite English Championship football players 48-h post-match.

Beattie CE, Fahey JT, Pullinger SA, Edwards BJ, Robertson CM.

Sci Med Footb. 2021 May;5(2):165-173. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1828614

This study examines fatigue changes 48 hours after 90-minutes of competitive match-play in 18 elite English Championship football players over a season, finding increases in blood CK (49%), and decreases in CMJ performance (2.4-7.4%), these related with the high-intensity running match data.




Menstrual cycle phase and elite female soccer match-play: influence on various physical performance outputs.

Julian R, Skorski S, Hecksteden A, Pfeifer C, Bradley PS, Schulze E, Meyer T.

Sci Med Footb. 2021 May;5(2):97-104. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1802057

This study analyzed 76 complete individual match observations, 36 from the follicular and 40 from the luteal phase in 15 elite female soccer players. Very high-intensity running distance was significantly greater during the luteal phase compared to the follicular phase, but this finding was accompanied by large variations across matches, so the results suggest that the menstrual cycle phase does not influence match physical performance of female soccer players to a significant degree, and at present, interventions or other methods of coping with menstrual cycle phase do not seem necessary on a group/team level to maximise competitive physical performance.




The influence of the offside rule on players’ positional dynamics in soccer small-sided games.

Praça GM, Chagas MH, Bredt SGT, Andrade AGP, Custódio IJO, Rochael M.

Sci Med Footb. 2021 May;5(2):144-149. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1819559

BACKGROUND: Previous studies on soccer small-sided games (SSGs) chose between with and without offside rule conditions without evidence-based criteria. This study compares the positional dynamics of 3v3 SSGs with and without the offside rule in Brazilian U-17 national-level soccer players. The offside rule impacts players’ positional behavior in SSGs, inducing a less exploratory behavior mainly in the width axis.




Occurrences of near-to-maximal speed-running bouts in elite soccer: insights for training prescription and injury mitigation.

Buchheit M, Simpson BM, Hader K, Lacome M.

Sci Med Footb. 2021 May;5(2):105-110. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1802058. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

To quantify the occurrence of near-to-maximal speed-running bouts reaching >80, >85 and >90% of players’ individual maximal sprinting speed (MSS), tracking match data from 35 elite professional soccer players were analysed over four seasons (2015-2019). Occurrences were slightly-to-moderately position-dependent, with wingers (3.5 ± 2.0 runs >80% per half) and central midfielders (1.6 ± 1.5 runs >80% per half) performing the most and the least number of near-to-maximal speed-running bouts. Players did not reach >90% of MSS at all in 35% (Attackers) to 65% (Midfielders) of their matches. So, the occurrence of near-to-maximal speed-running bouts is low in elite soccer.




Do elite soccer players cover less distance when their team spent more time in possession of the ball?

Lorenzo-Martinez M, Kalén A, Rey E, López-Del Campo R, Resta R, Lago-Peñas C.

Sci Med Footb. 2021 Nov;5(4):310-316. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1853211. Epub 2020 Dec 2.


In this study match performance data were collected from players in Spanish LaLiga (8,468 individual match observations of 412 outfield players) using a multiple-camera computerised tracking system. Overall, physical indicators were highly associated with ball possession, with lower distances covered by very high-percentage ball possession teams. Especially, in these teams Attackers (central midfielders, external midfielders and forwards) covered fewer meters per minute at any speed. However, in defenders (Central defenders and External defenders) in the very low-percentage ball possession teams covered lower distances.






Immediate effects of an acute bout of repeated soccer heading on cognitive performance.

Ashton J, Coyles G, Malone JJ, Roberts JW.

Sci Med Footb. 2021 Aug;5(3):181-187. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1846769

In this study, 30 recreational male soccer players were divided into three groups that undertook 20 consecutive headers with a soft (8.8 psi), hard (16.2 psi), or no (control) ball. Heading negatively influenced one indicator of a suspected concussion (King-Devick), as well as the working memory that is essential for daily life. These findings contribute to the growing debate surrounding heading safety.






Negative Effects of Mental Fatigue on Performance in the Yo-Yo Test, Loughborough Soccer Passing and Shooting Tests: A Meta-Analysis.

Grgic J, Mikulic I, Mikulic P.

J Funct Morphol Kinesiol. 2022 Jan 13;7(1):10. doi: 10.3390/jfmk7010010

This systematic review of bibliographic databases (Academic Search Elite, AUSPORT, Cochrane Library, PsycInfo, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science) resulting in 7 studies found that Mental fatigue reduced the performance in the Yo-Yo test and the Loughborough soccer passing test, showing that mental fatigue negatively impacts endurance-based running performance as well as soccer passing and shooting skills.




A systematic review on methodological variation in acute:chronic workload research in elite male football players.

Wang A, Healy J, Hyett N, Berthelot G, Okholm Kryger K.

Sci Med Footb. 2021 Feb;5(1):18-34. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2020.1765007

This systematic review on PubMed, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, and Embase selected 12 articles investigating the effects of ACWR on male elite footballer injuries. All studies were of poor quality, and all of them applied rolling average ACWRs, exploring 1:2, 1:3, and 1:4-week load ratio windows. Differences in data grouping, inference or regression analysis, and other statistical methods were noted, so displaying important methodological heterogeneity.




Linear Advancing Actions Followed by Deceleration and Turn Are the Most Common Movements Preceding Goals in Male Professional Soccer.

Martínez Hernández D, Quinn M, Jones P.

Sci Med Footb. 2022 Jan 21. doi: 10.1080/24733938.2022.2030064

This study on data collected through time-motion analysis from soccer players participating in the English Premier League found that the most common individual movement preceding a goal was a linear advancing motion (32.4 ± 1%), followed by deceleration (20.2 ± 0.9%) and turn (19.8 ± 0.9%). Actions also involved were change in angle run (cut and arc run), ball blocking, lateral advancing motion (crossover and shuffle) and jumps. In 82.9 ± 1.5% of player involvements there was at least 1 high intensity (HI) movement with assistant showing the lowest percentage and defender of scorer the highest.