FSI Football Science Update

1. Match-related physical performance in professional soccer: Position or player specific?

Altmann S, Forcher L, Ruf L, Beavan A, Groß T, Lussi P, Woll A, Härtel S

TSG ResearchLab gGmbH, Zuzenhausen, Germany

PLoS One. 2021 Sep 10;16(9):e0256695. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256695

This study examined official match data from the 2019/20 German Bundesliga season of the 25 players that played a minimum of four entire matches in at least two different playing positions. For total distance, high-intensity distance, sprinting distance, and accelerations, when switching the position the change in physical match performance could be explained by 44-58% through the normative positional data. Moreover, there existed large individual differences in the way players adapted or maintained their performance when acting in different positions. 


2. 3-Week passive acclimation to extreme environmental heat (100± 3 °C) in dry sauna increases physical and physiological performance among young semi-professional football players

Bartolomé I, Siquier-Coll J, Pérez-Quintero M, Robles-Gil MC, Grijota FJ, Muñoz D, Maynar-Mariño M

Sport Sciences Faculty, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain

J Therm Biol. 2021 Aug;100:103048. doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2021.103048

18 male football players were acclimated using a dry sauna bath to extremely hot (100 ± 3 °C), performing a total of nine sauna sessions with a weekly frequency of three sessions, and compared with a control group of another 18 players. Players that did the acclimation experienced a significant diminution in body weight, body mass index, body fat, and fat percentage. Hamstring flexibility and work capacity increased. External basal temperature decreased as well as post-exercise systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Finally, maximal oxygen uptake, maximal minute ventilation, and maximal breath frequency increased. There were no significant changes in the control group in any variable. So this novel, promising but extreme protocol requires further research.


3. The Training of Medium- to Long-Distance Sprint Performance in Football Code Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Nicholson B, Dinsdale A, Jones B, Till K

Carnegie Applied Rugby Research Centre, Leeds Beckett University, UK

Sports Med. 2021 Sep 9. doi: 10.1007/s40279-021-01552-4

This systematic review with meta-analysis of 60 studies totaling 111 intervention groups and 1500 football code athletes found reported significant small-moderate performance improvements in the long-distance 0 to > 30 m for the combined and secondary (e.g., resisted or assisted sprinting) methods, and in the medium-distance0-30 m for tertiary training methods (e.g., non-specific methods including resistance training and plyometrics). Also, a moderate improvement was found in the Vmax phase performance only for tertiary training methods. Neither sport-only nor primary training methods (e.g., sprint technique, sprinting) appeared to enhance medium to long sprint performance. Performance changes may be attributed to either adaptation specific to the acceleration or Vmax phases, or both, but not exclusively Vmax. Sprint performance can be enhanced by increasing either the magnitude, either the orientation of the force an athlete can generate in the sprinting action, or both.