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Preseason Training Sessions & In-Season Injuries

Ekstrand J, Spreco A, Windt O & Khan KM (2020). Are Elite Soccer Teams’ Preseason Training Sessions Associated With Fewer In-Season Injuries? Am J Sports Med, 1-7.

FSI Staff

Football Science Institute

The preseason is one of the most interesting moments and discussed by the football professional community. One of the objectives of the preseason is to develop physical capacities and prepare the player for the competition. However, there are no studies which have compared the association in several teams between the preseason training workloads and the injury rates in-season. Therefore, they investigated whether the number of preseason training sessions among elite soccer teams was related to injury rates and player availability during their competitive seasons.

“They investigated whether the number of preseason training sessions among elite soccer teams was related to injury rates and player availability”

Regarding the methods, they used the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) injury dataset to analyze 44 teams for up to 15 seasons (total, 244 team-seasons). Separate linear regression models examined the association between the number of team preseason training sessions and 5 in-season injury measures. Injury-related problems per team were quantified by totals of the following: (1) injury burden, (2) severe injury incidence, (3) training attendance, (4) match availability, and (5) injury incidence.

The results of this study showed that:

  • More preseason team training sessions were associated with lower injury burden for the whole season (P = .002) (figure 1-1).
  • Undertaking a greater number of preseason team training sessions was associated with fewer severe injuries (injury incidence) for the whole season (P = .015) (Figure 1-2).
  • More preseason team training sessions was associated with higher team training attendance for the whole season (Figure 1-3).
  • More preseason team training sessions were associated with higher team match availability for the whole season (P = .042) (Figure 1-4).

“More preseason team training sessions was associated with higher team training attendance for the whole season”

Figure 1. Scatterplots between preseason training volume and in-season (1) injury burden, (2) injury incidence, (3) training attendance, and (4) match attendance.

FSI statements & take home messages:

  1. The preseason period (i.e. volumen) helps development players for the demands of the upcoming season period. However, give that just 3.2% (best data) of the variance is shared between variables, we should be cautious in interpreting the results of this investigation.
  2. The authors suggest that more pre-season sessions are associated with greater “availability” of the soccer player in season. Possibly as a result of an improvement in the daily “healthy habits” of the player. Nevertheless, the adjusted R2 reported was 1.3%, a limited shared variance. More contributions are needed to clarify these conclusions.

“Give that just 3.2% (best data) of the variance is shared between variables, we should be cautious in interpreting the results of this investigation”

 

 

FSI Staff

Football Science Institute

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