Does an in-season 6-week combined sprint and jump training program improve strength-speed abilities and kicking performance in young soccer players?

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Mario C. Marques, Ana Pereira, Ivan G. Reis, Roland van den Tillaar

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a six-week combined jump and sprint training program on strength-speed abilities in a large sample of youth competitive soccer players. It was hypothesized that the experimental training group would enhance their jumping and sprinting abilities. Enhancement of kicking performance was also hypothesized due to an expected increase in explosive strength established by a plyometric and sprinting regimen. Fifty-two young male soccer players playing at the national level (aged 13.4 ± 1.4 years, body mass 53.4 ± 11.7 kg, body height 1.66 ± 0.11 m) took part in the study. Half of the group underwent the plyometric and sprint training program in addition to their normal soccer training, while the other half was involved in soccer training only. The plyometric training group enhanced their running (+1.7 and +3.2%) and jumping performance (+7.7%) significantly over the short period of time, while the control group did not. Furthermore, both groups increased their kicking velocity after just six weeks of training (+3.3 vs. 6.6%). The findings suggest that a short in-season 6-week sprint and jump training regimen can significantly improve explosive strength in soccer-specific skills and that these improvements can be transferred to soccer kicking performance in terms of ball speed.
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2013-0078
Key words
speed training, lower extremity, kicking, soccer

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