Effect of the Pitch Size And Presence of Goalkeepers on the Work Load of Players During Small-Sided Soccer Games

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Karel Hulka, Radim Weisser, Jan Belka

Small-sided games (SSGs) are spontaneous forms of specific training where exercise intensity can be manipulated by modifying external factors. To ensure suitable usage of small-sided games in practice, we have to know which variables can influence internal responses and external loads. The aim of the present study was to determine the influence of presence of a goalkeeper and the pitch size on internal responses and the external load during five-a-side soccer games. Twenty nine junior soccer players (age: 18.11 ± 1.31 years; body mass index: 21.04 ± 2.58 kg·m-2; peak heart rate: 199.53 ± 7.51 beats·min–1) participated in the study. The heart rate, distance covered and the rate of perceived exertion were monitored. We found significantly higher average heart rates of players in 5v5 SSGs without goalkeepers than with them on a small pitch. Analysis showed significant differences in the time spent in 65-85% of the peak heart rate zone and ˂65% of the peak heart rate zone on the small pitch. Furthermore, we found significantly higher distance covered by players during five-a-side games with goalkeepers than without them played on the small pitch. Our results indicate that the pitch size is a very important variable that influences the work load of players. The inclusion of the goalkeeper decreases the work load of the player on a small pitch (28 x 20 m; 560 m2), but not on a medium or large pitch.
DOI: 10.1515/hukin-2015-0180
Key words
heart rate, distance covered, specificity, RPE, tactical metabolic training

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