The United States is in the midst of a physical activity (PA) crisis. Children across the country struggle to achieve the recommended dosage of daily PA. Sport is one mechanism for the accrual of PA in children. Soccer is one sport that has demonstrated efficacy in generating PA at a level commensurate with increases in health. With soccer, the use of small sided game training (SSG) has become an effective method for the development of match related performance outcomes in soccer players, the same outcomes associated with improved health. Much of the research has focused on elite male performers. However, there is minimal research investigating the effects of SSG training on youth, specifically club-level youth. In addition, the preponderance of research is focused on this mode of training for males, creating a gap in the literature detailing outcomes experienced by females. Previous research exploring the physiologic, time and motion, and skill outcomes associated with SSG training have been generally positive in both performance measures and health outcomes. There are questions as to the effectiveness of generalizing results to individuals who come from geographic regions where soccer is not a leading professional sport (e.g. United States). The potential for a difference in outcomes could exist with less cultural demand for performance in the sport. When this is juxtaposed against the poor results of children to receive the recommended dose of physical activity, there is a call for increased knowledge centered on SSG training, a popular training method. This research attempts to address the void in the literature using observational approaches. The results in indicate that SSG training produces greater time in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than at intensities below this threshold (p = .05). This effect was moderated by competition level (CL), with Premier (P) players generating greater values than Classic 1 (C1) players and Classic 3 (C3) players. Classic 1 players in turn generated greater values than Classic 3 players. Heart rate response, indicates that when measuring two unique heart rate thresholds, 70% HRmax and 85% HRmax, SSG training is efficacious in producing exercise intensities above these commonly used intensities (p value). With the use of a performance metric, positive possession (PosP), to delineate between CL in SSG training, significant results were found when stratifying PosP by CL (p = .05). This investigation adds to the existing body of knowledge describing the utility of this training modality. The effect of CL on these outcomes, along with descriptions of the moderating effect of time and player position, is described in this underrepresented population, club-level adolescent females. This works aligns previous research while laying the foundation for larger more comprehensive trials.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2015. Major: Kinesiology. Advisors: Dr. Beth Lewis, Dr. Stacy Ingraham. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 157 pages.
Statt, Eric H..
Small sided games: physical activity, heart rate, and skill outcomes in club-level, adolescent girls soccer.
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