Internal and External Loads in Training Week Before Competition in U19 High-Level Soccer Players

Martín-López, A., Mendes, R. S., & Castillo-Rodríguez, A.

Aim: The aim of this study was to quantify the different loads in training sessions (TRs) according to days before the competition (P-4, P-2, and P-1) in U19 soccer players based on their playing position and their sport success.

Participants: Twenty-four male Spanish high-level players, with an average age of 16.5 ± 0.5 years, height of 1.69 ± 0.04 m, and body mass of 63.0 ± 6.3 kg, participated in the study. They were categorized based on their playing position: external defenders, internal defenders (ID), external midfielders, internal midfielders (IM), and forwards (FO).

Methods: The study utilized global positioning system technology to measure internal and external loads during TRs. A 1-way analysis of variance and Pearson correlation were performed to analyze the data.

Results: The study found that ID, IM, and players without sport success exhibited the highest physical and physiological responses in the TRs, particularly during P-2. Sport success was predicted by mean heart rate (R^2 = 0.33; p < 0.001). Conclusion: Players covering central positions in the playing field, such as ID and IM, demonstrated higher physical and physiological demands compared to players covering exterior or forward positions. Additionally, the physical and physiological responses during TRs before the competition (P-2) may resemble those produced in competitive matches and may vary depending on the sport success of the soccer player.

View this research