Most Running Demand Passages of Match Play in Youth Soccer Congestion Period

Castellano J., Martin-Garcia A., Casamichana D.

The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is a decline in players’ physical performance during periods of competition congestion, particularly focusing on the most demanding passages (MDP). Fifteen under-19 players from a Spanish first division club participated in the study, with data collected during 23 national and international official matches in the 2018/19 season. Matches in the Youth League were played between two matches in the national championship over six different weeks. Physical variables analyzed included total distance (TD) and distance covered at speeds exceeding 21 km/h (TD21). Using a rolling average, four time windows (1, 3, 5, and 10 minutes) were examined, with values normalized to minutes (mĀ·min-1). Key findings revealed that there were more MDP in the first halves compared to the second halves across all time windows, the central match of the week (Youth League) was the most demanding, and players maintained TD and TD21 during MDP in the third match compared to the first. These results offer valuable insights for coaches to design training tasks that replicate competition demands, particularly focusing on TD and TD21 across various time windows.

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