Pitch Size and Game Surface in Different Small-Sided Games: Global Indicators, Activity Profile, and Acceleration of Female Soccer Players

López-Fernández J, Gallardo L, Fernández-Luna Á, Villacañas V, García-Unanue J, Sánchez-Sánchez J

Authors: López-Fernández, J., Gallardo, L., Fernández-Luna, A., Villacañas, V., García-Unanue, J., and Sánchez-Sánchez, J.

Title: Pitch size and game surface in different small-sided games. Global indicators, activity profile, and acceleration of female soccer players.

Journal: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 33(3), 831–838, 2019.

Aim: The research aimed to assess the influence of game surface and pitch size on the movement profile of female soccer players during small-sided games (SSGs) of 4 v 4.

Methods: Sixteen women participated in three different 4-a-side games (400, 600, and 800 m2) on three surfaces (ground [GR], artificial turf [AT], and natural grass [NG]). Time-motion variables were assessed using GPS devices (Spi Pro X, GPSports, Australia).

Results: Ground had the worst outputs on most variables. Natural grass achieved higher results than artificial turf in terms of total distance (SSG 400 [+37.000 m; p = 0.006]; SSG 600 [+59.989 m; p < 0.001]; and SSG 800 [+42.284 m; p < 0.001]). However, the smaller SSG (400) had the lowest values on most variables. Additionally, although the middle SSG (600) presented higher output than the bigger one (800) for body load (NG [+7.745 a.u.; p < 0.001]; AT [+8.207 a.u.; p < 0.001]; and GR [+5.879 a.u.; p < 0.001]), it had lower results for high-intensity distance (NG [213.15 m; p = 0.025] and AT [213.59 m; p = 0.026]). Despite women’s performance being higher on AT than GR, the NG surface still showed the highest outcomes in the most intense SSG. Moreover, although the performance increases in bigger pitches, if the size is too large the outputs could be reduced.

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