Typical Weekly Workload of Under 15, Under 17, and Under 19 Elite Portuguese Football Players

Coutinho, D., Gonçalves, B., Figueira, B., Abade, E., Marcelino, R., Sampaio, J.

This study aims to describe the time–motion and physiological performance profiles of footballers aged under 15 (U15), under 17 (U17), and under 19 (U19) during a typical week of a competitive season. A total of 151 elite Portuguese players from the U15 (age 14.0 ± 0.2; n = 56), U17 (age 15.8 ± 0.4; n = 66), and U19 (age 17.8 ± 0.6; n = 19) age groups were monitored during 33 training sessions (TSs) (U15 n = 12; U17 n = 11; and U19 n = 10 TSs). The TS data were captured at 15 Hz by global positioning systems devices and divided into post-match (session after the match), pre-match (session before the match), and middle week (average of remaining sessions).

During the middle week, U15 players showed a higher number of sprints, distance covered in intermediate speed zones, and time spent above 90% HRmax, while the pre-match session presented a higher distance covered above 18 km · h−1 and time spent below 75% HRmax. In U17 players, both pre-match and post-match data showed lower values than middle-week data in most variables. The post-match data in U19 players presented higher values of distance covered above 13 km · h−1, body impacts above 10 G, and time spent above 85% HRmax, while middle-week data showed higher values in body impacts in most zones. Additionally, pre-match data presented 35% to 100% less values than the middle-week data.

Understanding the weekly workload variations according to the competition and the developmental ages of the players can contribute to optimizing short- and mid-term planning.

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