Using Small-Sided Games in Field Hockey: Can They Be Used to Reach Match Intensity?

Duthie G.M., Thomas E.J., Bahnisch J., Thornton H.R., Ball K.

The study investigated how speed and acceleration varied among different small-sided game (SSG) formats (2v2, 3v3, and 4v4) in comparison to competition in elite male field hockey athletes. Global Positioning System devices measured speed and acceleration during SSGs, and comparisons were made with maximal mean values from competition. Results indicated that there were non-substantial differences in mean speed and acceleration among SSG formats. However, compared to competition, mean speed was substantially lower across all SSG formats, while mean acceleration was higher. This suggests that SSGs effectively train and overload acceleration but may not replicate competition speed. Adjusting SSG constraints to match maximal competition speed may be necessary for optimal training benefits.

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