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Journal Article

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Soccer; Training; GPS; Training Load; Microcycle; Tapering Strategy


Quantifying the training content within elite professional soccer and analysis of tapering strategies has gained huge interest in recent times within the literature in order to maximise player performance. The formatting of training load tapering (TLT) appears to differ depending on the management in charge and microcycle coaching philosophy. The primary of this investigation was to analyse 9-weekly microcycles used and quantify the tapering strategy utilised through positional differences within a Chinese Superleague soccer team. Twenty-eight (n = 28) elite male professional soccer players participated within the study (± SD, age: 26.7 ± 3.7 years; body height: 181 ± 6.5 cm; body mass: 72.4 ± 4.6 kg) and bodyfat 9.3 ± 2.14 %. Thirty-six training sessions worth of data were collected for assessment with the data inclusive of 9 x 1-week full-training session microcycles per player, per position. Each player’s motional analysis were tracked using a 10 Hz GPS device (Statsport, Melbourne, Australia) and RPE scale was completed by each player post-each training session. Results for days preceding a match were shown to all be statistically significant for TDC, TDC.min-1, HSR, HSRmin-1, SP, ED, ED.min-1, and RPE (p < 0.05). Furthermore, playing position analysis revealed significant differences between each position across the microcycle structure (p < 0.05), but microcycles were non-significant in any of the models obtained (all p > 0.05), except for week 4 across the 9-weekly phase. To conclude, this investigation has shown how it is possible to maintain a structured tapering microcycle strategy whilst inducing daily physical outputs but without causing significant fluctuations in the weekly TLs. Furthermore, the investigation has also provided a tapering approach that may induce the significant variation of the positional demands, assisting also with the decoding of the individual conditioning needs of the players.

Source Publication

EC Orthopaedics

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