Comparison of physiological variables in elite youth and recreational soccer players and an age matched control group

Murray, Andrew (2005) Comparison of physiological variables in elite youth and recreational soccer players and an age matched control group. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Scotland is currently ranked 88th in the world for soccer. It has also been dubbed the 'sick man of Europe' with life expectancies less than former communist states and low levels of physical activity that may contribute to the declining attainment levels in Scottish soccer. Current soccer literature has a gap concerning the physiological characteristics of today's elite youth soccer players in comparison with recreational athletes and sedentary individuals. An analysis of the differences between sedentary, recreational and elite sporting individuals may establish if there is an additional health or physiological benefit of being an elite athlete compared to simply a recreational one. The aim of this project was to compare a range of physiological variables in male, elite {E} and recreational soccer players {R} and non-soccer players {NON-S} aged 16 years and to try and establish a test battery that would give baseline values for a Scottish population. Following institutional ethics approval, 20 elite soccer players (16.6+/-0.3 years, 176.2+/-5.3 cm, 67.5+/-6.5 kg, 12.2+/-4.8 %BF), 21 recreational soccer players (16.5+/-0.4 years, 172.6+/-5.7 cm, 64.3+/-7.3 kg, 18+/-4.8 %BF) and 13 non-soccer playing (16.3+/-0.4 years, 173.7+/-7.4 cm, 67+/-13.3 kg, 20.5+/-6.7 %BF) individuals were recmited. All subjects provided signed assent along with signed parental consent. Over a two-day assessment period (separated by 7 days) all subjects completed an identical test protocol. On day one, physical activity levels were determined via questionnaire before height and body mass were measured. Skinfold measurements were used to estimate % body fat (BF). Sprint speed over 10 and 20 m was measured, with the fastest of 3 sprints taken as a representative score for each subject. A sit-and-reach test was used to measure subject flexibility (best of 3 trials). Balance and ankle strength (dorsal/plantar flexion) were assessed before a treadmill determination of completed testing for day one. Day two consisted of isokinetic strength assessment of the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles of both legs at 30°/s and 180°/s in concentric and eccentric actions. Following appropriate checks on underlying assumptions, a fully repeated- measures factorial analyses of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine if there were any differences between groups. Significance level was set at P <0.05. Significant differences were detected in % BF, VO2peak and sprint times (P < 0.0005) and flexibility (P = 0.001). The elite players had higher scores than the non-soccer players for VO2 peak {E} 50.1+/-4 {R} 48.3+5 and {NON-S} 39.4+4 (P < 0.0005). For sprint speed all 3 populations were significantly different for 10 m split times {E} 1.44+/-0.05 s (over 10 m), 1.28+0.04 s (over 2nd 10 m of 20) {R} 1.61+/-0.16 s, 1.33+/-0.06 s and {NON-S} 1.87+0.11s, 1.44+/-0.11. The elite players were significantly more flexible than the other 2 populations {E} 36.8+/-8.3 cm {R} 27.4+/-8.9 cm and {NON-S} 25.5+/-9 cm (P = 0.001). Concentric quadriceps peak torque was, on average, greatest for the elite players, {E} 184.6+36.8 Nm {R} 166.2+/-28.9 Nm {NON-S} 148.3+42.9 Nm, (P < 0.02). There were no significant differences between groups for age, height, body mass or total physical activity. The results show that elite youth soccer players have higher VO2 peak, sprint speed, concentric quadriceps peak torque and lower % BF on average than non-soccer players. Recreational soccer players had, on average, a higher VO2 peak shorter sprint times than the non-soccer players. The differences between elite and recreational players are not as wide as might be expected. Comparison with elite youth soccer players in other countries shows that Scottish youth players have lower scores for VO2peak. The lower aerobic fitness scores for the non-soccer players suggest that increased activity levels will promote enhanced fitness levels in this population.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Kinesiology.
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2005
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2005-71487
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 14:31
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2021 15:02

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