Between-game variation of physical soccer performance measures in highly trained youth soccer players

Greg Doncaster, Viswanath Unnithan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
231 Downloads (Pure)


To assess the between-game variation in measures of physical performance during 11 v 11 soccer match-play, over a short period of time, in highly trained youth soccer players. A single cohort observational study design was employed. Physical match performance data were collected from 17 male, highly trained youth soccer players (age: 13.3 ± 0.4 y) over three, 2 x 20min, 11 v 11 matches. Using 10 Hz GPS, the variables selected for analyses were total distance (TD), high-speed running (HSR), very high-speed running (VHSR), number of high-speed running efforts (HSReff) and number of very high-speed running efforts (VHSReff). Match data was also separated into cumulative 5 min epochs, to identify the peak 5 min epoch and the mean of the cumulative 5 min epochs for each match. Variability was quantified using the coefficient of variation (CV), Standard error of measurement (SEM) and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). Between- and within-player smallest worthwhile changes (SWC) were also calculated for each variable to aid in the interpretation of the data. Analysis of the variance between games reported a low CV for TD (3.8%) but larger CVs for HSR (33.3%), HSReff (35.4%) and VHSR and VHSReff (59.6 and 57.4 %, respectively). Analysis of 5 min epochs (peak and average) found an increase in the CVs beyond that of the values reported for the whole match. Between-player SWC in high intensity physical performance data ranged from 24.7 - 42.4 %, whereas within-player SWC ranged from 1.2 - 79.9%. The between-game variability of high and very high intensity activities in youth soccer players, across three soccer matches over a short period of time (2 weeks), is relatively 'large' and specific to the individual, thus highlighting the need for caution when interpreting physical performance data between games and players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1912-1920
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019


  • Match play
  • Reliability
  • GPS analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Between-game variation of physical soccer performance measures in highly trained youth soccer players'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this