Effect of altering tempo of the pre-match warm-up on skills in youth soccer

Viswanath B. Unnithan, Matthew Pook

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


The physiological consequences of a pre-match warm-up before a soccer match has been hypothesized to increase muscle temperature and range of joint movement, with a view to lowering the risk of injury during exercise. It is believed, however, that the warm-up can affect the soccer player's technical performance during competition and, therefore, the result of a match may rely on how effective the warm-up routine is.
PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to compare a high (HT)-and low-tempo (LT) pre-match warm-up on soccer-specific skills in a group of youth soccer players.
METHODS: 19 male, youth soccer players volunteered to participate in the study (Age: 16.9 ± 0.9 years, Stature: 1.73 ± 0.05 m and Body Mass: 64.7 ± 10.7 kg). The players taking part in this study were highly trained (Number of years playing competitive soccer: 8.6 ± 3.1; Hours per week training: 13.7 ± 4.8). All players participated in a HT (Heart rate: 160 ± 6 beats·min-1) and a LT (Heart rate: 132 ± 6 beats·min-1) warm-up lasting ten minutes. The tempo was modified by altering the dimension of the warm-up area and altering the speed of ball movement between players. Following each warm-up, the subjects carried out five skills test (Ball Control, Dribbling with a Pass, Dribbling Speed, Passing, and Shooting).
RESULTS: Significant differences (p<0.05) were identified between LT and HT for Ball Control (HT: 35 ± 2 vs. LT: 28.0 ± 3.0, number of touches in 90 s) and approached significance for Shooting Skills (HT: 16.1 ± 4.2 vs. LT: 13.9 ± 3.9 points, p=0.08). No significant difference between HT and LT were identified for: Dribbling with a Pass (HT: 7.34 ± 1.00 vs. LT: 7.49 ± 0.88), Dribbling Speed (HT: 13.11 ± 1.55 vs. LT: 13.73 ± 1.27 s) and Passing (HT: 2.4 ± 1.6 vs. LT: 2.6 ± 1.6 successful passes).
CONCLUSION: A high-tempo warm-up can enhance certain technical skills of youth soccer players. It is possible to speculate that this can be achieved through improved proprioception and preactivation mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-468
Number of pages2
JournalMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


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