Publication

Small-sided games in youth soccer: performance and behavior compared to the official match

Olthof, S., 2019, [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. 142 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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DOI

A small-sided game is a widely used training format in soccer. The purpose is to replicate (situations from) an official match. Adaptations in pitch size, number of players, and rules affect players’ physical, technical, and tactical performance in these games and the representation for the match. Therefore, this thesis aimed to determine the relation between performance in small-sided games and the official match for elite youth soccer players.

A series of small-sided games were played utilizing a variety in number of players and two pitch sizes: a smaller pitch area, typically used in practice, and a larger pitch area, with an equivalent area per player to that of a match. Performance during small-sided games was compared with official matches for different age groups.

A large pitch afforded players to adopt a greater dispersion resulting in greater distances between players and teams. Likewise, these distances varied more and players’ physical performance increased. In general, distances between players in these small-sided games were comparable to those during matches, i.e. 9-12 meters, regardless of the number of players per team. However, age-related differences were present in the relation between small-sided games and matches. Also, a lack of match-related pressure in small-sided games mostly affected physical and technical performance, but is less apparent in tactical behavior.

Concluding, a similar area per player as the match afforded more space which resulted in comparable distances between players as the match. Such small-sided games better represent the demands of the official match, especially in the tactical domain.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date9-Oct-2019
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1821-6
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1820-9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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