11 March, 2019

ARE SMALL-SIDED GAMES THE SOLUTION TO ALL OUR PROBLEMS?

Sports Performance
Team Sports
Blog
160K

One of today’s most attention-grabbing topics among sports researchers, coaches and managers have to do with the study of maximal demand scenarios, also known as “worst case scenarios”. In recent years, we’ve seen a number of new studies that describe the demands of competition in different sports – with a particular focus on these moments of maximal activity (Martín-García et al., 2018). Recently, an article was published in the International Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in which the authors compare the activity of these maximal demand scenarios during competition, with the average demands of two very common training tasks currently in use: 4 vs. 4 situations in a 39 x 39 m space (152 m2 per player) and 6 vs. 6 situations in a 47 x 43 m space (144 m2 per player), both of which include goalkeepers as part of the exercise. During the games that were analyzed, an average match value was obtained for each of the physical variables studied. In addition, the highest value was obtained via the Rolling average method over 5-minute periods. The results of the study show how these types of training situations – in terms of distance covered per minute – do not reach the values for the maximal demand scenario within an actual match (137.0 ± 9.9 m·min-1).  They show values close to those obtained for the match average (match average = 117.2 ± 8.6 m·min-1; 115.9 ± 8.9 and 106.4 ± 11.4 m·min-1 in 4 vs. 4 and 6 vs. 6, respectively). These differences between match demand (peak and average) and the training task demands are maximized when we analyze runs performed at high speed (>19.8 km·h-1) and at a sprint (>25.2 km·h-1). However, these short-sided game situations do appear to replicate the demands of the maximum demand scenarios in actual competition with respect to accelerations·min-1 and player load·min-1, with higher values in the smaller format (4 vs. 4 + goalkeepers in 39 x 39 m). Furthermore, in both training situations, the values obtained exceed those obtained in the match average, both in terms of the acceleration variable as well as player load per minute.

Figure 1.1. Average values of distance covered (m/min) and distance covered at high speed (>19.8 km/h; m/min) in the match analyses and in the training tasks studied. Adapted from Dalen et al. (2019).

Therefore, as it has been demonstrated in previous studies, these types of training tasks do not appear to allow players experience situations close to those demanded by official matches in terms of total distance covered and runs performed at high speed and at a sprint. Given that much literature has emerged in recent years supporting the need to include sprint stimuli in an athlete’s preparation with the objective of minimizing injury risk (Malone et al., 2018), it seems appropriate to supplement training with other types of practices. Furthermore, as we seek to optimize our players’ state of physical conditioning, it seems necessary to include stimuli that approach or even exceed the demands of competition. As such, it is appropriate to include other types of tasks in addition to those proposed by the researchers responsible for this study. Playing situations with larger spatial dimensions (Castellano and Casamichana, 2016), finishing situations involving few players and a large space (Ade et al., 2014), analytical situations focused on intermittent running (Lacome et al., 2018), or repeat sprints (Rodríguez-Fernández et al., 2017) may be alternatives in this process of optimizing the players’ state of physical conditioning.

 

David Casamichana

 

For more information on maximum demand scenarios during competition, visit the Workload Management in Soccer Certificate.

 

References

Ade, J.D., Harley, J.A., & Bradley, P.S. (2014). Physiological response, time-motion characteristics, and reproducibility of various speed-endurance drills in elite youth soccer players: small-sided games versus generic running. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 9(3):471-9.

Castellano, J. and Casamichana, D. (2016). El arte de planificar en fútbol. Futboldelibro.

Dalen, T., Sandmæl, S., Stevens, T.G.A., Hjelde, G.H., Kjøsnes, T.N., & Wisløff, U. (2019). Differences in Acceleration and High-Intensity Activities Between Small-Sided Games and Peak Periods of Official Matches in Elite Soccer Players. J Strength Cond Res, DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003081. [Epub ahead of print]

Lacome, M., Simpson, B.M., Cholley, Y., Lambert, P., & Buchheit, M. (2018). Small-Sided Games in Elite Soccer: Does One Size Fit All? Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 1;13(5):568-576.

Malone, S., Owen, A., Mendes, B., Hughes, B., Collins, K., & Gabbett, T.J. (2018). High-speed running and sprinting as an injury risk factor in soccer: Can well-developed physical qualities reduce the risk? J Sci Med Sport. 2018 Mar;21(3):257-262.

Martín-García, A., Casamichana, D., Díaz, A.G., Cos, F., & Gabbett, T.J. (2018). Positional Differences in the Most Demanding Passages of Play in Football Competition. J Sports Sci Med. 2018 Nov 20;17(4):563-570.

Rodríguez-Fernández, A., Sánchez Sánchez, J., Rodríguez-Marroyo, J.A., Casamichana, D., & Villa, J.G. (2017). Effects of 5-week pre-season small-sided-game-based training on repeat sprint ability. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 57(5):529-536. ¡

 

RELATED NOTES

FOOTBALL IS FOR FOOTBALLERS

FC Barcelona recently held a conference entitled “Barça: Female and Diverse” to coincide with the International Women’s Day, organized at the Camp Nou facilities.

MAXIMUM DEMAND SCENARIOS IN POSITIONAL PLAY: ARE THEY EQUALLY REPLICATED ACROSS ALL POSITIONS?

Players’ conditional response during competition, for example, distance covered at a run, has traditionally been described using the average value covered during a half or full game.

THE INFLUENCE OF THE PERCEIVED EXERTION RATING ON FOOTBALL TRAINING AND COMPETITION.

Monitoring training load is one of the fundamental tools for optimising the performance of both elite athletes in general and football players in particular.

HOW DO THE NUMEROUS CONSTRAINTS AFFECTING ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER?

We know that athletic performance is a complex phenomenon that depends on numerous constraints, but do we know how these constraints relate to and interact with each other?

A SIMPLE AND INNOVATIVE INDICATOR FOR WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL AND WHEELCHAIR RUGBY TRAINING

Despite the growing interest in Paralympic sports, research into performance in elite wheelchair sports has seen very little development.

ENTROPY, A NEW MEASUREMENT IN STRENGTH TRAINING

The ability to sprint is essential in the majority of team sports, including rugby, soccer, and basketball. But this ability is not developed in stable and controlled conditions: players are constantly subjected to variable demands, whether receiving, carrying, passing, hitting, or throwing the ball.

POSITION SPECIFIC AND POSITIONAL PLAY TRAINING IN ELITE FOOTBALL: CONTEXT MATTERS

Those who have watched elite football across the last decade, realise that the game is more demanding than ever. This places more emphasis on training methods to prepare players for the rigors of the game.

PLAYER ORIENTATION, A KEY ASPECT OF PREDICTIVE MODELS IN FOOTBALL

In the OptaPro Forum this week, Carlos Rodríguez will be presenting a study currently being carried out by the club on the body orientation of players in different game situations. We sat down for a chat with him so that he could give us a brief explanation of the project.

WHICH VARIABLES DO WE TRAINERS LOOK AT TO HELP US MAKE DECISIONS?

Of all the variables provided by the systems that monitor and record our players’ activity, what is the most relevant information? This is a question that all coaches will probably face when they begin managing the large volumes of data generated in every training session.

FC BARCELONA: HOW OUR NEW RESEARCH HELPED UNLOCK THE ‘BARÇA WAY’

For the first time, our new research may provide some insight into the training methodology and, potentially, the secrets of the club’s success. These “secrets” could be closely associated with the theories put forward by coach Paco Seirul·lo and how they link with cutting edge sports science.

Sports Performance
Blog

DO FOOTBALL PLAYER’S MENTAL ABILITIES INFLUENCE THE RISK OF INJURY?

Mental abilities, although not yet fully appreciated, are already considered a relevant part of performance. But their importance could go beyond that: Do they also influence the injury risk, including recurrence, once the player returns to play?

NEW DATA ON PHYSICAL DEMANDS IN BASKETBALL PLAYERS

A basketball player performs approximately one thousand actions on average during a game, and at least one out of every ten requires high intensity. The detailed analysis of these physical demands allows for optimized training, improved performance and decreased injury risk.

Sports Performance
Blog

INJURY TYPE IN HANDBALL MAY VARY BY POSITION, CATEGORY AND MATURATION OF PLAYERS

Although several studies have tried to evaluate the characteristics of the risk of injury in handball players, they have been unable to reach sufficiently reliable conclusions. A new study of all the FC Barcelona handball categories has attempted to shed more light on the subject.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO DEVELOP AN “UNBREAKABLE” ATHLETE?

If the knowledge around the benefits of training load is increasing, is it possible for performance and medical staff to one day develop an “unbreakable” athlete? In a recent British Journal of Sports Medicine paper, researchers and practitioners joined forces to address this question.

Analysis and Sports Technology
Sports Performance
Team Sports
Blog

HOW PHYSICAL DEMANDS ON FOOTBALL PLAYERS VARY BY THEIR POSITION

Although there are several studies on this topic, many of them have analyzed these demands by looking at just a few variables or using very broad timeframes. A new study completed by physical trainers from F.C. Barcelona has analyzed several of these details more closely.

Health and Wellness
Sports Performance
Blog

THE GREAT UNKNOWN OF MUSCLE INJURIES: CONNECTIVE TISSUE IN THE EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX

An article published in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine —in which members of the club’s medical services participated— now suggests to consider the detailed structure of the area affected, and treating the extracellular matrix as an essential player in the prognosis of the injury.

HAMSTRING AND OTHER MUSCLE INJURIES IN CHILDREN AND YOUNG ATHLETES

This is a groundbreaking study that addresses hamstring injuries in children and youth. The results indicate that the risk is lower than it is in adults, though no less significant, and that it increases progressively with age.

Sports Performance
Blog

WHAT IS LOAD MANAGEMENT REALLY ABOUT?

In this article, Tim Gabbett and his team provide a user-friendly guide for practitioners when describing the general purpose of load management to coaches.

Sports Performance
Blog

TWO WEEKS ARE ENOUGH TO INCREASE MUSCLE VOLUME AND STRENGTH

For the first time, it has been demonstrated that it does not take months of training to significantly improve both muscle volume and strength; instead, two weeks of an appropriate exercise are enough.

RECOVERY NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL: BUILDING A TEAM

Analysis and Sports Technology
Team Sports
Blog

Degrees of freedom or degrees of slavery?

The understanding of the modifying variables of the game, based on the degrees of freedom.

Soccer from First Principles

The goal of this post is to outline a series of principles that are considered to be crucial to understand the development of FC Barcelona’s playing style.

Sports Performance
Team Sports
Blog

ECCENTRIC EXERCISES: STUDYING “VACCINES” FOR MUSCLES

Training using eccentric exercises is important to prevent possible damage. However, intensive training can also cause muscle damage, so it is critical to be vigilant in order to keep injury risk to an absolute minimum.

AN OBJECTIVE CLASSIFICATION OF MUSCLE INJURIES

An objective and appropriate classification would improve the accuracy of prognosis, allow treatment to be adjusted and reduce the risk of re-injury.

STUDY OF HIGH INTENSITY ACCELERATIONS AND DECELERATIONS IN SOCCER

A new dimension of analysis suggests that maximum accelerations occur with a frequency 8x greater than sprint actions.

Sports Performance
Team Sports
Blog

THE LEVEL OF RESISTANCE AS A MODERATOR OF THE TRAINING LOAD

Cardiovascular endurance manifests as a moderator of the load result to which the athlete is exposed.

PRE-SEASON TRAINING LOAD AND INJURY RISK

The pre-season or preparatory phase of the season is a time when major “errors” in training load management are often committed.

Sports Performance
Blog

Are the players well positioned in relation to the ball?

Through the use of computer vision we can identify some shortcomings in the body orientation of players in different game situations.

Spaces in Soccer from a Quantitative Perspective

In the words of Johan Cruyff, “Players, in reality, have the ball for 3 minutes, on average. So, the most important thing is: what do you do during those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball? That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” 

Diagnostic Imaging in Sports Medicine: Present and Future

Muscle injuries account for more than 30% of all injuries in sports like soccer. Their significance is therefore enormous in terms of training sessions and lost game time.

YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE?

  • SUBSCRIBE
  • CONTACT
  • APPLY

KEEP THE DAY WITH OUR NEWS

Do you have any questions about Barça Universitas?

  • Startup
  • Research Center
  • Enterprise

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

The Form has been sent successfully.

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

The Form has been sent successfully.

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

PLEASE COMPLETE THE FIELDS:

The Form has been sent successfully.