Seasonal variations in fitness in female soccer players: the use of small sided games for fitness

Hervert, Sarah R., Deakin, Glen B., and Sinclair, Kelly (2014) Seasonal variations in fitness in female soccer players: the use of small sided games for fitness. In: Edwards, Andrew, and Leicht, Anthony, (eds.) Science of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity in the Tropics. Nova Science Publishers, New York, NY, USA, pp. 65-73.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


Introduction: The use of small-sided games (SSG's) to improve soccer fitness has been well reported. However, the effectiveness of this type of training and success to simulate sport specific fitness has been questioned. The purpose of this study is to determine whether soccer training mainly comprised of SSG's is appropriate for increasing and maintaining fitness throughout the season for semi-elite female players.

Methods: After providing written informed consent, thirteen semi-elite female youth soccer players participated for the duration of nine weeks. Testing was performed at the end of the pre-season and at the mid-season point. Following anthropometric measures and a standardised warm-up, participants were tested on; Flexibility, upper and lower body power, agility and speed (with and without the ball), and aerobic capacity. Seven days later, intermittent running ability was tested. Training session and attendance data was collected for the duration of the study. Session components were classed as: 1) Conditioning, 2) Skills, or 3) Tactics and were calculated as a percentage of total training time. T-tests were performed on pre- to mid-season data and significance accepted at α<0.05.

Results: At the mid-season point there was no significant change in any of the fitness indices, with the exception of improved flexibility (p<0.01), and decreased lower body power (p<0.01). Over nine weeks the team completed a total of 10.5 hours skills training and 15.5 hours of tactical training (40.4% and 59.6% respectively) with no time spent on conditioning.

Conclusion: The main finding of this study is that training solely based on skills and tactics via the use of SSG's is not adequate to improve the fitness of semi-elite female soccer players during the course of the season. It is suggested that physical conditioning components required for soccer are included during training to improve fitness.

Item ID: 33825
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-63117-737-8
Related URLs:
Additional Information:

A version of this publication was included as Chapter 3 of the following PhD thesis: Hervert, Sarah (2017) Seasonal variations in fitness of male and female soccer players in the tropics. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2014 05:58
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110602 Exercise Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page