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The effects of large-sided soccer training games and pitch size manipulation on time-motion profile, spatial exploration and surface area: tactical opportunities

Clemente, F.M.C. ; Owen, A. ; Sierra-Olivares, J. ; Correia, A. ; Sequeiros, J. ; Silva, F. ; Martins, F.

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology Vol. 232, Nº 2, pp. 1 - 20, June, 2018.

ISSN (print): 1754-3371
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,32 (in 2018)

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Analysis of the physical, technical and physiological variations induced through the use of different soccer game formats have been widely discussed. However, the coaching justification for the specific use of certain game formats based on individual and collective spatial awareness is unclear. As a result, the purpose of this study was to analyze 11 vs. 11 game formats conducted across two pitch sizes (half-size: 5468 m vs. full-size: 10868 m) to identify effects of time-motion profiles, individual exploration behavior and collective organization. Ten amateur soccer players from the same team (23.393.91 years old) participated in this study. Data position of the players was used to calculate the spatial exploration index and the surface area. Distances covered in different speeds were used to observe the time-motion profile. The full-size pitch dimensions significantly contributed to greater distances covered via running (3.86 to 5.52 m.s-1) and sprinting (>5.52 m.s-1). Total distance and number of sprints were also significantly greater in the full-size pitch as compared to the half-size pitch. The surface area covered by the team (half-size pitch: 431.83 m2 vs. full-size pitch: 589.14 m2) was significantly larger in the full-size pitch condition. However, the reduced half-size pitch significantly contributed to a greater individual spatial exploration. Results of this study suggest that running and sprinting activities increase when large, full-size pitch dimensions are utilized. Smaller surface area half-size pitch contributes to a better exploration of the pitch measured by spatial exploration index while maintaining adequate surface area coverage by the team. In conclusion, the authors suggest that the small half-size pitch is more appropriate for low-intensity training sessions and field exploration for players in different positions. Alternatively, the large full-size pitch is more appropriate for greater physically demanding training sessions with players focused on positional tactical behavior.