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The Effects of Exercise Order on the Psychophysiological Responses, Physical and Technical Performances of Young Soccer Players: Combined Small-Sided Games and High-Intensity Interval Training

Arslan, E.A. ; Kilit, B. K. ; Clemente, F.M.C. ; Soylu, Y. S. ; Sögüt, M. S. ; Badicu, G. B. ; Akca, F. A. ; Gokkaya, M. G. ; Murawska-Ciałowicz, E. M.-C.

Biology Vol. 10, Nº 11, pp. 1180 - 1180, November, 2021.

ISSN (print): 2079-7737
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 1,73 (in 2020)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3390/biology10111180

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This study aimed to compare the order effects of combined small-sided games (SSGs) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on the psychophysiological responses and physical and technical performances of young soccer players. Twenty-four soccer players (aged 14.63 ± 0.71 years) were randomly divided into SSGs + HIIT (n = 12) and HIIT + SSGs (n = 12) for 6 weeks. The SSGs consisted of two 4–16 min rounds of 2, 3, and four-a-side games with 2 min of passive resting, whereas the HIIT consisted of 6–10 min of high-intensity runs at varying intensities (from 90 to 100%). Pre-test and post-test elements included a 5–30 m sprint test, countermovement jump test, zigzag agility test with the ball and without the ball, repeated sprint ability test, speed dribbling ability test, three-corner run test, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1. Both combined training interventions produced similar improvements in physical performance and technical responses (p ≥ 0.05, d values ranging from 0.40 to 1.10). However, the combined HIIT + SSGs training produced meaningfully lower perceived exertion (p = 0.00, d = 2.98) and greater physical enjoyment (p = 0.00, d = 4.28) compared with the SSGs + HIIT intervention. Furthermore, the SSGs + HIIT group showed a higher training load than those from the HIIT + SSGs group for all weeks (p ≤ 0.05, d values ranging from 1.36 to 2.05). The present study’s results might be used by coaches and practitioners to design training programmes for youth soccer players.