Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Youth League Trials

That terrible time of the year is about to start Youth League Trials. Players go from trial to trial having a very short time to expose their talents to coaches who have no real structure to how they choose a team. I dont like this time at all and integrity and empathy is required by coaches and selectors to give feedback to players as to why they are not selected. Also to parents you have to let what happens happens and do not get involved in the politics. Talent will always rise to the top and just ensure your child continues to enjoy their sport whatever level they play.

The article below shows that in reality its all about growth and if you are not born in the first part of the year it is difficult. Sad I know and I wish people would just understand that the junior years are about development - particularly athletic development because when size evens out so many big youngsters are shocked to find that they should have worked harder on their movement when they were younger and not just relied on their size

Selection of young soccer players in terms of anthropometric and physiological factors.
Gil S; Ruiz F; Irazusta A; Gil J; Irazusta J
Author's Address:
Department of High Performance, Basque Institute of Physical Education, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
The Journal Of Sports Medicine And Physical Fitness [J Sports Med Phys Fitness] 2007 Mar; Vol. 47 (1), pp. 25-32.
Publication Type:
Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Journal Information:
AIM: The aim of this paper was to describe the anthropometric and physiological characteristics of young soccer players (14-17 years old) which were associated with their being successful or not as soccer players. METHODS: Somatotype and body composition was calculated by measuring skinfolds, limb circumferences and joint diameters. VO(2max) was estimated by the Astrand's Test. Sprint, jump and endurance tests were also performed. RESULTS: The most relevant differences were obtained between selected and non-selected players belonging to the 14-year-old team. Selected players were taller, heavier, leaner and faster and they had higher absolute or relative VO(2max). In addition, a higher % of selected players was found among those born during the first 6 months of the year. In the rest of the teams, the agility was better in selected than in non-selected players. At later ages, there was also a predominance of players born during the first 6 months of the year. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that around the time of puberty, parameters associated with physical maturity such as height, size, speed, VO(2max), or chronological age are important to determine the success of a soccer player. At older ages, other factors such as agility seem to be more important. Nevertheless, players born in the 1st semester of the year are also more frequent in the older teams. These findings should be taken into account by trainers and coaches, in order to avoid biasing their selection choices.

Thoughts re above article
  • why use an astrand test to measure aerobic power (soccer is not played on a bike)
  • As we get older movement starts to impact - re agility
  • Interesting to see how many of these big kids make good adult players
  • My own observations suggest very few as their is to much reliance on size when they should be developing movement techniques
  • I see very few superstar 14 year olds but many that are missing out on selection

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grad Diploma of Athletic Development

Had our first meeting re this course we are developing. The outcome was that the course has its place and we will develop it further I was happy to meet Bryce Cavanaugh who works for the Sydney Swans and he gave some great feedback on the project. Also Ian King for professional footballer and others Ashley Jones (Crusaders Rugby), Darran Burgess (Socceroos), Tom Reddin (NSW Cricket), Dave Moore (former West Indies Cricket Coach) have been involved in the development. With this feedback from people in the field coupled with our acadaemic staff Professor Mike King, Ben Harris, Kylie Steel and Dr Scott dickson this course should advance the field of athletic development. I will keep you posted on developments.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Interval Training

As i have a particular interest in intervals to maximise performance I will be reviewing some articles in this area. Here is one re inseason Interval training and highlights the fact that inseason does not have to mean maitanance but is still a time for increasing the physiological status of your players.

Dupont, Grégory1Akakpo, Koffi1Berthoin, Serge1 berthoin@hp-sc.univ-lille2.fr
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research Aug2004, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p584 6p.
The effects of in season, high-intensity interval training on professional male soccer players' running performances were investigated. Twentytwo subjects participated in 2 consecutive training periods of 10 weeks. The first period was considered a control period and was compared with a period where 2 high-intensity interval training exercises were included in the usual training program. Intermittent runs consisted of 12-15 runs lasting 15 seconds at 120% of maximal aerobic speed alternated with 15 seconds of rest. Sprint repetitions consisted of 12-15 all-out 40-m runs alternated with 30 seconds of rest. Results from the high-intensity interval training have shown that maximal aerobic speed was improved (+8.1 ± 3.1%; p <>

I encourage you to review the full article and look at the study and ll studies with a critical eye. Too often people only review the abstract or worse only look at the conclusions and take it for gospel. Have a look at the numbers researched, the stats that were used and if the interpretation of the stats is correct. I was reading a paper the other day where they were reporting significant r values that still left 64% of the variance unexplained. It is imperative you know and understand stats as obviously many reviewers dont because it amases me how many poorly designed studies get published in the sports science field

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Darren Burgess

Hi we were very lucky yesterday to have Darren Burgess give a lecture to our students. Darren is the Austrlian Mens Soccer Team sports scince director and has also worked for Port Adelaide in the AFL and lectured at ACU in the sports science department. Darren is one of the best in the athletic development field leaving nothing to chance and well versed in all aspects of the discipline. Our students were given an insight into elite sport and the set ups from around the world as Darren recently has spend time at Liverpool/Real Madrid/Newcastle/Blackburn/PSV and was able to relay the cutting edge information to our students. The socceroos are in great hands as there has been a major problem with the sports science or lack of it previously. With us now playing in ASIA it is very easy to get things wrong physiologicaly (we all remember the Asian champioships) and the people involved previously just were not up to the task. Darren will help to make the difference and see us qualify for South Africa in 2010

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I plan to start posting some reearch on soccer for us to review. One of my favourite blogs conditioningresearch.blogspot.com is a fantastic resource to see up to date research and Chris does a great job at reviewing it. This has inspired me to post some of the literature on soccer conditioning.

The first one is a confusing study b Rampinini et al. and I havent yet red the full text version so I wont be too critical but read the abstract for yourself.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 May;40(5):934-42.
Effect of match-related fatigue on short-passing ability in young soccer players.
Rampinini E, Impellizzeri FM, Castagna C, Azzalin A, Bravo DF, Wisløff U.
Human Performance Laboratory, Mapei Sport Research Center, Castellanza, Varese, Italy.
PURPOSE: To examine whether the fatigue accumulated during match play or determined by short bouts of high-intensity intermittent activities affect short-passing ability in junior soccer players. A further aim was to examine the influence of physical fitness as measured using the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (YYIRT) on the changes in short-passing ability after a 5-min simulation of high-intensity activities (HIS).
METHODS: Sixteen players (mean +/- SD: age 17.6 +/- 0.5 yr, height 174 +/- 7 cm, body mass 68 +/- 6 kg) participated in the study. A quasi-experimental control-period design was used for the study. Short-passing ability was measured using the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT). Players completed the LSPT in two sessions during the 1-wk control period, followed by two unofficial matches during which the LSPT was performed during and after the first and the second halves of the game. Furthermore, the change in LSPT performance was determined after 5 min of HIS.
RESULTS: A decline in LSPT performance was found during and after the game (P < 0.01). The accuracy of the LSPT decreased after the HIS. A significant correlation was found between the YYIRT scores and the decline in LSPT performance (accuracy, total time, total time with penalties) after HIS (r = -0.51 to -0.65; P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the fatigue developed during a match and after relatively short bouts of high-intensity intermittent activities has a detrimental effect on short-passing ability, and that the fatigue-related decline in technical proficiency for a given intensity is associated with the fitness level of the players.

Ok One of my professors always taught me to sk the question So What? when I have ever conducted research and when I read research I also ask this question. Would you expect this to happen YES the more exciting research is to then do soemthing about it. The next phase would be to increase the physiological condition of these players and then see what happens. Like I said I will reserve my criticism until I read the paper.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners W League

Hi A knew professional womans league is starting in October in Australia and I will keep you up to date on 2 teams that I will be working with. An interesting situation but the 2 teams are backed by the same organisation and thus will train pre season togther. Had a meeting with both head coaches last week Alen Stajic and Steve Roach both good guys and have put together the first 6 week phase. I will be keeping you informed of the progress as we start tonight with testing. I have worked with most of the players previously and the DS Protocol that I have discussed previously will be a major feature.

DS protocol
5 x 20sec work @>95%/20sec recovery over a 20metre shuttle
2 min recovery
6 x 15 sec work @>95%/15 sec recovery over 15 metre shuttle
2 min recovery
8 x 10sec work @> 95%/10 sec recovery over 10 metre shuttle
2 min recovery
Total Time - 15 minutes

This will be used 2x/week during the first 3 weeks and extended to 3x/week for the following 3. Data from previous studies of ours have shown a very positive adaptations abnd the beauty of it is the short length as com[pared to previously published protocols. I cant wait to get the publication out as this is a great protocol that works.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What to do during the Transition

The transition from one season to the next is one of the most important and misunderstood training phases. end of season should not mean end of training but rather a time for the body and mind to recuperate from the specific training it has been doing. Too often players just let everything slide during this period and thus pre season training becomes difficult. We know after 1-2 weeks there will be a significant decline in a number of physioloical parameters and this should be some indication that we need to move during the tranisition. Histoorically the transition was for a period of 4 weeks but in some instances this period is much longer and this is where the trouble starts. My advice is to advise your players to do something during this period that is different to what they have been doing and enjoyable. I like my players doing basketball or touch football - sports that are similar but also very different - too many players go into futsal which is too similar and thus they dont get a physical and mental recovery. Also nutrition is important during this time and again its not a time just to live like a sloth - if you are an athlete you are one 12 months of the year so behave like one. Trust me if you want to have a great season have a smart transition.