Background: Repeated sprint ability with change of direction is very important for elite soccer performance. However, there are few studies designed to study this ability in young
elite athletes. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the performance of repeated sprint ability with change of direction in young soccer players.
Methods: During the starting of the season, matured U-17 (174.9 ± 7.8cm; 68.1 ±7.1kg; 10.0 ± 1.6 %BF; N=21)] and U-20 (178.3 ± 7.7cm; 73.9 ± 9.0kg; 10.4 ± 2.3 %BF; N=22) soccer
players performed the Bangsbo sprint test (BST) which consists of 7x34.2-m sprints interspersed with 25-s active recovery periods and three 45º change of direction in the middle of the run. The
Shapiro-Wilk test was used to check the normality of the data. After that the results were compared by the ANOVA two-way test. The significance level adopted was 5% (P<0.05). Data are described in
mean and standard deviation.
Results:The intragroup comparisons showed significant differences between the 1st (6.44±0.20s) and 4th (6.70±0.20s), 5th (6.76±0.20s), 6th (6.84±0.18s) and 7th (6.93±0.21s) sprints
(P<0.05). Between 2nd (6.51±0.15) and 5th, 6th and 7th sprints (P<0.05). Between 3rd (6.62±0.19) and 6th and 7th sprints, and also between the 4th and 7th (P<0.05) sprints performed for U-20 soccer
players. The U-17 soccer players showed significant differences among the 1st (6.69±0.18) with 3rd (6.92±0.21), 4th (7.02±0.21), 5th (7.16±0.23), 6th (7.22±0.28) and 7th (7.27±0.23) sprints (P<0.05).
The 2nd (6.76±0.18) was significantly lower than 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th sprints (P<0.05). The 3rd sprint was significantly lower than 5th, 6th and 7th sprints (P<0.05). The 4th sprint was significantly
lower than 7th (P<0.05). The intergroup comparisons showed that U-20 was faster than U-17 for all sprints (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Regarding the mature status of the players, the better performance of the U-20 may be explained due to the time of training, even with both groups have been tested during
the starting of their pre-seasons. The result of the present study may help coaches and physical conditioners to organize their training sessions aiming to increase the BST ability in young elite
soccer players during the competitive season.