A comparison of maximal aerobic speed and maximal sprint speed in elite youth soccer players

Adam Rowan with Steve Atkins & Paul Comfort

The aim of this study was to compare maximal aerobic speed (MAS) and maximum sprint speed (MSS), across age groups and maturational status, in youth soccer players. Elite youth soccer players (n = 47; age 14.1 ± 1.2 years, with an age from peak height velocity 0.6 ± 1.3 years; stature 168.2 ± 11.3 cm; body mass 57 ± 11.7 kg), performed MAS and MSS tests. The U16 age group demonstrated significantly greater MAS (4.61 ± 0.23 m.s-1) than U13 (p < 0.001, 4.08 ± 0.29 m.s-1) and U14 (p < 0.001, 4.14 ± 0.26 m.s-1), although not significantly different than U15 (p > 0.05, 4.38 ± 0.26 m.s-1). Similarly, MSS increased with chronological age, with the U16 demonstrating significantly greater MSS (8.43 ± 0.43 m.s-1) than U13 (p < 0.001, 7.13 ± 0.34 m.s-1) and U14 (p < 0.001, 7.68 ± 0.45 m.s-1), but not significantly greater than the U15 (p > 0.05, 7.96 ± 0.26 m.s-1). Maturational status showed players post age at peak height velocity (APHV) demonstrated significantly greater (p < 0.001) MAS and MSS circum-APHV and pre-APHV). The results of this study demonstrate that both MAS and MSS increase progressively with chronological age and maturational status.

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