Background Lower limb asymmetry is defined in relation to the observed performance differences (Bishop et al., 2018) and is found in athletes practicing different sports (Bishop et al., 2019&2018). The Small-Sided Games (SSG) represent a specific form of exercise widespread in soccer training (Kunz et al., 2019). Some authors have described the acute effects of fatigue on hamstring strength in professional soccer players (Madison et al., 2019). In the literature there are no similar studies conducted on young soccer players.
Objective To verify if the SSG practice conditions lower limb asymmetry in U15 young players.
Design Within subject repeated measures design.
Setting Youth soccer
Patients (or Participants) n=16 young players (age: 14.1±0.6; weight: 58.5±7.4 kg; height: 166.3±4.1 cm).
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) The sample was evaluated before warm up (15 minutes), after 10 minutes of mastery ball and 4vs4 (3x3 minutes, rec.2’ field:24x36m, with staff encouragement and 30 balls available) through Hop Test (HT), Side Test (ST), Crossover Test (CT), peak strength (PS) and hamstring eccentric average (in 5 repetitions) strength (EAS) by dynamometer (N3, Easytech, Italy).
Main Outcome Measurements Asymmetry value was calculated using the formula: Non-Dominant Leg/Dominant Leg x 100 (Ceroni et al., 2012).
Results The pre/post intervention comparison showed an increase in asymmetry in HT (2.59±1.72% vs 12.35±4.23%), in ST (3.79±2.21% vs 16.61±3.35%), in the CT (2.75±2.52 vs 10.98±7.16%), in the PS (4.49±3.16 vs 15.41±5.53%) and in the EAS (3.93±2.48 vs 20.09±5.25%). All differences were significant for p<0.0005.
Conclusions The SSG training seems to determine a significant increase lower limb asymmetry values, most likely due to fatigue as described in professional soccer players (Madison et al., 2019). These values must be carefully evaluated by the coaches in the training scheduling in youth soccer.
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