PHYSIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF BRAZILIAN SOCCER PLAYERS FROM THE JUVENILE, JUNIOR AND PROFESSIONAL LEVELS

PHYSIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF BRAZILIAN SOCCER PLAYERS FROM THE JUVENILE, JUNIOR AND PROFESSIONAL LEVELS

S.G.Da Silva, L.Kaiss, A.C.Gomes, P.R.Oliveira,

Universidade Federal do Paranб,
Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas,
Universidade Estadual de Campinas,
Brazil

Introduction. The career of a soccer player normally begins at the age of 15 years at the juvenile level and lasts to the age of 30-35 years in average. During this period the player undergoes several physiological changes, due to the training and aging processes. Little is known about these changes and how they interfere on the player's performance during game play. Among the physiological variables of importance for performance in soccer, it can be included the aerobic power, anaerobic threshold and body composition.

Several studies have described the anthropometric profile, aerobic power and anaerobic threshold of soccer players (Caru et alli,, 1970; Faina et alli, 1988; Green, 1992; Kirkendall, 1985; Ramadan & Byrd, 1987; Raven, 1976; Rhodes et alli, 1986; Withers et alli, 1977). However, the possible interactions between physiological changes and age or experience level have not been shown in the literature. Therefore, aiming to study the physiological changes due to age and experience level in soccer players, this investigation examined the differences in terms of VO2max, anaerobic threshold and body composition in soccer players from three different age groups: juvenile, junior and professional.

Methods. Participated in this investigation 88 male soccer players, with 19 from the Juvenile group (age = 16,94 ± 0,55 years), 42 in the Junior group (age = 18,95 ± 1,16 years) and 27 in the Professional group (age = 24,18 ± 4,06 years). These athletes came to the CEFISE (Center for Studies in Exercise Physiology) of the Universidade Federal do Parana, to be evaluated as part of their annual training program. All soccer players tested were participating in regional or national level tournaments. The following variables were determined: Height (cm), Body Weight (kg), Body Mass Index (BMI, kg/m2), Percent Body Fat (%), Maximal Oxygen uptake - VO2max (ml/kg/min), Maximal Heart Rate, Time to exhaustion in the treadmill - TET (sec.), and Anaerobic Threshold - AT (expressed in terms of VO2, %VO2max and velocity in the treadmill).

Results. Results in terms of averages and standard deviations for each group tested (Professional, Junior and Juvenile) are presented on tables 1 and 2. One Way ANOVA was used to determine the differences between the groups of players.

Table 1

Means and standard deviations of anthropometric variables for soccer players of the Professional, Junior e Juvenile levels

 

Professional

Junior

Juvenile

n

27

42

19

Age (years)

24,18 ± 4,06

18,95 ± 1,16a

16,94 ± 0,55ab

Height (cm)

179,13 ± 5,70

177,36 ± 5,52

175,65 ± 5,91

Body Weight (kg)

74,89 ± 7,15

71,29 ± 5,53

66,57 ± 6,16 ab

BMI (kg/m2)

23,29 ± 1,39

22,69 ± 1,42

21,57 ± 1,19 ab

Percent Body Fat (%)

7,89 ± 2,91

6,78 ± 1,94

7,53 ± 3,91

a different from the Professional group; p < 0,05,
b different from the Junior group; p < 0,05

Discussion. The professional and junior groups presented higher levels of body weight and similar percent body fat in relation to juvenile players, therefore their muscle mass is also higher. Therefore, BMI, a variable derived from height and body weight, can used as a index of muscularity in soccer players.

VO2max as expressed in terms of ml/kg/min was significantly lower in the professional group as compared to the Junior and Juvenile groups. It can speculated that factors as age, training specificity (more emphasis on tactical and technique, rather than physical training), higher number of games during the season, among others, can play a role to determine a lower VO2max in professional players.

The soccer match is played at a average intensity of 75% of VO2max (Reilly, 1994). These requirements are near to the anaerobic threshold (Ekblom, 1994). Therefore, a high AT seems to be a requirement for a high level soccer player. Juvenile showed a higher AT in km/hr than Junior and Professional players, therefore juvenile players are conditioned for higher intensity matches.

Table 2

Means and standard deviations of metabolic variables soccer players of the Professional, Junior e Juvenile levels

 

Professional

Junior

Juvenile

n

27

42

19

VO2max (ml/kg/min)

52,52 ± 7,49

62,10 ± 6,09a

65,97 ± 4,81a

Maximal Heart Rate (bpm)

186,53 ± 10,54

195,09 ± 9,42a

199,50 ± 4,17a

TET (seg.)

938,61 ± 69,03

981,07 ± 34,82a

958,77 ± 48,50

AT-VO2 (ml/kg/min)

42,61 ± 6,15

50,61 ± 5,74a

56,17 ± 3,67ab

AT-VEL (km/hr)

13,65 ± 1,21

13,93 ± 1,07

14,50 ± 0,74a

AT-%VO2max

81,37 ± 7,10

80,64 ± 5,26

84,98 ± 4,43b

a different from the Professional group; p < 0,05,
b different from the Junior group; p < 0,05

From this investigation it can be concluded that Brazilian Juvenile and Junior present higher levels of fitness (VO2max, time to exhaustion in the treadmill and Anaerobic threshold) than Professional soccer players. Further research is suggested, possibly longitudinal studies aiming to examine the relation between training, age and physiological variables.


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Physiological characteristics of brazilian soccer players from the juvenile, junior and professional levels / Da Silva S.G. [и др.] // Человек в мире спорта: Новые идеи, технологии, перспективы : Тез. докл. Междунар. конгр. - М., 1998. - Т. 1. - С. 102-103.