Intra-Season Variations in Workload Parameters in Europe’s Elite Young Soccer Players: A Comparative Pilot Study between Starters and Non-Starters


Background: The main purpose of the current study was to compare the within-season variations of workload, training duration, acute/chronic workload ratio (ACWR), training monotony ™, and training strain (TS) through session rating perceived exertion (s-RPE) between starters and non-starters.

Methods: Seventeen under-17 European male soccer players (age, 16.2 ± 0.3 y, height, 1.8 ± 0.1 m; body mass, 66.5 ± 4.0 kg) divided in two groups: nine starters and eight non-starters, were evaluated over 50 weeks throughout the season.

Results: In general, there were load variations for all players during the full-season. RPE tended to decrease during in-season and RPE, training duration and s-RPE did not present significant differences between starters and non-starters. TM and TS presented lower values for starters in mesocycle (M) 4 and M11 compared to non-starters. TS presented lower values for starters in M4 and M11 compared to non-starters, while in M10 a higher value was found for starters when compared to non-starters. ACWR showed differences between starters and non-starters in two of the mesocycles.

Conclusions: This study showed that some mesocycles provided higher load for non-starters. This information can alert coaches that non-starter players are likely to try too hard in training to demonstrate their abilities, leading to non-functional overreaching, overtraining syndrome, and then poor performance.

Key Words: internal load; young soccer; ACWR; monotony; performance; monitoring

Article published in Healthcare9(8), 977, on 31st July, 2021.