Does Resisted Sled Towing Improve the Physical Qualities of Elite Youth Soccer Players of Differing Maturity Status?

Rhys Morris, Stacey Emmonds, Tony Myers, David Singleton, Kevin Till

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Abstract

Abstract
Purpose Sled towing has been shown to be an effective method to enhance the physical qualities in youth athletes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a 6-week sled towing intervention on muscular strength, speed and power in elite youth soccer players of differing maturity status.
Method Seventy-three male elite youth soccer players aged 12–18 years (Pre-Peak Height Velocity [PHV] n = 25; Circa- PHV n = 24; Post-PHV n = 24) from one professional soccer academy participated in this study. Sprint assessments (10 m and 30 m), countermovement jump and isometric mid-thigh pull were undertaken before (T1) and after (T2) a 6-week
intervention. The training intervention consisted of 6 weeks (2 × per week, 10 sprints over 20 m distance) of resisted sled towing (linear progression 10%–30% of body mass) during the competitive season. Bayesian regression models analysed differences between T1 and T2 within each maturity group.
Results There were minimal changes in strength, speed and power (P = 0.35–0.80) for each maturity group across the 6-week intervention. Where there were changes with greater certainty, they are unlikely to represent real effect due to higher regression to the mean (RTM).
Conclusion It appears that a 6-week sled towing training programme with loadings of 10%–30% body mass only maintains physical qualities in elite youth soccer players pre-, circa-, and post-PHV. Further research is required to determine the effectiveness of this training method in long-term athletic development programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalJournal of Science in Sport and Exercise
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date28 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jan 2021

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Keywords

  • Youth development
  • Long-term athletic development
  • Maturation
  • Strength
  • Speed
  • IMTP

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