Physiological responses of small-sided vs. regular games in youth volleyball players

Jamel Halouani, Cyrine H'mida, Khaled Trabelsi, Cain C T Clark, Jordan M Glenn, Hamdi Chtourou

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of two different formats of small-sided games (SSGs; 2 vs. 2 and 3 vs. 3) on physiological parameters in youth volleyball players. Twelve youth volleyball players (17.2 ± 7.44 years, 1.89 ± 0.6 m, 72.83 ± 8.57 kg) completed three different games formats (regular game (RG): 6 vs. 6, SSG3: 3 vs. 3 and SSG2: 2 vs. 2). associated with two pitch dimensions (i.e., 2 vs. 2 and 3 vs. 3 on 18 × 4.5 m; 6 vs. 6 on 18 × 9 m). Each player performed 4 × 5 min SSG with a recovery period of 1 min between bouts. All players were members of the same youth team and played in a professional league. They had at least 6 years of volleyball training and no current injuries. This study was carried out during the competitive period. Heart rate (HR), blood lactate ([La ]), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured. Compared to RG, physiological (i.e., HR and [La ]) and RPE responses were significantly higher during SSG3 and SSG2 (all p < 0.05; ƞ = 0.77, ƞ = 0.65, ƞ = 0.30, respectively). Moreover, HR and RPE were significantly higher in SSG2 compared to SSG3. In contrast, no significant differences were observed in [La ] between SSG2 and SSG3. These results suggest that the number of players influences the exercise intensity in small-sided volleyball games in youth players. Therefore, coaches could benefit from incorporating SSGs to manipulate the exercise intensity in youth volleyball players. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © Biology of Sport 2023.]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-309
    Number of pages7
    JournalBiology of Sport
    Issue number1
    Early online date10 May 2022
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2022


    • Physiological responses
    • Small-sided games
    • Volleyball
    • Regular game
    • Youth

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