We investigated the relationships between linear and multidirectional sprint tests in elite young soccer players, using different speed measurements and their associated deficits. Twenty-three under-17 and seventeen under-16 soccer players performed, on the same day: 17-m linear sprint (with 10-m split times), curve sprints for “good” and “weak” sides (CSGS and CSWS, respectively), and Zigzag and 505 change of direction (COD) tests. The Pearson product moment test was used to determine the relationships among the tested variables. Significance level was set at P<0.05. Large and very large significant correlations were observed between CSGS and CSWS and 10-m (r = 0.73 and r = 0.53, respectively; P<0.0001) and 17-m sprint velocity (r = 0.84 and r = 0.74, respectively; P<0.0001). Moderate and significant associations were identified between Zigzag and 17-m sprint performances (r = 0.40; P = 0.02). No significant relationships were found between 505 performance and 17-m sprint velocity and between the different COD tasks (P>0.05). Significant correlations were observed between sprint performance at 10- and 17-m and both CS and COD deficits (r values ranging from 0.37 to 0.54; P<0.05). In general, higher linear sprinting velocities were associated with superior performances in smoother multidirectional tasks (i.e., CS and Zigzag tests), but not in more aggressive COD maneuvers (i.e., 505). Faster athletes in linear actions presented greater CS and COD deficits. No associations were detected between the different COD measurements, supporting the notion that the technical and mechanical demands of COD actions are angle- and velocity-dependent. From a practical perspective, comprehensive speed testing batteries (i.e., incorporating linear sprints, CS, and different COD assessments) should be administered to young soccer players, in order to better understand their ability to change direction and sprint over multiple trajectories.
Fonte: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, in press, 2022.