Influence of Cardio-Respiratory Fitness on Physical Performance in Elite Youth Soccer

Greg Doncaster, John Iga, Viswanath Unnithan

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The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between: Peak oxygen uptake (VO2max) and running economy (RE) with physical measures associated with elite youth soccer performance obtained during soccer match-play. Seventeen highly trained youth soccer players (age: 13.3±0.4y) volunteered to participate. Initially player’s ventilatory threshold (VT) and VO2max was established using a treadmill protocol. On the subsequent visit, players ran for 4 min, at three different speeds (8km/h, 80%VT and 95%VT). Physical soccer-based performance was assessed using a maximal Yo-Yo IR1 and via Global positioning systems (GPS) derived variables obtained during three, 2x20min, 11 v 11 soccer matches. Partial correlations revealed significant relationships between relative VO2max and measures of physical soccer performance (r = 0.54–0.88). Moreover, measures of ventilatory equivalent (VEVO2), a determinant of RE, at all sub-maximal exercise intensities were inversely related to the volume (m) and percentage (%) of very high intensity activities. Current findings emphasise the need for high levels of cardio-respiratory fitness in high level youth soccer players, with superior levels of fitness being associated with a greater amount of high and very high intensity activity during soccer match-play.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalJournal of Physical Fitness, Medicine & Treatment in Sports
Issue number5
Early online date12 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2018


  • Aerobic Capacity
  • Running Economy
  • Youth Soccer
  • Team Sports
  • Respiratory Fatigue


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