Playing standard and position-specific differences in performance of a soccer-specific aerobic fitness test (SAFT): Preliminary data

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OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to investigate the sensitivity of SAFT to the differences in aerobic training status attributed to playing standard and position. Players were characterised as either centre backs (CB), full-backs (FB), midfielders (MD), or forwards (FD). Whilst a number of laboratory and field based tests are available to measure soccer-specific endurance capacity, most fail to represent the intermittent and multi-directional nature of soccer matchplay. The Soccer-Specific Aerobic Fitness Test (SAFT) was developed to replicate the activity profile of soccer, based on data provided by notational analyses. The test is maximal and incremental with minimal space & equipment requirements. METHODS Twenty professional (PRO) and 12 elite youth players (EY) performed the SAFT in addition to an incremental treadmill test (ITT) to determine maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). The tests were randomised and undertaken in standardised laboratory conditions at the same time of day. Performance was recorded as the time to exhaustion (s) on the ITT, and the distance covered (m) in the SAFT. RESULTS SAFT performance was greater in the PRO than EY players (P < 0.01). There were no differences between PRO and EY ITT performance and VO2max (P > 0.05). In PRO, MD showed a higher VO2max than CB (P < 0.05). In the SAFT, MD also covered more distance than FD (P < 0.05), and CB (NS; P = 0.07). There were no position-specific differences in VO2max or SAFT performance between EY players (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION SAFT showed differences between playing standard and also playing positions, which were not observed in VO2max. It was also observed that position-specific differences were not apparent in elite players at the age of 16-18. Whilst further data is required, this data suggested that SAFT could be used as a simple, practical and sensitive measure of soccer-specific aerobic status.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventWorld Congress on Science & Football - Antalya, Turkey
Duration: 16 Jan 200720 Jan 2007


ConferenceWorld Congress on Science & Football


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