Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2024) 23, 487 - 494   DOI:

Research article
Can The Pitch Dimension Influence the Physical Fitness Adaptations Induced by Small-Sided Training Programs Added to Regular In-Field Training? A Randomized Controlled Study in Youth Soccer Players
Liang Wang1, , YuHua Kang2, LiXin Wei1, MingBang Li1, Tao Wang1
Author Information
1 Geely University of China, Chengdu, China
2 Chengdu Dongchenggen Primary school, Chengdu, China

Liang Wang
✉ Geely University of China, 641423 Chengdu, China
Publish Date
Received: 14-04-2024
Accepted: 29-05-2024
Published (online): 01-06-2024

Small-sided games (SSGs) are frequently utilized in training settings to elicit specific stimuli that can promote physical fitness adaptations over time. However, various task constraints, such as pitch dimensions, can significantly influence both the acute external and internal load responses. Thus, understanding the impact of different pitch dimensions on physical fitness adaptations is crucial. This study sought to compare the physical adaptations induced by an SSG-based program utilizing more elongated pitches (SSGlw2; length-to-width ratio: 2.0) versus less elongated pitches (SSGwl1; length-to-width ratio: 1.0) on the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (YYIRT), and 30-meter sprint. This study employed a randomized controlled design. Forty-eight male soccer players (16.4 ± 0.6 years) participated. These players were randomly allocated to two experimental groups (N = 16, SSGlw1; N = 16, SSGlw2) and underwent two weekly additional training sessions over an 8-week period, while a group of 16 players continued with their regular in-field sessions as a control group. Evaluations were conducted before and after the intervention period. Significant interactions time u group were observed in regards YYIRT (F = 15.857; p < 0.001; = 0.413) and 30-m sprint test (p < 0.001). Between-group differences on YYIRT were found in post-intervention (p < 0.001), on which SSGlw2 (p < 0.001) and SSGlw1 (p < 0.001) were significantly greater in comparison to control group. Additionally, between-group differences on 30-m sprint were found in post-intervention (p < 0.001), on which SSGlw2 was significantly better than SSGlw1 (p < 0.001) and control group (p < 0.001). Coaches are advised to prioritize the use of more elongated pitch sizes to promote adaptations in sprint performance, while still acknowledging that aerobic capacity improvements remain significant compared to other pitch shapes.

Key words: Soccer, aerobic fitness, physical fitness, athletic performance, youth

           Key Points
  • Coaches are advised to prioritize the use of more elongated pitch sizes to promote adaptations in sprint performance during SSG training programs.
  • Both smaller and more elongated SSG pitch sizes have been found to significantly enhance aerobic performance.
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