ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine the physical and heart rate response (HR) of soccer players during 16-min of training using the same 5 vs. 5 small-sided game (SSG) in three different training regimes: a continuous format of 16 min and two intermittent formats (4 periods of 4-min; and 2 periods of 8-min) with the same work/rest ratio of passive recovery between the different periods (4:1). Ten male players (age 21.33.4 years) belonging to a team of the third Spanish division participated in this study. Analyses were carried using a Training regimen vs Drill time design (i.e. training x duration), that is, differentiating two training regimen (intermittent vs. continuous SSG formats), and the 4-min periods (0-4, 4-8, 8-12 and 12-16 min) in order to determine the extent to which fatigue affected the variables studied in each regimen. During each SSG, HR and total distance covered in different speed categories and accumulated accelerations (i.e. training load) were measured. Results showed significant differences for: (1) in intermittent format of 2x8-min, the distance covered at a speed of 7-12.9 kmh was greater in the 0-4 min period than in the 12-16 min period; and (2), the distance covered at a speed of 7-12.9 kmh during the 8-12 min period was greater in intermittent format of 2x8-min than in continuous format (16-min). This study showed that drill regimen may affect physical responses during training SSG. The resulting evidence suggests that the continuous SSG format induces greater physical loads on players as compared to intermittent SSG format, and that should help coaches to establish a better distribution of playing according to the objectives of the training.
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