Performance over very short distances (1-5 m) is important in soccer. We investigated this in 23 male regional-level soccer players aged 17.2 +/- 0.7 years, filming body markers to determine the average velocity and acceleration over the first step (V(S) and A(S)) and the first 5 m (V(5), A(5)). Data were related to scores on a force-velocity test, squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), and 1 maximal repetition (1 RM) half back squat. Leg and thigh muscle volumes were also assessed anthropometrically. V(5) was positively correlated with leg and thigh muscle volumes (r = 0.61, p < 0.05; r = 0.43, p < 0.05, respectively), SJ power (absolute and relative to body mass, r = 0.45, p < 0.05; r = 0.43, p < 0.05, respectively), absolute force-velocity leg power (r = 0.49, p < 0.05), and 1 RM half back squat (r = 0.66, p < 0.001). The use of dimensional exponents did not change coefficients materially. V(S) was also correlated with leg muscle volume and 1 RM back half squat (r = 0.56, p < 0.01; r = 0.58, p < 0.01, respectively) and more weakly with force-velocity leg power and SJ force (r = 0.49, p < 0.05; r = 0.46, p < 0.5, respectively). However, the CMJ was unrelated to velocity or acceleration. Sprinting ability is correlated with measures of power and force such as the force-velocity test, SJ, and 1 RM half back squat; such measures thus offer useful guidance to soccer coaches who wish to improve the short-distance velocity of their players.
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