Short-term effects of on-field combined core strength and small-sided games training on physical performance in young soccer players

Arslan E., Soylu Y., Clemente F. M., Hazır T., Kin İşler A., Kilit B.

Biology Of Sport, vol.38, no.4, pp.609-616, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.5114/biolsport.2021.102865
  • Journal Name: Biology Of Sport
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, SportDiscus, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.609-616
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study aimed to compare the effects of 6-weeks combined core strength and small-sided games training (SSGcore) vs. small-sided games (SSG) training on the physical performance of young soccer players. Thirty-eight amateur soccer players (age: 16.50 ± 0.51 years) were randomly assigned to either a SSGcore (n = 20) or a SSG group (n = 18). The SSGcore group performed upper and lower body core strength exercises combined with SSG including 2-, 3- and 4-a-sided soccer games third a week. The SSG group performed only the SSG periodization. Baseline and after the 6-week training period the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (YYIRTL-1), 5–20-m sprint test, countermovement jump (CMJ), squat jump (SJ), triple-hop distance (THD), zigzag agility with ball (ZAWB) and without ball (ZAWOB), three corner run test (TCRT) and Y-balance test. The SSGcore group demonstrated meaningful improvements in 20 m  sprint time (SSGcore: -9.1%, d = 1.42; SSG: -4.4%, d = 0.76), CMJ (SSGcore: 11.4%, d = 2.67; SSG: -7.7%, d = 1.43), SJ (SSGcore: 12.0%, d = 2.14; SSG: 5.7%, d = 1.28), THD (SSGcore: 5.0%, d = 1.39; SSG: 2.7%, d = 0.52) and TCRT (SSGcore: -3.7%, d = 0.69; SSG: -1.9%, d = 0.38). Furthermore, the SSGcore group demonstrated meaningfully higher improvement responses in both leg balance score (d = ranging from 2.11 to 2.75) compared with SSG group. These results suggest that the inclusion of core strength training to a SSG periodization is greatly effective to improve speed and strength-based conditioning in young soccer players.