Sequencing Effects of Plyometric Training Applied Before or After Regular Soccer Training on Measures of Physical Fitness in Young Players

To compare the effects of short-term (i.e., 7 week) plyometric training applied before (PJT-B) or after (PJT-A) soccer practice on components of physical fitness in young soccer players, a single-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted. Post-pubertal boys aged 17.0±0.5 years were allocated to three groups: PJT-B (n=12), PJT-A (n=14), and control (CON; n=12). The outcome measures included tests to evaluate 20-m speed, standing long jump [SLJ], squat jump [SJ], countermovement jump [CMJ], and drop jump [DJ], 20-m multistage shuttle running speed [MSSRT], and Illinois change of direction speed [ICODT]. While the CON performed soccer-specific training, the PJT-A and PJT-B groups conducted the same soccer-specific sessions but replaced ~11% of their time with plyometric training. The PJT-B group performed plyometric exercises after a warm-up program, and the PJT-A group conducted plyometric exercises ~10 minutes after the completion of soccer training. Analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were used to detect differences between groups in all variables for pre- and post-training tests. Main effects of time (all p<.01; d=0.19-0.79) and group x time interactions (all p<.05; d=0.17-0.76) were observed for all examined variables. Post hoc analyses revealed significant increases in the PJT-B group (SLJ: 9.4%, d=1.7; CMJ: 11.2%, d=0.75; 20-m MSSRT: 9.0%, d=0.77) and the PJT-A group (SLJ: 3.1%, d=0.7; CMJ: 4.9%, d=0.27; 20-m MSSRT: 9.0%, d=0.76). Post hoc analyses also revealed significant increases in the PJT-B group (20-m speed: -7.4%, d=0.75; 20-cm DJ reactive strength index: 19.1%, d=1.4; SJ: 6.3%, d=0.44; ICODT results: -4.2%, d=1.1). In general, our study revealed that plyometric training is effective in improving measures of physical fitness in young male soccer players when combined with regular soccer training. More specifically, larger training induced effects on physical fitness were registered if plyometric training was conducted prior to soccer specific training.

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