Date Approved

2008

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Health Promotion and Human Performance

First Advisor

Stephen McGregor, PhD

Second Advisor

Sheldon Levine

Abstract

Objective: The goal of this research study is to objectively study a female collegiate soccer team throughout the course of their season. It was the purpose of this study to determine the efficacy of the implemented conditioning program by measuring and quantifying fitness changes through the use of sport-specific physiological tests. A secondary purpose was to utilize accelerometry to compare and quantify work conducted during a game to the respective subjects’ measured fitness level. Research Methods and Procedures: This study took place during a competitive season of a collegiate women’s soccer team. Twenty-five college-aged females were subjects. Four trials were conducted of each physiological test. The physiological tests chosen to be included in this study include critical velocity (CV) testing, indirect anaerobic capacity measurements and 8RM knee extension and flexion strength testing. On-field performance data was also collected in the form of touches on the ball and minutes played. This study also involved the use of four accelerometers during each competitive match. The ANOVA was run three times. First, comparing the physiological test results for each of the four trials, second comparing the physiological test results to the on-field performance data collected and finally comparing the accelerometry data to the respective subject’s CV values. Results: During the 3.5 month study, significant differences were found in fitness levels based upon the CV test and anaerobic capacity results (p-value <0.05). Significant differences were also found between the four trials of 8RM knee extension and flexion testing (p-value <0.05). A moderately significant inverse correlation was found between anaerobic capacity and the CV outcomes (p-value <0.01). A strong correlation existed between the 8RM extension and flexion tests (p-value <0.01). Discussion: This data suggests that a decline in the fitness level, as measured by the CV tests, was observed throughout the competitive season. This data also suggests that as the aerobic capacity decreased the mean anaerobic capacity of the team increased, possibly due to the decrease of stress on the aerobic metabolic pathways during training. The data collected also has implications for furthering the scientific study of soccer using accelerometry.

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