Mendez-Villanueva, A., Kuitunen, S., Peltola, E., Poon, T. K., & Simpson, B. (2009). Effects of maturation on the relationship between speed and endurance in circum-pubertal soccer players. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

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"Morphological and physiological considerations suggest that sprinting ability and endurance capacity put conflicting demands on the design of a human’s locomotor apparatus and therefore cannot be maximized simultaneously. However, in children the ability to demonstrate this specialization is less apparent, that is, children who perform well in sprinting tasks also perform well in endurance activities. It has been suggested that specialization into endurance or sprinting "types" occurs during late-puberty stages. However, few studies have assessed these associations in children and adolescents of different maturational levels spanning a wide circum-pubertal spectrum. Moreover, the ability to demonstrate this specialization has yet to be tested in young soccer players where players are expected to be selected and/or trained to develop both speed and endurance qualities."

This study determined whether maturation affects the relationship between sprinting speed and endurance in a group of circum-pubertal soccer players. Sprinting speed and endurance capacity were measured in early-pubertal male soccer players (early maturers; 16.9 ± 0.7 yrs; N = 14), mid-pubertal male soccer players (14.3 ± 0.9 yrs; [group size not stated]), and late-pubertal male soccer players (late-maturers; 12.3 ± 0.7 yrs; N = 26). Ss performed an incremental field test to exhaustion for the determination of maximum aerobic speed (i.e., endurance capacity) and a 40-m running sprint test for the assessment of maximum sprinting speed. The relationship between size-corrected maximum sprinting speed and maximum aerobic speed measures were examined.

Maximum sprinting speed was correlated with maximum aerobic speed (r = ~0.66). The maximum sprinting speed to maximum aerobic speed ratio did not differ among the three groups.

Implication. Across a wide range of circum-pubertal ages, speed and endurance capacity co-evolve in soccer players. The development of sprint capacity appears not to be constrained by the need for endurance capacity and vice versa.

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