Effective conditioning of female soccer players

J Sports Sci. 2004 Feb;22(2):191-203. doi: 10.1080/02640410310001641458.


We compared the efficacy of three physical conditioning programmes provided over a 12 week period (24 h in total) on selected anthropometric and physical fitness parameters in female soccer players. Two of the groups received physical conditioning training in accordance with speed, agility and quickness (SAQ); one group used specialized resistance and speed development SAQ equipment (equipment group; n = 12), while the other group used traditional soccer coaching equipment (non-equipment group; n = 12). A third group received their regular fitness sessions (active control group; n = 12). All three interventions decreased (P < 0.001) the participants' body mass index (-3.7%) and fat percentage (-1.7%), and increased their flexibility (+14.7%) and maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) (+18.4%). The participants in the equipment and non-equipment conditioning groups showed significantly (P < 0.005) greater benefits from their training programme than those in the active control group by performing significantly better on the sprint to fatigue (-11.6% for both the equipment and non-equipment groups versus -6.2% for the active control group), 25 m sprint (-4.4% vs -0.7%), left (-4.5% vs -1.0%) and right (-4.0% vs -1.4%) side agility, and vertical (+18.5% vs +4.8%) and horizontal (+7.7% vs +1.6%) power tests. Some of these differences in improvements in physical fitness between the equipment and non-equipment conditioning groups on the one hand and the active control group on the other hand were probably due to the specificity of the training programmes. It was concluded that SAQ training principles appear to be effective in the physical conditioning of female soccer players. Moreover, these principles can be implemented during whole team training sessions without the need for specialized SAQ equipment. Finally, more research is required to establish the relationship between physical fitness and soccer performance as well as the principles underlying the improvements seen through the implementation of SAQ training programmes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis