Influence of carbohydrate supplementation on skill performance during a soccer match simulation

J Sci Med Sport. 2012 Jul;15(4):348-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2011.12.006. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


Objectives: This study investigated the influence of carbohydrate supplementation on skill performance throughout exercise that replicates soccer match-play.

Design: Experimentation was conducted in a randomised, double-blind and cross-over study design.

Methods: After familiarization, 15 professional academy soccer players completed a soccer match simulation incorporating passing, dribbling and shooting on two separate occasions. Participants received a 6% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution (CHO) or electrolyte solution (PL). Precision, success rate, ball speed and an overall index (speed-precision-success; SPS) were determined for all skills. Blood samples were taken at rest, immediately before exercise, every 15 min during exercise (first half: 15, 30 and 45 min; second half: 60, 75 and 90 min), and 10 min into the half time (half-time).

Results: Carbohydrate supplementation influenced shooting (time×treatment interaction: p<0.05), where CHO attenuated the decline in shot speed and SPS index. Supplementation did not affect passing or dribbling. Blood glucose responses to exercise were influenced by supplementation (time×treatment interaction: p<0.05), where concentrations were higher at 45 min and during half-time in CHO compared with PL. Blood glucose concentrations reduced by 30±1% between half-time and 60 min in CHO.

Conclusions: Carbohydrate supplementation attenuated decrements in shooting performance during simulated soccer match-play; however, further research is warranted to optimise carbohydrate supplementation regimes for high-intensity intermittent sports.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electrolytes / blood
  • Electrolytes / pharmacology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Electrolytes