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.
Copyright © 2012 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.