The aim of the study was to compare the effects of plyometric training using 30, 60, or 120 s of rest between sets on explosive adaptations in young soccer players. Four groups of athletes (age 10.4 ± 2.3 y; soccer experience 3.3 ± 1.5 y) were randomly formed: control (CG; n = 15), plyometric training with 30 s (G30; n = 13), 60 s (G60; n = 14), and 120 s (G120; n = 12) of rest between training sets. Before and after intervention players were measured in jump ability, 20-m sprint time, change of direction speed (CODS), and kicking performance. The training program was applied during 7 weeks, 2 sessions per week, for a total of 840 jumps. After intervention the G30, G60 and G120 groups showed a significant (p = 0.0001 - 0.04) and small to moderate effect size (ES) improvement in the countermovement jump (ES = 0.49; 0.58; 0.55), 20 cm drop jump reactive strength index (ES = 0.81; 0.89; 0.86), CODS (ES = -1.03; -0.87; -1.04), and kicking performance (ES = 0.39; 0.49; 0.43), with no differences between treatments. The study shows that 30, 60, and 120 s of rest between sets ensure similar significant and small to moderate ES improvement in jump, CODS, and kicking performance during high-intensity short-term explosive training in young male soccer players. Key pointsReplacing some soccer drills by low volume high-intensity plyometric training would be beneficial in jumping, change of direction speed, and kicking ability in young soccer players.A rest period of 30, 60 or 120 seconds between low-volume high-intensity plyometric sets would induce significant and similar explosive adaptations during a short-term training period in young soccer players.Data from this research can be helpful for soccer trainers in choosing efficient drills and characteristics of between sets recovery programs to enhance performances in young male soccer players.
Keywords: Biological age; childhood; explosive strength; strength training; team sports.