Although it is recommended to use sport-specific training programs to optimize performance, studies analyzing the effects of the core stability training with high levels of sport-specificity on athletic performance are insufficient and unclear. The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of the level of specificity of a CORE stability program on specific soccer actions. Fourteen youth players were randomly assigned to the specific core stability group (SCS; n = 7) or the general core stability group (GCS; n = 7). The eight-week intervention consisted of two weekly training sessions added to the usual soccer training. Both groups performed four CORE stability tasks. The SCS group followed the principle of sports specificity, while the GCS group performed CORE stability commons. Ten-meter linear sprinting (Sprint) and change-of-direction maneuverability (V-cut) were evaluated before and after the intervention programs. A statistically significant improvement was obtained in Sprint (d = 0.84 95% CI (0.22, 1.45), p = 0.008) and V-cut (d = 1.24 95% CI (0.52, 1.93), p < 0.001). At posttest, statistically nonsignificant differences were obtained between groups in Sprint (d = 1.03 95% CI (-0.25, 2.30), p = 0.082) and V-cut (d = -0.56 95% CI (-1.89, 0.78), p = 0.370). In conclusion, sprint and change-of-direction maneuverability were improved, but there was no superiority of any type of training.
Keywords: core stability; soccer; youth.