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Reliability of internal and external load parameters in 6 a-side and 7 a-side recreational football for health


Sedentariness and related chronic disorders have a massive impact on healthcare costs worldwide. Contrariwise to endurance-based activities, there are little information and evidence on recreational football amongst middle-aged healthy males. The aim of this study was to assess the reliability of internal and external load parameters during 6 a-side and 7 a-side recreational football formats. 20 subjects were enrolled (mean ± SDs; age = 37 ± 5 years, weight = 77 ± 12 kg, and height = 175 ± 10 cm). Participants completed a match (55 min) and replicated the same match (55 min) a week later. The football matches took place on an artificial grass outdoor field (pitch size of 40 × 25 m). The analysis performed using GPS considered several internal and external load parameters: heart rate (HR), total distance (TD), high speed running (HSR), number of accelerations (> 2 m s−2), and metabolic power (MT). We found good scores of reliability in several parameters in both 6 and 7 a-side, respectively: mean HR (ICC = 0.66 and 0.76), TD (ICC = 0.82 and 0.68, respectively), accelerations (ICC = 0.65 and 0.69, respectively), MT (ICC = 0.76 and 0.83), HSR (ICC = 0.79 and 0.78), and HMD (ICC = 0.80 and 0.78). This study revealed good/excellent scores of absolute reliability, a small mean of change, and small/trivial effect size for internal and external load parameters during the replication analysis of the football formats. Therefore, this study showed that 6 a-side and 7 a-sides are reliable recreational football formats (inter-day reliability). This new evidence can be utilised in the design of football protocols for health.

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We thank all the subjects enrolled during the study for their support.

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Correspondence to Marco Beato.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Beato, M. Reliability of internal and external load parameters in 6 a-side and 7 a-side recreational football for health. Sport Sci Health 14, 709–714 (2018).

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  • GPS technology
  • Team sports
  • Soccer
  • Futsal