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J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Dec;23(9):2458-66. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bc1b39.

Interlimb coordination, strength, and power in soccer players across the lifespan.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.


This study aimed at verifying whether chronic participation in soccer training has a beneficial effect (p < 0.05) on the improvement and the maintenance of interlimb coordination performance across the lifespan and whether coordination is moderated by strength and power performances. Forty young (12 +/- 1 yr), 42 adult (26 +/-5 yr), and 32 older (59 +/- 11 yr) male soccer players and sedentary individuals were administered in-phase (IP) and antiphase (AP) synchronized (80, 120, and 180 bpm) hand and foot flexions and extensions, handgrip and countermovement jump (CMJ) tests. Regardless of age, soccer players always showed better performances (handgrip: 383 +/- 140 N; CMJ: 28.3 +/- 8.7 cm; IP: 55.2 +/- 12.9 s; and AP: 31.8 +/- 25.0 s) than sedentary individuals (handgrip: 313 +/- 124 N; CMJ: 21.0 +/- 9.4 cm; IP: 46.7 +/- 20.2 s, and AP: 21.1 +/- 23.9 s). With respect to IP and AP performances, a hierarchical model (p < 0.0001) emerged for CMJ, explaining 30% and 26% of the variance for IP and AP, respectively. In contrast, handgrip did not provide increments in the explained variance. Results indicate that chronic soccer training is beneficial to develop strength, CMJ, and interlimb synchronization capabilities in children, to reach higher levels of proficiency in adults, and to maintain performance in older individuals. The predicted role of CMJ on interlimb coordination indicates that a fine neuromuscular activation timing is central for both jump and coordinative performances. In practice, to induce higher attentional control and executive function in open skill sport athletes and to better prepare players to cope with the demands of their match, coaches should modulate complex motor behaviors with increasing velocity of execution and are strongly recommended to make use of technical and tactical drills that focus on the player's agility under time pressure to induce higher attentional control and executive function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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