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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2018 Jul-Aug;58(7-8):1163-1170. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07292-9. Epub 2017 May 9.

Soccer training: high-intensity interval training is mood disturbing while small sided games ensure mood balance.

Author information

Sportive Performance and Physical Rehabilitation, High Institute of Sport and Physical Education, University of Jandouba, Kef, Tunisia.
Faculty of Sciences of Bizerte, University of Carthage, Zarzouna, Bizerte, Tunisia.
Sport Science Program, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar -
Sport Science Program, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.
Athlete Health and Performance Research Center, ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.



The aim of the study was to compare the effects of high-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) versus small-sided games (SSG) in soccer on both the physiological responses and the mood state of players.


Sixteen professional soccer players took part in the study (age: 24.1±0.9 years). Testing of players was conducted on separate days in a randomized and counter-balanced order (each training session: 28 minutes: 4x4 minutes work with 3 minutes of passive recovery in-between). Effort: HIIT: intermittent 15-s runs at 110% maximal aerobic speed with 15 seconds of passive recovery in-between. SSG: 4 versus 4 players on a 25x35 meter pitch size with full-involvement play. Psychological responses before and after each training-session were assessed using the profile of mood-state (POMS: Tension, Depression, Anger, Vigor, Fatigue, and Confusion). The players' heart rate (HR) was continuously measured, whereas ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and blood lactate concentration ([La]) were collected ~3-min after each training-session.


HIIT and SSG showed no significant difference in HR, RPE and [La] responses. The HIIT compared with SSG resulted in: an increased total mood disturbance (P<0.001), tension (P<0.05), fatigue (P<0.01) and a decreased vigor (P<0.001).


Both HIIT and SSG sessions induced similar physiological responses, in contrast, HIIT produced a mood disturbance while SSG ensured mood balance. Practitioners could choose between these two exercises according to the objective of their training, keeping in mind the mood-related advantages of the SSG shown in the present study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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