Match-play, training workloads and sensorimotor and neuromuscular performance of elite young soccer players

Main Article Content

Colin Clancy
Nigel Gleeson
Tom Mercer


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess sensorimotor and neuromuscular performance capabilities over an in-season microcycle in early-career professional soccer players and to examine the relationship with training and match-play workload. Methods: Sensorimotor and neuromuscular performance capabilities (isometric knee extensor: force replication error, peak force, electromechanical delay, rate of force development) of 12 professional soccer players were assessed over a 7-day period. Training and match-play workload was also recorded over the same period for each player (high-intensity running distance). Fluctuations in sensorimotor and neuromuscular performance and workload variables were analysed. Results: There was evidence of fluctuations in sensorimotor and neuromuscular performance capability over the microcycle that reached statistical (p < .005) and practical (18.1% [baseline-to-peak]) significance alongside heterogeneity in training and match workload (264% [coefficient of variation], p < .0005). Some temporal congruence among fluctuating patterns of intra-microcycle training and match-play load and concomitant electromechanical delay performance was noted (p < .005). Asynchronous responses were observed for peak force, but rate of force development and force replication error capabilities were unchanged during the microcycle. Conclusion: While some neuromuscular performance capabilities fluctuate over an in-season microcycle and are influenced partially by high-intensity running workload, sensorimotor performance capabilities were unchanged during the microcycle.

Article Details

How to Cite
Clancy, C., Gleeson, N., & Mercer, T. (2023). Match-play, training workloads and sensorimotor and neuromuscular performance of elite young soccer players. Scientific Journal of Sport and Performance, 3(1), 95–107.
Performance Analysis of Sport and Physical Conditioning
Author Biographies

Colin Clancy, Queen Margaret University

School of Health Sciences.

Nigel Gleeson, Queen Margaret University

School of Health Sciences.

Tom Mercer, Queen Margaret University

School of Health Sciences.


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