The main purpose of this study was to unveil how chronological and training age or maturity of soccer players relate or affect linear sprinting speed, repeated sprinting ability (RSA), and change-of direction speed (CODS) performance. Competitive soccer players at the Ethiopian national soccer league level participated in the study. A total of 88 volunteered soccer players (age, 22.25±2.27 years old; training age; 9.38±2.78 years) who were free from any kind of injury at the time of data collection completed the study protocol. While age was calculated using a player’s birth certificate, fitness performance was measured using specific test protocols for each fitness element. For credibility, fitness test was conducted on a weekly basis for about five consecutive weeks and the average was taken. Bivariate correlation, partial correlation and GLM analyses were used. The bivariate correlation showed that sprinting speed (r (88) = - .254, p=.017), CODS (r (88) = -216, p.043) and RSA best (r (88) = 0.235, p=.028) significantly correlated with age (p<.05). However, RSA total time, RSA average and RSA worst did not correlate with age. With training age, only CODS showed small, but significant negative correlation (r (88) = -.230, p=.031). While sprinting speed significantly correlated with maturity, other qualities that rely on the ability to produce the best performance repeatedly did not relate with age or training age. These findings suggest that speed and speed related performances depend on maturity and genetic make-up and these are less trainable qualities that may not significantly improve over time.
KeywordsAge, Maturity, Speed, Repeated sprinting ability, Fitness,
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