Small-sided games in team sports training: a brief review

Halouani, Jamel and Chtourou, Hamdi and Gabbett, Tim and Chaouachi, Anis and Chamari, Karim (2014) Small-sided games in team sports training: a brief review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28 (12). pp. 3594-3618. ISSN 1064-8011

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Small-sided games (SSGs) incorporating skills, sport-specific movements, at intensities sufficient to promote aerobic adaptations, are being increasingly implemented in professional team sport environments. Small-sided games are often employed by coaches based on the premise that the greatest training benefits occur when training simulates the specific movement patterns and physiological demands of the sport. At present, there is relatively little information regarding how SSG can best be used to improve physical capacities and technical and tactical skills in team sports. It is possible that with some modifications (e.g., number of players, pitch size, coach encouragement, and wrestling), such games may be physiologically beneficial for athletes with relatively high initial aerobic fitness levels. For instance, it has been shown that 3-a-side soccer SSG resulted in higher intensity (i.e., greater overall distance, less jogging and walking, higher heart rate, and more tackling, dribbling, goal attempts, and passes) than 5-a-side SSG. Likewise, when player numbers were kept constant, a larger playing area increased the intensity of the SSG with a smaller playing area having the opposite effect. It has also been demonstrated that energy expenditure was similar between badminton and volleyball courts, but lower than that obtained in a basketball court. Moreover, it has been demonstrated in rugby that wrestling can increase the physical demands of SSG. Consistent coach encouragement can also increase training intensity, although most rule changes have trivial or no effect on exercise intensity. Further research is required to examine the optimal periodization strategies of SSG training for the long-term development of physiological capacity, technical skill, and tactical proficiency, while also minimizing the associated risk of injuries.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to accepted version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 24 May 2017 05:22
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2017 01:03
Uncontrolled Keywords: exercise; physiological responses; SSG; variables; athletic performance; energy metabolism; humans; physical conditioning, human; physical endurance; sports
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
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