What they did?
Twenty two 19 yr old professional players from an Italian Serie A team were tested for sprint, strength and short-passing ability before, immediately after, 24 h and 48 h post a 90min friendly match. Total distance (TD) and high intensity distance (HID) covered during the game were 11.764m and 2664m, respectively. TD and HID were lower in the 2nd than in the 1st half. The mean heart rate was 88% and 82,5% of maximal in the 1st and 2nd half, respectively.
What did they find?
- Legs maximum strength and 40m run time recovered to pre-game values in 48 h of recovery.
- Short-passing ability was not affected by fatigue and was similar immediately post-match compared with the pre-game values.
- Match fatigue may not affect short-passing ability, at least in high-level players.
- Certain fitness parameters may return to pre-game values within 48 h after the match. This finding might indicate a faster recovery rate in young compared with adult players. I am not aware of such data in the literature and this is an interesting question for further investigation.
- Young high-level players may be ready for intense training 48 h after a game.
- High-level player of this age might be able to cope with 2 games per week.
One more thing. We do not know whether there is a cumulative effect on fatigue with several games played every 3-4 days, as the authors also state in their paper.