Friday, December 14, 2012

Small-sided games: what’s new?
Fradua and colleagues from the University of Granada, Spain, recently published a study in the Journal of Sports Science (2012) the findings of which may have practical applications for training. Four 1st Spanish league matches involving five different teams were analyzed during the 2002-3 season using a match analysis system. The length and width of the rectangle that included all outfield players was defined with a software. Briefly, the rectangles were composed by two vertical lines parallel to the goal and two parallel lines to the touchlines. The field was divided in six zones. Zone 1 was the closest to the goal of the team in possession of the ball and zone 6 was the nearest to the opponent’s goal. The individual area of the small-sided games was calculated by dividing the pitch size by 20 (the number of outfield players).

What they found
  • Individual playing area ranged from 79 to 94 m2 and varied with the playing zone.
  • Length to width ratio of the areas ranged between 1:1 and 1:1.3. Length to width ratio was 1:1 in zones 1, 2, 5 & 6 and 1:1.3 in zones 3 and 4.

These findings may help the coaches to apply more specific small-sided games that will more closely mimic real game situations.

Points to remember
These finding have been derived from 1) four matches with five teams only, 2) teams with a specific style of play.

Fradua et al. Designing small-sided games for training tactical aspects in soccer: extrapolating pitch sizes from full-size professional matches. Journal of Sport Science, 2012; Nov 28. [Epub ahead of print]