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Plyometric Training for Female Soccer Players Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2022

Female soccer players are to the same training activities as their male counterparts in the current times. Soccer is an intensive activity that extensively utilizes various body muscles. Thus, it is important to undertake serious training to improve the preparedness of players. Fischetti et al. (2019) note that plyometrics is a popular training activity that trainers use to enhance jump performance capabilities of their players. Moreover, it has been proved that plyometric training is an effective method for improving agility, running economy, sprint ability, and strength while playing (Fischetti et al., 2019). Besides, trainers have adopted plyometric training to protect their players from getting knee injuries as it improves landing mechanics and increases knee flexion as well as hamstrings activity, thereby reducing the landing force (Stojanović et al., 2017). Thus, this literature review aims to determine the effectiveness of plyometric training as an intervention to increase vertical jump or jump performance ability in adult female elite soccer players.

Table 1 – characteristic of included PT Studies.

Study Subjects Training design Tests Findings
(Ramirez-Campillo et al., 2018) Amateur female soccer players

One session PJT per-week (8F)

Two sessions PJT
per-week (8F)

Active control group (7F)

One session Plyometric Jump Training (PJT)

Two sessions PJT
per-week

Maximal kicking velocity test (MKV)

15-m linear sprint-time test

Meylan test

Yo-Yo intermittent recovery endurance test (Yo-YoIR1).

PJT session frequency has no extra effect on physical fitness
(Fischetti et al., 2019) Elite female soccer players

Plyometric group (14F)

Control group (14F)

PT carried out 3 days a week for 12 weeks Countermovement jump height (cm)

Agility T-test time (s)

PT can enhance female soccer players’ explosive strength
(Ozbar, 2015). Professional female soccer players (20F)

PT group (10F)

Control group (10F)

PT 2 times per week for 10 weeks. Anthropometric, running speed, and peak power tests in every session.

Player rested for a minute between each test.

PT is effective in strength conditioning
(Campo et al., 2009) 20 Elite female soccer players

PT group (10F)
Control group (10F)

PT was done 3 days per week for 12 weeks Standard Anthropometric Data collection procedures

Jump ability evaluated by a jumping mat

Stalker´s type hyperfrequency radar measured the kicking speed

12-week PT program improved female soccer players’ explosive strengths
(Ozbar et al., 2014) 18 female soccer players

PT Group (9F)

Control group (9F)

A 60-minute session duration of PT once a week for 8 weeks.

Control group prohibited from any conditional training

20-m sprint test

Peak power test

Jump test

PT improved peak power, jump, and sprinting

Findings

The studies involved in this critical literature review aim at exploring plyometric training in improving the effectiveness of adult female soccer players. In particular, this training is regarded as an intervention to enhance vertical jump or jump performance ability in some studies, such as Fischetti et al. (2019), Ozbar et al. (2014), and Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018). The other articles provide a wider look at the importance of explosive training on physical well-being, strength, and speed of soccer players, including Campo et al. (2009) and Ozbar (2015). Nevertheless, the results of all the studies are taken into account to ensure the comprehensiveness of this literature review. The empirical research is applied by all the involved authors, which makes their findings critical for formulating relevant recommendations.

Jump performance capabilities were confirmed to improve in all the studies except the one by Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018), who found the implementation of plyometric training is not associated with the extra impacts on female soccer players. Based on Maximal kicking velocity (MKV) and 15-m linear sprint-time tests, the authors stated that one session per week during eight weeks is not effective. On the contrary, Ozbar (2015) claims that two sessions per week for ten weeks allowed for increasing the overall strength of the study participants. In this study, the players were tested according to anthropometric, running speed, and peak power tests, which reflects the comprehensiveness of testing since several methods were used. Likewise Ozbar (2015), Campo et al. (2009) referred to standard anthropometric testing, which makes it possible to compare these studies in more details. In turn, Ozbar et al. (2014) also included a set of tests, such as a 20-m sprint test, peak power test, and jump test to either verify or reject their hypothesis. A distinctive method of the countermovement jump height (cm) and agility T-test time (s) tests was used by (Fischetti et al., 2019). Accordingly, the evidence shows that there a great variety of tests to measure the effectiveness of plyometric training, and it complicates the comparative analysis of studies.

Speaking of testing methodology, it should also be stated that all the studies except Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018) included professional and elite soccer players. In particular, the article by Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018) presents the results of amateur female soccer players, Fischetti et al. (2019) and Campo et al. (2009) investigated elite players, Ozbar (2015) – professional players, and Ozbar (2014) – players from the Women Second League. These variances demonstrate that the outcomes of professional and amateur players cannot be directly compared since their motivations are different. While non-professionals play on weekends to have pleasure, elite players are interested in winning and showing the best results. Therefore, the findings of Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018) cannot be considered reliable regarding the chosen topic of this review.

The sample size of all the studies is relatively small, which limits the generalization of the results. In particular, the average sample size is 18-20 participants, who were divided into the plyometric and control groups. The fact that all the included studies have a small size should be taken with caution when providing any recommendations for further research and practice. In addition, this fact prioritizes the need for the future empirical studies with a greater number of respondents. Nevertheless, these studies serve as a convincing starting point for more work in the field of sports studies since they set the tendencies and practical applications that are discussed at the end of this paper.

All of the studies included two groups of participants, whose results were compared and contrasted. However, the study by Ozbar (2015) did not allow the participants of the control group to train, which means that the positive results can be attributed only to additional load. In this case, there is a lack of special adaptation of the environment to plyometric training. Other studies report that the members of the control group were also active, and the study by Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018) also ensured the involvement of amateur soccer players in sports. Another factor of reliability is a blinding nature of the study, which was conducted only by Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018), while other studies avoided blinded experiments. It would be better if they also included this feature since it minimizes possible biases. The information about the type of intervention is available only to the researcher, and the data is shared only after the experiments.

The standardization of the processes that are involved in the study is one more issue that allows evaluating the extent of reliability. All of the studies clarified the steps they took to standardize their procedures. Ozbar (2014) and Ozbar (2015), for example, mention that they standardize the warm-up period and testing points. Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2018) introduced standard exercises and some extensions to make sure that all the participants perform the same actions. In Fischetti et al. (2019), the same leaders conducted testing and evaluation procedures. A 2-step run-up was adopted by Campo et al. (2009), where females were asked to repeat the kicks, but keep the speed. Thus, in terms of the standardization issue, all the studies are reliable.

As for the theoretical provisions of this literature review, there is a need for future research that should include large sample sizes, as well as elaborated designs with intervention and control groups, where the latter should also be engaged in sports. To ensure reliability, it is important to consider the issues of standardization, generalization, and validity. It is also beneficial to provide some recommendations for practical implications. For example, Campillo et al. (2018) states that based on the results of their study, it is recommended to improve soccer kick performance by means of plyometric training. In turn, Ozbar (2014) and Ozbar (2015) suggest that the mentioned format of training improves strength conditioning and peak power, jump, and sprinting, respectively. While not all of the reviewed studies are found to be reliable, they provide valuable insights into the organization and evaluation of such training. It should be emphasized that trainers should adjust the process of training to the needs of their female soccer players, so that it would be effective for them.

Conclusion

Several studies have shown that plyometric training affects significantly the jump performance ability of female elite soccer players. Various authors argued that neuromuscular factors improve muscular coordination when athletes train at an explosive strength around a specific velocity. Besides, some authors have also stated that the improvement of a player’s jumping ability can be caused by the knee flexion angle and specificity of exercises during strength training. Women can benefit from multicomponent neuromuscular training as opposed to strength training because they have lower baseline levels of explosive strengths compared to male soccer players. While research has shown that plyometric training plays an important role in enhancing the physical performances of female soccer athletes, several studies focus on how those training effects performance enhancements. The improvement of performance is caused by various neuromuscular adaptations.

Practical Application

Based on this literature review, plyometric training enhances power performances of athletes. For instance, such training can increase an athlete’s power performances as well as their maximal jumping. Besides, young females can benefit from such training activities as they will be less prone to injuries while playing. Thus, most trainers should adopt plyometric training to protect their players from getting knee injuries as it improves landing mechanics and increases knee flexion as well as hamstrings activity, thereby reducing the landing force. Although there exists a greater difference in the effectiveness of performances between male and female soccer players, it can improve female soccer players’ repeated jumping abilities.

References

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