Journal of Sport science and medicine March 31, 2010Posted by berthae in Portopolio.
Tags: Journal, Sport Science
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2002) 1, 54-55
Letter to the Editor
CHANGES IN BODY FAT CONTENT OF TOP-LEVEL SOCCER
In the recent years, there has been remarkable
development in the scope and quality of soccer
physiology and medicine. However, there is a
shortage of descriptive data concerning the physical
and physiological characteristics of soccer players
from Eastern Europe while much more literature
exists providing information on male Western
European and American soccer (Rhodes et al., 1986;
Davies et al., 1992). The ideal physiological and
anthropometric profile of a successful soccer player
was investigated (Mangine et al., 1990) and it has
been demonstrated that the game of soccer has
become more dynamic, which can be attributed to
improvements in the speed and agility of players.
Body composition is an important aspect of fitness
for soccer as excess adipose tissue acts as dead
weight in activities where body mass must be lifted
repeatedly against gravity (Reilly, 1996). Several
studies have evaluated the seasonal alterations in
body composition of different elite athletes (Siders
et al., 1991; Morris and Payne, 1996). However,
there is no adequate information regarding changes
in body fat percentage during entire season i.e. preseasonal
training and competition period including
intervals in top-level professional soccer players.
Alterations in body fat have only been investigated
at the start and end of the competitive season (Burke
et al., 1986). Yet, Ostojic and Zivanic (2001) found
that body fat content of top-level Serbian
professional soccer players was significantly
decreased during the conditioning and competitive
period and increased during the off-season. Body
mass is likely to change during the course of the
competitive season as a result of training. In soccer
players seasonal body weight alterations are in
response to a significant reduction in fat mass. Burke
et al. (1986) and Reilly (1996) suggests that football
players can accumulate body fat in the off-season
and lose weight more during pre-seasonal training
than any other time. However, Ostojic and Zivanic
(2001) concluded that there were differing degrees
of the effect of training and competition on reducing
body fat. Soccer players lost more fat during the
competitive phase than conditioning period reaching
lowest levels at the end of the season. This was
probably due to intensive training and competition
schedule (matches twice-a-week, training sessions
every day), dietary habits and psychological effects
which require more investigation. Before and after
the season, during the interval most soccer players
have their fat content and body mass increased,
presumably owing to reduced aerobic activity along
with nutritional and behavioral changes. In some
competitive sports, players with lower body fat
percentage invariably have better performance. This
occurs because low body fat is a direct reflection of
the intensity of training (Reilly, 1996). Davies et al.
(1992), Morris and Payne (1996), and Reilly and
Keane (1999) have shown this to be true in such
different sports such as soccer, rowing or Gaelic
football. In addition, Ostojic and Zivanic (2001)
reported that in elite Serbian soccer players the main
improvements in the sprint times were associated
with reduction in body fat percentage. As body fat
content decreased during the season, players became
faster. Further observations (i.e. learning effects,
coordination, estimation of muscle mass) are needed
to clarify this point. Nevertheless, these findings
should be of interest to soccer coaches because they
will help to improve athletes’ performance. Periodic
measurement of body fat percentage allows the
trainer to correct the training regime. In summary,
top-level soccer players lose body fat during the
conditioning period and competitive season, with
reductions being associated with faster sprint times.
Burke, L.M., Gollan, R.A. and Read, R.S. (1986)
Seasonal changes in body composition in
Australian Rules footballers. British Journal of
Sports Medicine 20, 69-71.
Davies, J.A., Brewer, J. and Atkin, D. (1992) Preseasonal
physiological characteristics of English first and
second division soccer players. Journal of Sports
Sciences 10, 541-547.
Mangine, R.E., Noyes, F.R., Mullen, M.P. and Barber,
S.D. (1990) A physiological profile of the elite
soccer athlete. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports
Physical Therapy 12, 147-152.
Morris, F.L. and Payne, W.R. (1996) Seasonal variations
in the body composition of lightweight rowers.
British Journal of Sports Medicine 30, 301-304.
55 Body Fat Content in Soccer, Ostojic
Ostojic, S.M. and Zivanic, S. (2001) Effects of training on
anthropometric and physiological characteristics of
elite Serbian soccer players. Acta Biologiae et
Medicinae Experimentalis 27, 48.
Reilly, T. (1996) Fitness assessment. In: Science and
Soccer. Ed: Reilly, T. London: E & FN Spon. 25-
Reilly, T. and Keane, S. (1999) Seasonal variations in the
fitness of elite Gaelic footballers. Journal of Sports
Sciences 17, 818-819.
Rhodes, E.C., Mosher, R.E., McKenzie DC, Franks, I.M.,
Potts, J.E. and Wenger, H.A. (1986) Physiological
profiles of the Canadian Olympic Soccer Team.
Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences 11,
Siders, W.A., Bolonchuk, W.W. and Lukaski, H.C.
(1991) Effects of participation in a collegiate sport
season on body composition. Journal of Sports
Medicine and Physical Fitness 31, 571-576.
!Sergej M. Ostojic, MD, MSc
Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory,
O.C.A. Sports Medicine Institute,