Tests for the physical preparation in soccer: updated review

Tests para la preparación física del fútbol. Revisión actualizada


*Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPE

Departamento de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales

**University of Guayaquil

Faculty of Physical Education, Sports and Recreation
***Universidad Central del Ecuador


Cristian Marcelo Vásquez Pilicita*


MSc. Mario Rene Vaca García*


PhD. Silvio Antonio González Catalá**


MSc. Luis Enrique Noroña Casa***


MSc. Efrén Mesias Palacios Zumba***







          This paper aims to make a preliminary diagnosis of the practical implementation level and of the theoretical knowledge about the control of the individual planning of the physical preparation of the soccer players aged 13-15 years. It includes an updated review of the theoretical and methodological basics found in the international literature and a survey to 35 coaches of the province of Pichincha; Republic of Ecuador. Since control is an essential component in any direction process, it is vital to develop a study that allows a theoretical update of different assessment tests for the specific performance of the soccer player, as a basis for a subsequent design of a group of tests for the individual control of the physical preparation of the school soccer player (13-15). The research concludes with a proposal of three tests for the specific control of the individualized physical preparation of the soccer player.

          Keywords: Test. Soccer. Physical preparation. Individualization.



          La investigación tiene por objetivo realizar un diagnóstico preliminar del nivel de aplicación práctica y de los conocimientos teóricos sobre el control de la planificación individual de la preparación física del futbolista entre los 13 a los 15 años de edad. Se realiza una revisión actualizada de los fundamentos teóricos y metodológicos existentes en la literatura internacional sobre el campo de acción estudiado, y se encuesta a 35 entrenadores de futbol de la provincia de Pichincha, República del Ecuador. Siendo el control un componente esencial en cualquier proceso de dirección, se hace vital realizar un estudio que permita la actualización teórica sobre las distintas pruebas de valoración del rendimiento específico del futbolista, como base fundamental para el diseño ulterior de un grupo de test para el control individual de la preparación física del futbolista escolar (13-15 años). La investigación concluye con una propuesta de tres test para el control específico de la preparación física individualizada del futbolista.

          Palabras clave: Test. Fútbol. Preparación física. Individualización.


Reception: 06/19/2016 - Acceptance: 08/05/2016


1st Review: 07/20/2016 - 2nd Review: 08/02/2016


EFDeportes.com, Revista Digital. Buenos Aires, Año 21, Nº 219, Agosto de 2016. http://www.efdeportes.com

1 / 1


    Soccer is one of the most attractive team sports worldwide for fans and enthusiasts of the sport (Portet, 2011). Mostly, this is due to the increase of professional soccer in all continents, as it is affirmed by Gómez, & Opazo (2007), and among other additional aspects, it has become a show with which many communities identify themselves (Antezana, 2003; González, 2003; Pimenta, 2003; Villena, 2013; Rodríguez, 2016).

    The evolution of this sport registered a transformation inside the process of approximation, displacement and conflict in its trajectory, as it is affirmed by Roldán (2015), as a selective British practice until its extension and integration to the collective imagination. Considering that fact and since soccer is a mass sport, both ideology and politics have had influence on it (Sebreli, 1981; Vinnai, 2003; Kennedy, & Kennedy, 2013; Dorsey, & Sebastian, 2016); therefore, the analysis of the motivations to its practice have been a recurrent topic in theoretical and scientific studies (González, Sánchez, & Márquez, 2000; Folgar, Boubeta, Cristobal, & Zamácola, 2012; Muñoz, Sánchez, & Litago, 2015).

    Inside the sport training process there are trends that mark the training directions (Calero, 2013; González & Calero, 2014), an aspect that favors the improvement of the sport training (Calero, 2014a,b), which in the case of soccer they happen to be very well studied and defended, such as the research studies related to the different components of the athlete preparation (Calero, & González, 2015), where stand out the evaluation of the physical condition (Carling, 2013; Irigoyen, Huerta, Alvira, Benito, & Los Arcos, 2014; Franco-Márquez, & al, 2015; Smith, Coutts, Merlini, Deprez, Lenoir, & Marcora, 2016), the psychological preparation (Diment, 2014; Giske, & Johansen, 2016), communication (Cappe, 2016; Viciana, Mayorga, Ruiz, & Blanco, 2016), the planning of the specific training (Váczi, Tollár, Meszler, Juhász, & Karsai, 2013; Morgans, Orme, Anderson, & Drust, 2014; Gallo, Cormack, Gabbett, Williams, & Lorenzen, 2015), the teaching-learning process (Abad, Giménez, Robles, & Rodríguez, 2011; Verdú, Damiano, Carbonell, & Turpin, 2015), the technical and tactical performance (Lapresa, Arana, Ugarte, & Garzón, 2009; Leite, 2013; Orozco, Sierra, & Pérez, 2015) or soccer as a recreational component (Gómez, Valero, & Gutiérrez, 2007; Vasconcellos, Seabra, Cunha, Montenegro, Penha, Bouskela, E. et al., 2016), among others.

    As part of the comprehensive preparation process of the athlete, the performance control plays an essential role before, during and after the beginning of the process (Calero, Fernández, & Fernández, 2008; Butler, Southers, Gorman, Kiesel, & Plisky, 2012; Nawabi, Cro, Hamid, & Williams, 2014; Barroso, Calero & Sánchez, 2015; Barroso, Barroso, Sánchez, Calero, Recalde, Montero, & Delgado, 2015).

    Such control of the performance is revealed in the application of tests to evaluate the sport performance, which are expressed and divided according to the component of the preparation of the athlete under study (physical, technical, tactical, theoretical, and psychological).

    Physical preparation is a process oriented towards the strengthening of the organs and systems (Freeman, 2013; Calero & González, 2015), to an increase of their functional possibilities and to the development of motor qualities (strength, speed, resistance, flexibility and agility (Ozolin, 1988). The aforementioned statement matches the criteria of classics such as Matvéev (1983) and contemporary ones like Platonov (2001).

    For the specific case of the assessment tests of the physical performance of the soccer player, the scientific literature tackles several tests that essentially validate their strategic value for the diagnosis in the sport initiation (Haro, Ortega, Cerezo, & Contreras, 2007). Nevertheless, the physical preparation of the player is a continuous process during the active life of the athlete (Bosco, & Vila, 1991; Salinero, González, Ruíz, D., Vicén, García, Rodríguez, & Cruz, 2016).

    Among the numerous physical tests to valuate the performance of the soccer placer at any age, it is vital to select those that according to the need and possibility of the coach, allow having higher indicators of reliability, validity and economy.

    Since control is an essential component in any direction process, it is vital to develop a study that allows a theoretical update of different assessment tests for the specific performance of the soccer player, as a basis for a subsequent design of a group of tests for the individual control of the physical preparation of the school soccer player (13-15).

Characterization of the physical abilities in soccer

    Soccer is a sport that requires the determining participation of various physical abilities during its development. This is due to the time dedicated to the sport, since a game lasts 90 minutes and is played in two halves of 45 minutes with 15-minute half-time break. During the game, several physical abilities must be displayed according to the action or function of each player’s task (defend, attack, get away, etc.) since soccer is a very variable sport in terms of motor action. It consists of 11 players, plus a referee, who officiates the match, based on the FIFA regulations and keeps order on the pitch.

    Several authors approach the characteristics of the sport according to their studies and to the activities of the players during the game. Some of the characteristics of soccer are described below:

    In one of the latest and more effective studies carried out in this sport, ESPN TV Network, proved that a professional soccer player, during the 90 minutes of the game, running constantly, covered nearly 9-11 kilometres, at a high speed, showing that one of the predominant abilities in this sport is the resistance to speed, although it cannot be forgotten that soccer is a sport of multiple skills, since sometimes there are other skills which are defining, for example shots on goal that score a goal, or a head shot. However, and according to Borbón & Alvarado (2013) and Martín, Muela, Recio, Escaño, Escaño, Gisbert et al. (2013) resistance to speed is what predominates in present day soccer, because during the entire match the athlete keeps running at a high velocity and without the necessary time to achieve an appropriate recovery.

Bases of the physical abilities displayed in soccer

Material and methods

    As a preliminary diagnosis, 35 coaches of the province of Pichincha, Republic of Ecuador were surveyed, and the goal was to know the main aspects of the planning for the physical preparation of soccer players aged 13-15 years. The coaches were selected based on their experience (10 years or more of work in the school category studied). To tabulate the data and obtain the central trend statistics, it was used Microsoft Excel 2013; and Microsoft Graph for the design of graphics.

Results and discussion

    The questions and answers of the survey are described below.

1.     Do you plan the physical preparation process of the soccer player?

  • The answers demonstrated, at least in theory, that 100 percent of the coaches had some kind of program for the physical preparation of the soccer player. This proves, as it is affirmed by Carling (2013); Irigoyen, Huerta, Alvira, Benito & Los Arcos (2014); Franco-Márquez et al (2015); Smith, Coutts, Merlini, Deprez, Lenoir & Marcora (2016) that the control and planning of the physical preparation is essential in the direction of the sport training process.

2.     Do you plan the sport training, and specifically the physical preparation of the athlete based on the principle of individualization?

  • The preliminary study of the training plans of the coaches surveyed, brought about that only four subjects (11,43%) detailed some components of the athlete’s training in their plans based on the individualization principle. In that regard, it coincides with Calero (2013), González & Calero (2014) and Calero (2014a,b) that in the direction process of the sport training it is necessary to plan the guidelines, since it is one of the most relevant trends worldwide, an aspect that has incidence on the improvement of the training in order to achieve a high and long- term performance in a short period of time.

3.     Do you control the training plans and the evolution of the loads of the sport training?

  • In theory, and in an unreliable way, 100 % of the coaches surveyed stated that they controlled the parameters and had all the necessary knowledge about time periods and implementation of the principles of soccer training.

4.     Do you make regular controls (at least every two months) to evaluate the effectiveness of the work carried out with the athletes?

  • The responses proved that only 37.14% (13 subjects) of the coaches carried out pertinent controls of the athlete preparation, at least every two months. It coincides with authors Cappe (2016); Viciana, Mayorga, Ruiz & Blanco (2016) that the planning of the specific training of the soccer players, and of all sports, need systematic controls to test the effects of the sport loads in athletes, an aspect that necessarily requires a training strategy or making adjustments.

5.     What do you think is the importance of controlling the physical preparation of the soccer player aged 13-15 years?

Graphic 1. Importance of control in the soccer training plan

  • The results showed that most of the coaches (21: 60%) considered that the physical preparation of a soccer player at that age had a Very High Importance, while 26 % (9 subjects) gave it a High Importance. Only 11 % evaluated the importance of control as Average, and 3 % (1 subject) as Low. However, all of them coincided that the control of the physical preparation is necessary.

Graphic 2. Importance of the individual control of the physical preparation of the soccer placer

  • Despite the results of question number two that prove the lack of planning in the training of the soccer player according to the individualization principle, in question six is demonstrated that the coaches in general, consider important the control of the physical training of the soccer player in the category studied. Even though 40 % (14 coaches) consider the control of the physical preparation of Very High Importance, 23% (8 coaches) of High, 29% (10 coaches) as Average and 8% (three coaches) as Low, an informal interview demonstrated that all of them coincide in the need of controlling the most relevant physical abilities that have an impact of the soccer player training. The practical problem is that not all coaches of Pichincha know or have the necessary human and material resources to carry out the task of controlling the indicator studied.

  • The above proves that the teaching-learning process is a key factor to increase the levels of knowledge and practical applicability of the different scientific and technological advances aiming a better performance in any sport (Abad, Giménez, Robles, & Rodríguez, 2011; Verdú, Damiano, Carbonell, & Turpin, 2015).

  • For that reason, one of the future tasks is to increase the level of knowledge of the field of action with diverse educative policies oriented at the increase of the coaches’ knowledge.

  • According to the preliminary study developed, it was decided to use the following tests to evaluate the performance of the soccer player as the beginning of a subsequent study.

Test number 1

Name: Astrand test.

Objective: to determine areas of work and maximum aerobic speed.

Indicator: Pulse using the Karvonen formula.

Means: track and chronometer.

Methodology: Take the pulse before the start, run for three minutes, and take the pulse in the end. Determine the distance covered and the speed, then make the same procedure in 3.30 min and define the maximum aerobic speed.

Areas of work

Test number 2

Name: Vitori test.

Objective: determine acceleration distance.

Means: track marked every ten meters (total of 60 meters) preferably with javelins; chronometer.

Methodology: In a 60 metre track mark every 10 meters with javelins, run at a maximum speed and time every ten meters.

Test number 3

Name: vertical jump without impulse.

Objective: determine the strength of the legs.


  • In a clear space near a wall, measure the height of the athlete with a hand extended upwards and standing in the tip of his toes, then the athlete makes a deep flexion and a jump to the top of the possibilities, marking the maximum height.

  • It is worth noting that in this group of tests proposals, only three were chosen, since with them the most predominant abilities of soccer are controlled, and they are the most important ones for the process of individualized control of the physical preparation.

Abilities to work with in the proposed tests

  • Regenerative aerobics.

  • Aerobic capacity.

  • Aerobic and anaerobic power.

  • Special resistance.

  • Speed.

  • Acceleration.

  • Strength.


    The paper concludes both in theory and in practice that the control in the individual preparation of the soccer player aged 13-15 is extremely important in the direction of the training process. For that reason, the world trends of the physical training, its control and planning should allow the development of individual abilities according to the needs and possibilities of the athlete. Based on that, three tests were designed to enhance the control of individualization in the physical preparation of soccer teams where the research will continue.


    Research Project: “Gestión de competencias para publicaciones científicas en estudiantes de pregrado y postgrado de la Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPE”.


Another articles in English


EFDeportes.com, Revista Digital · Año 21 · N° 219 | Buenos Aires, Agosto de 2016  
Lecturas: Educación Física y Deportes - ISSN 1514-3465 - © 1997-2016 Derechos reservados