Reliability of Self-Regulated Repeated Sprint Performance in Male Professional Football Players

Ruben V. Hagen1 & Shaun M. Phillips2

1Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
2Human Performance Science Research Group, University of Edinburgh


The aim of the present study was to investigate reliability of self-regulated recovery time and performance during repeated sprints. For 4 trials, 6 professional male football players (18.8 ± 0.5 years, 182.4 ± 5.0 cm, and 77.4 ± 6.0 kg) completed 12 x 30 m (15 + 15 m) shuttle sprints, instructed to self-regulate (SR) recovery time to maintain performance. There were no between-trial differences in sprint time (ST), recovery time or fatigue index. ST showed a high degree of reliability for all trials (coefficient of variation [CV] ≤ 1.2, intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] ≥ 0.89). Recovery time became less variable and more consistent after trials 1-2 (CV = 11.9, ICC = 0.81) compared to trials 2-3 (CV = 7.7, ICC = 0.93), and trials 3-4 (CV = 8.2, ICC = 0.92). There were no between-trial differences, but an effect of sprint number (p < 0.05) on physiological and perceptual measures, except that physical ratings of perceived exertion (P-RPE) had a significant reduction between trial 1 and 3 (p < 0.05). No sign of pacing during sprints when compared to criterion sprint (p < 0.05). Experienced subjects did not use less time to familiarize themselves compared to previous research, but after 2 trials they could maintain repeated sprint performance with a relatively short and consistent SR recovery time, without pacing their sprints. Self-regulated recovery could be used as a reliable and specific training method to maintain quality of sprint training sessions.


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RUBEN VIST HAGEN graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2015 with a master`s degree (MSc.) in Strength & Conditioning. Ruben now works as an assistant professor at the Department of Teacher Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, holding lectures in sports and physical education. His primary research interests are in the field of elite performance development and the role of physical maturity in physical education.

SHAUN PHILLIPS, PhD, is Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology, and Programme Director MSc Strength and Conditioning, at The University of Edinburgh.  His primary research interests include novel exercise interventions for people with neurological conditions, fatigue mechanisms during exercise, the perceptual regulation of exercise, and the use of high-intensity interval exercise for public health.

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