Physiological characteristics of female soccer players and health and performance considerations: a narrative review

Randell, Rebecca K, Clifford, Thomas, Drust, Barry, Moss, Samantha L, Unnithan, Viswanath B, De Ste Croix, Mark B ORCID: 0000-0001-9911-4355, Datson, Naomi, Martin, Daniel, Mayho, Hannah, Carter, James M and Rollo, Ian (2021) Physiological characteristics of female soccer players and health and performance considerations: a narrative review. Sports Medicine. doi:10.1007/s40279-021-01458-1 (In Press)

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Abstract

Female soccer has seen a substantial rise in participation, as well as increased financial support from governing bodies over the last decade. Thus, there is an onus on researchers and medical departments to develop a better understanding of the physical characteristics and demands, and the health and performance needs of female soccer players. In this review we discuss the current research, as well as the knowledge gaps, of six major topics: physical demands, talent identification, body composition, injury risk and prevention, health, and nutrition. Data on female talent identification are scarce, and future studies need to elucidate the influence of relative age and maturation selection across age groups. Regarding the physical demands, more research is needed on the pattern of high-intensity sprinting during matches and the contribution of soccer-specific movements. Injuries are not uncommon in female soccer players, but targeting intrinsically modifiable factors with injury prevention programmes can reduce injury rates. The anthropometric and physical characteristics of female players are heterogenous and setting specific targets should be discouraged in youth and sub-elite players. Menstrual cycle phase may influence performance and injury risk; however, there are few studies in soccer players. Nutrition plays a critical role for health and performance and ensuring adequate energy intake remains a priority. Despite recent progress, there is considerably less research in female than male soccer players. Many gaps in our understanding of how best to develop and manage the health and performance of female soccer players remain.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports > GV861 Ball games: Baseball, football, golf, etc.
Q Science > QP Physiology > QP301.H75 Physiology. Sport
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Sport and Exercise > Applied Sport & Exercise Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2021 13:17
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2021 13:30
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/9502

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