Training Practices of Football Players During the Early COVID-19 Lockdown Worldwide

Jad Adrian Washif, Iñigo Mujika, Matthew D DeLang, João Brito, Alexandre Dellal, Thomas Haugen, Bahar Hassanmirzaei, Del P Wong, Abdulaziz Farooq, Gürhan Dönmez, Kwang Joon Kim, Juan David Peña Duque, Lewis MacMillan, Ryo Matsunaga, Alireza Rabbani, Mohamed Romdhani, Montassar Tabben, Yacine Zerguini, Piotr Zmijewski, David B PyneKarim Chamari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

UNLABELLED: The COVID-19 lockdown challenged the training options of athletes worldwide, including players from the most popular sport globally, football/soccer.

PURPOSE: The authors explored the training practices of football players worldwide during the COVID-19 lockdown.

METHODS: Football players (N = 2482, 30% professional, 22% semipro, and 48% amateur) completed an online survey (May-July 2020) on their training practices before versus during lockdown (March-June 2020). Questions were related to training frequency and session duration, as well as training knowledge and attitudes.

RESULTS: Before lockdown, more professional (87%) than semipro (67%) and amateur (65%) players trained ≥5 sessions/wk, but this proportion decreased during the lockdown to 55%, 35%, and 42%, respectively. Players (80%-87%) trained ≥60 minutes before lockdown, but this proportion decreased to 45% in professionals, 43% in amateurs, and 36% in semipros during lockdown. At home, more than two-thirds of players had training space (73%) and equipment (66%) for cardiorespiratory training, while availability of equipment for technical and strength training was <50% during lockdown. Interactions between coach/trainer and player were more frequent (ie, daily) among professional (27%) than amateur (11%) and semipro (17%) players. Training load monitoring, albeit limited, was mostly performed by fitness coaches, more so with professionals (35%) than amateurs (13%) and semipros (17%). The players' training knowledge and attitudes/beliefs toward training were relatively modest (50%-59%).

CONCLUSION: COVID-19 lockdown negatively affected training practices of football players worldwide, especially amateurs and semipros, for example, in training frequency, duration, intensity, technical, recovery, and other fitness training and coaching-related aspects. During lockdown-like situations, players should be monitored closely and provided appropriate support to facilitate their training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

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