A recent study published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research caught our eye when it looked at the effect of starting v non-starting on athletic performance.

Twelve basketball players (age = 20.6 ± 1.5 y; height = 178.0 ± 8.2 cm; weight = 74.1 ± 8.1 kg) were tested pre & post season for squat power, vertical jump, 20s lower body reaction drill and line drills. The players were divided into starters (28.3 ± 5.2 min per game) and nonstarters (NS) (8.3 ± 5.3 min per game).

The results showed that starters were more likely to have increases in absolute vertical jump peak power, and relative jump peak power (87% and 90% respectively), p<0.05. Similarly, starters were more likely to have significantly greater squat power than non-starters.

Implications

The study shows that a lack of game-time can significantly decrease a players fitness compared with starters and as such is likely to struggle when playing. So coaches have a few options to keep all players in the squat fit, especially the subs:

– Apply  targeted speed endurance during the training microcycle for subs, as this can significantly improve their high-intensity intermittent running capacity

– Apply 4*4min soccer-specific interval training to significantly improve on-field physical & technical performance