Looking at the physical demands of Soccer, we need to point out Endurance as one of the key performance factors. It is not unusual for elite players to run over 12 km during a game. For example, Bastian Schweinsteiger covered 11952 meters during the game Germany played against the Netherlands on the Euro 2012.
The fact being established, we can also emphasize the intermittent nature of our sport since it is a constant change of speed going from walking to maximal sprint. In order to train this quality, a serious coach or staff has to evaluate the player’s capacity which will help to implement a training program, control it, and individualize the work.
For a very long time, the beep test was used as a field testing method to determine an athlete’s endurance ability, but the test was limited due to it’s continuous nature. In recent years, a new test called Yo-Yo Intermitent Recovery Test has been developed that has a higher level of correlation to the specificity of soccer demands because it includes a short rest after each shuttle run. Of course, with each level, the running speed required is higher.
The two Yo-Yo intermittent recovery (IR) tests evaluate an individual’s ability to repeatedly perform intense exercise. The Yo-Yo IR level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) test focuses on the capacity to carry out intermittent exercise leading to a maximal activation of the aerobic system, whereas Yo-Yo IR level 2 (Yo-Yo IR2) determines an individual’s ability to recover from repeated exercise with a high contribution from the anaerobic system. Evaluations of elite athletes in various sports involving intermittent exercise showed that the higher the level of competition the better an athlete performs in the Yo-Yo IR tests. Performance in the Yo-Yo IR tests for young athletes increases with rising age. The Yo-Yo IR tests have shown to be a more sensitive measure of changes in performance than maximum oxygen uptake. The Yo-Yo IR tests provide a simple and valid way to obtain important information of an individual’s capacity to perform repeated intense exercise and to examine changes in performance.
If you don’t have the resources to conduct a laboratory Vo2max test (where you get direct measurement, opposed to the indirect measurement of the field tests), use the YO-YO IR. It is an easy way to evaluate specific endurance ability…
You can get this test and many others by purchasing this small app for your iphone/ipad. That’s what I use with my team.