Anthropometric, Strength, and Aerobic Fitness of Higher and Lower-Level Soccer Referees

Parpa, Koulla orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1139-7731 and Michaelides, Marcos orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9226-4657 (2022) Anthropometric, Strength, and Aerobic Fitness of Higher and Lower-Level Soccer Referees. International Journal of Sports Science, 12 (1). pp. 8-13. ISSN 2169-8759

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Soccer refereeing is a challenging task that entails dealing with high physical, physiological, and cognitive demands. This study aimed to examine the anthropometric, strength, and aerobic fitness of higher and lower-level soccer referees in Eastern Europe. Body composition, aerobic fitness, and lower body strength were assessed for seventeen higher-level (age: 33.94±4.64 years, height: 177 ± 6.49cm, weight: 78.83±7.69kg) and eighteen lower-level referees (age: 28.00±5.78 years, height: 175.39± 5.63cm, weight: 75.44±7.85kg). It was demonstrated that the higher-level referees are older [t(33) = 3.34, p = .002] and have significantly better aerobic fitness than lower-level referees. More specifically, they demonstrated greater running times [t(33) = 2.50, p = 0.018, d= 0.85] and VO2max [t(33) = 2.99, p = 0.005, d=1.02]. In addition, the velocity at respiratory threshold and the velocity at VO2max was significantly greater in the higher-level group than the lower-level group [VRC: t(33) = 2.46, p = 0.019, d= 0.83, VVO2max:t(33) = 1.91, p = 0.06, d= 0.64] Concurrently, no significant differences were identified with regard to body composition, lower body strength, and flexibility. The results could be useful to the referees themselves, their fitness coaches, and instructors as they can be used to improve their performance and potentially their professional development. Referees aiming to achieve higher officiating levels need to achieve high aerobic fitness as elite soccer is intense and requires high aerobic fitness. Concurrently, older referees need to maintain optimal body composition and aerobic fitness as both tend to be compromised with aging.

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