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Standardized small-sided games evoke different physiological responses in elite-standard youth soccer players.
Small-sided games (SSGs) are suggested as an excellent training tool to improve physiological capacities and simulate the high physiological demands of full-sized matches (Abrantes et al., 2012). However, it is unclear if the physiological response to playing SSGs differs between age categories leading to differences in physiological adaptations. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine the physiological response in standardized SSGs of elite-standard youth soccer players of different age categories. Results indicate an age-related difference in the physiological response during SSGs. Although similar duration and pitch sizes were used, the physiological demands were lower for the under-19 team. Comparable results were observed in regular soccer practices of elite Portuguese soccer players (Abade et al., 2013). This illustrates the need for age-specific designs for SSGs to evoke adequate physiological responses in elite youth soccer players.