|dc.description.abstract||The studies presented in this thesis examined the physiological impact of a systematic
training programme on adolescent footballers. The main variables of interest in each study
were maturation, training session time and baseline fitness. The current thesis comprises of
Study 1 analysed the birth date distribution of the players in the Performance School
programme compared to the general population, as well as how physical prowess was
effected by the distribution of birth dates. The results indicated that the Relative Age Effect
(RAE) was present within the Performance School programme and an overrepresentation of
players born earlier in the selection year was found in every year group. Despite the presence
of the RAE, there were no differences found with regards to physical performance between
players born at the start or end of the selection year.
Study 2 extended the findings in Study 1. Study 2 aimed to examine the contribution of
certain variables; training session time, progression in maturity offset and baseline fitness, to
change in physical performance over one competitive season. The results in Study 2 indicated
that baseline fitness was the largest contributing variable to change in physical performance
over time from baseline.
Study 3 examined the stability of ranking players based on physical performance in a 20m
sprint, change of direction test (COD), SJ assessment and the Yo-yo intermittent recovery test
level 1 (YYIRTL1). The study also aimed to assess response to training on an individual,
rather than a group, level. The results in Study 3 indicated that stability in ranking differs
depending on age group and on measure of physical performance. With regards to individual
response, Study 3 showed that performance in YYIRTL1 was most likely to change, given
the training stimulus.
Finally, Study 4 aimed to assess the differences in physical performance and rate of change in
physical performance between groups of adolescent footballers who train and compete at
different levels in Scottish football. The findings in Study 4 indicated that, firstly, the only
attribute that was able to discriminate between playing standard was the 20m sprint.
Furthermore, the only attribute that was suggestive of a greater training session time was
performance in the YYIRTL1. However, despite differences in playing standard and training
session time, there were no differences found in rate of progression in any of the physical