Previous studies suggest that the period of time between 2 consecutive weekly games is adequate for complete recovery and to maintain subsequent physical performance.
What has never been previously researched is the effect on players of undertaking this frequency of games over an extended period of time.
A new study published in a special edition of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance looked at the long-term effect of multiple matches played within a few days and whether the physical performance of players would be reduced when they are involved in 2 or more matches a week.
The main finding of the current study led by Dr Ian Rollo of Loughborough University, was that the players’ ability to jump, sprint and perform repeated high-intensity exercise was indeed impaired when playing 2 competitive matches a week over 6 weeks.
For elite professional footballers this is far less likely to be an issue as the luxury of a large, talented squads enables managers to rotate players throughout the season and avoid the associated problems of tiredness and staleness.