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Dr Nikolaos Koundourakis has over 20 years’ experience working with professional and youth athletes. He specializes in Sport Science, exercise physiology and periodization. He is also an editorial member of the Austin & Publons Sports Medicine Journal. Dr. Nikolaos is also head of sports science for Ece-soccer Ltd Europe where he is responsible for providing sport science and injury prevention methods to professional teams. His numerous case studies presented over the years include:

Alterations of specific Hormonal and Biochemical parameters during a soccer game. 2ο Scientific World Congress on Soccer. 4-6 May 2007, Trikala, Greece.

Acute high-Intensity interval exercise-induced changes in blood parameters on well trained young elite soccer players. 24th Annual Congress of the ECSS,Prague, Chech Republic, May 03-06, 2019

The effects of a specific training program on the physical abilities of adolescent soccer players. 2ο Scientific World Congress on Soccer. 4-6 May 2007, Trikala, Greece.

The effects of high intensity endurance interval training on VO2max and soccer performance. The VII World Congress on Science & Football 26 to 30 May 2011 Nagoya, Japan

The effects of different seasonal strength training protocols on androgen levels and neuromuscular exercise performance in professional soccer players. 8th World Congress on Science & Football (WCSF2015),  20 – 23 May 2015.

Strenuous exercise and endothelial function in professional soccer players. 8th World Congress on Science & Football (WCSF2015) 20 – 23 May 2015.

Importance to maintain Training Level and to avoid Detraining

Detraining is defined as a phase of reduction or complete training cessation. In our case staying and training in home, performing the physical activities that can be performed in that environment, is within the category of training reduction. This period can partial or even complete reverse the adaptations of training, resulting in compromised exercise performance including muscle strength and power, muscular endurance, speed, flexibility, agility and body composition. The magnitude of the alterations in performance capacity is dependent on several factors, such as the selected training strategy, the duration of the detraining phase, and the initial fitness level of the participants among other parameters.

Evidence from various athletic populations indicate that 3 to 6 weeks of detraining affects negatively aerobic capacity strength neuromuscular performance and body composition. This negative effect of detraining on exercise performance adaptations is a result of complex physiological mechanisms. It has been reported that the decline in aerobic capacity is related to reductions in blood volume, stroke volume, cardiac output, ventilator functions, and cardiac dimension due to insufficient training stimulus or training cessation. Similarly, the observed detraining related decrease in muscle strength and strength related performance appears to be a result of decreases in muscle fiber size, mostly due to reduced type II muscle fiber area, mitochondrial ATP production, and enzymatic activities

Although the effects of detraining have been well demonstrated in adults, the issue is more complex in younger individuals. This is mainly for three factors.

1). Firstly, it is known that the maturation related physiological changes (such as hormonal alterations, changes in height, central nervous system myelinization etc.) favor different types of adaptation depending on maturity status. This is translated in specific training targets per age group that should be repeatedly worked and developed to a high extent. This maturity related physiological changes during growth may also influence the decay in performance following cessation/reduction of all types of exercise training. Don’t forget excellence is a habit & real talent is 20% a talented individual and 80% hard work. During this period therefore the maturity-related difference in decay may guide at least performance maintenance programs. It is well established that according to the biological age of the individuals training should focus on specific outcomes and gains that will eventually result in proper and efficient player development.

2). Secondly, since physical condition is most probably the most important parameter in injury prevention, detraining may predispose to injuries. Injuries can result in reducing the development process of the young athletes and also may result, depending on the type and the severity, on reduced ability to cope with the demands of the same age group leading to reduced motivation to participate in the specific sport and even early “retirement”.

3). Thirdly, training cessation/reduction also results in the cessation of working on several modifiable injury risk factors which negatively affects injury prevention procedures making a predisposed athlete to a susceptible one to injury. This is important in youth  athletes. For example the adolescent growth spurt is believed to be associated with increased risk of acute sport-related injury due to the unique vulnerability of growth cartilage and growing soft tissues as well as the growth process itself.  This is mainly due to physiologic and anatomic changes that occur during growth, which affect risk factors such as growth plate activity/vulnerability, muscle strength, and flexibility. Please note that Risk factors vary by sport, age and that girls and boys also appear to possess different injury risk factors, perhaps due to the different movement patterns they have been documented to demonstrate and sex.