Cytokine responses to small sided games in young soccer players




soccer, cytokine, interlukin-6, small-sided games


 The aim of this study was to determine of cytokine responses to small-sided games (SSG) in young soccer players This study included fourteen male soccer players (14.5± 0.6 years). Soccer players are divided into 2 groups as 3x3 and 4x4 groups. 3x3 group players played 2x6x1 minutes small-sided games in 25x20 m area and 3x6x2 minutes small-sided games in 30x25 m area for 4x4 group players. Blood samples were collected at baseline [pre-training (PRE)] and at immediately after the exercise [post-training (POST)] to measure Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor (Tnf-α), and Lactate (La) parameters. And also Heart Rate (HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) determined both PRE and POST. In the study, POST levels of La, IL-6, Tnf-α, HR, and RPE both in 3x3 group and in 4x4 group were found to be significantly higher than PRE (P<0.05). When the POST parameters of both groups were examined, only the Tnf-α level increased significantly in the 4x4 group (p<0.05), while no difference was found in the other parameters (p>0.05). SSG which is acutely applied in young soccer players, both 3x3 group and 4x4 group is are similar. However with a more players can increase tnf-α released and this can effect performance as negatively in young soccer players.  


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Veysel Böge, Selcuk University; Faculty of Sport Science, Selcuk University; Konya, Turkey.

Patlar Suleyman, Selcuk University;  Faculty of Sport Science, Selcuk University; Konya, Turkey.

Mehtap Bekir, Selcuk University; Faculty of Sport Science, Selcuk University; Konya, Turkey.


1. Pedersen BK, Febbraio MA. Muscle as an endocrine organ: focus on muscle-derived interleukin-6. Physiological reviews, 2008; 88(4):1379–406.

2. Halouani J, Ghattasi K, Bouzid MA, Rosemann T, Nikolaidis PT, Chtourou H, et al. Physical and Physiological Responses during the Stop-Ball Rule During Small-Sided Games in Soccer Players. Sports. 2019;7(5): 117.

3. Impellizzeri F, Marcora S, Castagna C, Reilly T, Sassi A, Iaia F, et al. Physiological and Performance Effects of Generic versus Specific Aerobic Training in Soccer Players. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2006;27(6): 483–492.

4. Tessitore A, Perroni F, Meeusen R, Cortis C, Lupo C, Capranica L. Heart Rate Responses and Technical-Tactical Aspects of Official 5-A-Side Youth Soccer Matches Played on Clay and Artificial Turf. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012;26(1): 106–112.

5. Atl H, Köklü Y, Alemdaroğlu U, Koçak FÜ. A Comparison of Heart Rate Response and Frequencies of Technical Actions Between Half-Court and Full-Court 3-A-Side Games in High School Female Basketball Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013;27(2): 352–356.

6. Gabbett TJ, Mulvey MJ. Time-motion analysis of small-sided training games and competition in elite women soccer players. J Strength Cond Res, 2008; 22: 543–552.

7. Gleeson M, Bishop NC, Stensel DJ, Lindley MR, Mastana SS, Nimmo MA. The anti‐inflammatory effects of exercise: mechanisms and implications for the prevention and treatment of disease. Nat Rev Immunol, 2011; 11(9): 607–615.

8. Pedersen BK, Steensberg A, Schjerling P. Muscle‐derived interleukin‐6: possible biological effects. The Journal of Physiology. 2001;536(2): 329–337.

9. Scheett TP, Mills PJ, Ziegler MG, Stoppani J, Cooper DM. Effect of Exercise on Cytokines and Growth Mediators in Prepubertal Children. Pediatric Research. 1999;46(4): 429–429.

10. Nielsen S, Pedersen B. Skeletal muscle as an immunogenic organ. Current Opinion in Pharmacology. 2008;8(3): 346–351.

11. McMurray RG, Zaldivar F, Galassetti P, Larson J, Eliakim A, Nemet D, et al. Cellular Immunity and Inflammatory Mediator Responses to Intense Exercise in Overweight Children and Adolescents: Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2007;55(3): 120–129.

12. Nemet D, Oh Y, Kim HS, Hill M, Cooper DM. Effect of Intense Exercise on Inflammatory Cytokines and Growth Mediators in Adolescent Boys. Pediatrics. 2002;110(4): 681–689.

13. Paltoglou G, Schoina M, Valsamakis G, Salakos N, Avloniti A, Chatzinikolaou A, et al. Interrelations among the adipocytokines leptin and adiponectin, oxidative stress and aseptic inflammation markers in pre- and early-pubertal normal-weight and obese boys. Endocrine. 2017;55(3): 925–933.

14. Nemet D, Rose-Gottron CM, Mills PJ, Cooper DM. Effect of Water Polo Practice on Cytokines, Growth Mediators, and Leukocytes in Girls: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2003;35(2): 356–363.

15. Dellal A, Hill-Haas S, Lago-Penas C, Chamari K. Small-Sided Games in Soccer: Amateur vs. Professional Players’ Physiological Responses, Physical, and Technical Activities. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25(9): 2371–2381.

16. Kelly DM, Drust B. The effect of pitch dimensions on heart rate responses and technical demands of small-sided soccer games in elite players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2009;12(4): 475–479.

17. Little T, Williams AG. Suıtabılıty of soccer traınıng drılls for endurance traınıng: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2006;20(2): 316–319.

18. Aroso J, Rebelo N, Gomes-Pereira J. Physiological impact of selected game-related exercises. J Sports Sci, 2004; 22: 522.

19. Köklü Y. A Comparison Of Physiological Responses To Various Intermittent And Continuous Small-Sided Games In Young Soccer Players. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2012;31(2012): 89–96.

20. Rampinini E, Impellizzeri FM, Castagna C, Abt G, Chamari K, Sassi A, et al. Factors influencing physiological responses to small-sided soccer games. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2007;25(6): 659–666.

21. Kennett DC, Kempton T, Coutts AJ. Factors Affecting Exercise Intensity in Rugby-Specific Small-Sided Games. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012;26(8): 2037–2042.

22. Fanchini M, Azzalin A, Castagna C, Schena F, Mccall A, Impellizzeri FM. Effect of Bout Duration on Exercise Intensity and Technical Performance of Small-Sided Games in Soccer. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25(2): 453–458.

23. Mavili S. Futbola Özgü Oyunlara Verilen Fizyolojik ve Kinematik Cevaplar [Physiological and Kinematic Responses to Football-Specific Games]. [PhD Thesis]. Ankara: Hacettepe University, Institute of Health Sciences; 2010. (In Turkish).

24. Dring KJ, Cooper SB, Morris JG, Sunderland C, Foulds GA, Pockley AG, et al. Cytokine, glycemic, and insulinemic responses to an acute bout of games-based activity in adolescents. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2019;29(4): 597–605.

25. Northoff H, Berg A. Immunologic Mediators as Parameters of the Reaction to Strenuous Exercise. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 1991;12(S 1): S9–S15.

26. Dello Iacono A, Eliakim A, Padulo J, Laver L, Ben-Zaken S, Meckel Y. Neuromuscular and inflammatory responses to handball small-sided games: the effects of physical contact. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2017;27(10): 1122–1129.

27. Steensberg A, Febbraio MA, Osada T, Schjerling P, Hall G, Saltin B, et al. Interleukin‐6 production in contracting human skeletal muscle is influenced by pre‐exercise muscle glycogen content. The Journal of Physiology. 2001;537(2): 633–639.




How to Cite

Böge V, Suleyman P, Bekir M. Cytokine responses to small sided games in young soccer players. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports. 2022;26(4):222-7.

Abstract views: 235 / PDF downloads: 165