Assessing fitness levels of Uganda Premier League soccer players using the Sparq test protocol
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ABSTRACT Soccer the world's most popular sport is a physical activity that requires a high level of conditioning in addition to proficient technical and tactical skills. The game is intermittent in nature involving multiple motor skills with game characteristics imposing physical performance of soccer players be based on a combination of endurance, speed, agility and strength bounding them to have both a high power and capacity of the aerobic and anaerobic metabolism for highest performance level ability. The aim of the study was to assess fitness levels of Uganda Premier League soccer players using the SPARQ test protocol. The study used six UPL soccer team which included; URA FC, Express FC, Vipers SC, KCCA FC, Police FC and Ndejje University FC. The study used those team’s soccer players in the testing from the different playing positions of goalkeeping, defending, midfielders and forwards. Data collection tools were used in recording information obtained from participants after completion of required tests including the standing vertical jump height, 20m sprint, Arrowhead agility test and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 test. The study used 41 UPL soccer players of which 6 were goalkeepers, 11 were defenders, 14 were midfielders and 10 were forwards. The study found out the following means±s.d; age 22.76±2.63years, weight 73.947±6.641 kg, height 1.777±060m, BMI 23.40±1.80kgm-2, standing vertical jump height 53.921 ±7.1 02cm, 20m sprint 3.599±0.220s, Arrowhead agility right 8.820±0.492s - left 8.91 1 ±0.423s, Yo-Yo IR2 10.329±4.135 level. No statistical significant difference was found among different playing position in all fitness components (p>0.05) at 5% level of confidence. Positional specific difference existed among all aspects of fitness; defenders, midfielders and forwards showed almost similar lower BMI to that of the goalkeepers; goalkeepers and defenders showed almost similar higher jumping heights to those of the almost similar least jump heights of forwards and midfielders; all player positions showed almost similar 20m sprint time but with forwards being fastest and goalkeepers slowest; forwards showed higher agility levels followed by midfielders and defenders with almost similar agility levels and then the goalkeepers with the least; forwards, midfielders and defenders showed almost similar higher anaerobic endurance capacity to those of the lower goalkeepers' capacity.