Soccer Physiology

Physiology is the study of the function of the human body. It involves the workings of all of the systems of the body and how they act together. These systems are all directly impacting to the functioning of the body during the game or training.
But to make us move, our muscles have to shorten and pull the bones they attach to into different positions. Each muscle is made of thousands of long fibers or cells which shorten when they have enough energy for a contraction. If enough fibers shorten at the same time, the whole muscle will shorten and you will move. The energy for a contraction is released for use by the fibers is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the biological chemical source necessary for muscle contraction. Very little ATP is stored in muscle cells, in fact there is not even enough stored to provide all the energy of a two-second sprint. This way no energy is wasted, but it means we have to produce energy quickly and constantly to meet the demand of the game. All foods are broken down by anaerobic or aerobic processes to produce ATP. The process by which ATP is generated depends upon the intensity and duration of the activity performed, once again specific to the demands of the game or exercice.

Respiratory System

Respiratory system is the system that controls our breathing. Under the influence of exercise and constant training we see that the body can increase its capacity to take in oxygen. It also has the ability to utilize a greater percentage, of that which is taken in, to send to the appropriate organs for energy production. The maximum volume of air that our lungs exchange in one breath increases. For the untrained athlete the above has to be compensated for by increasing their rate of respiration, or fall into oxygen debt due to lack of oxygen for the amount of exercise being attempted. The trained athlete is able to establish a steady state of oxygen consumption at higher work rates due to their greater efficiency in performing a task, working with a lower expenditure of energy, enabling exercise to continue for longer periods of time.

Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular system combines the heart and the circulatory systems. As an athlete trains, the heart muscle will increase in size, strength, and efficiency. Results will be a more powerful contraction and accordingly, a greater volume of blood out put per stroke. This allows more blood to be circulated with fewer contractions. The training effect is also seen in the resting state of the athlete as now their pulse rate and resting heart rate decreases, due to greater efficiency. The trained athlete also has the ability to recover more quickly.

Musculo-skeletal System

Musculo-skeletal system involves both the muscles and skeletal systems of the body. As the athlete trains, their muscles develop and adapt to the stress of exercise by being able to become more effective as an energy provider. Training increases the number of capillaries surrounding each muscle fiber, allowing for a greater exchange of heat and fuel between blood and the working muscle fibers. This increased exchange maintains an environment conducive to energy production and repeated muscle contractions. Specific training, intensity and duration of the exercise sessions are important in the increase of the ability of the muscle to store fuel and to utilize both oxygen and these stored reserves for energy production. Inactivity will cause a loss in the functioning of the muscles, the extent and time of this regression are not known as many variables are taken into con- sideration. Returning to training will again recover the muscle’s adaptions. However, this time period may be longer than the detraining period. As one exercises, bone strength (density), cartilage, and tendons also increase in strength.

Central nervous system

Central nervous system is at the stem of all movement patterns. Its efficiency to initiate and carry out complex movement patterns within the game like all other systems needs training. This is the most complex of all of the body’s systems and is related to all other systems and their functioning during exercise.

Processes by which ATP is generated:

• Anaerobically ATP and PC (phosphocreatine)
• Both are stored in the muscle
• PC can manufacture ATP
• Short activities preformed at maximum effort derive ATP through this source
• Muscle tissue cannot store large amounts of ATP-PC
• Training can increase the amount stored in muscle tissue
• Anaerobic breakdown of Glycogen after ATP-PC is depleted from the muscle
• ATP is now produced through the breakdown of glucose
• High intensity activities lasting 1-3 minutes
• Glucose is stored in muscle tissue
• Training can increase the amount of glucose being stored in muscle tissue

• Carbohydrates and fats provide constant production of ATP for use
• Most efficient and abundant method to produce ATP
• This method provides energy for endurance events
• Training will enhance the ability of muscle cells to consume oxygen to manufacture

Recovery of ATP
ATP stores are replenished within 10 minutes after exercise. The aerobic system and process provide most of the ATP energy for recovery. Glucose (Glycogen) stores need several days for complete replenishment. The recovery rate depends upon the diet and type of exercises performed during this recovery period. Lactic acid is one of the end products formed during high intensity exercising. It can be stored in the muscle and if not removed, through either use as a source of energy (aerobic) or from the blood transport system, can limit physical activity.

The effects on performance due to overtraining are well documented. The signs and symptoms of aerobic overtraining are identifiable and can include physiolog- ical, psychological and biomechanical characteristics. If an athlete or coach does not recognize the symptoms of overtraining, the danger lies in mistakenly thinking that the athlete is not training hard enough. Often times, these athletes and coaches increase the training load in an attempt to improve performance, when in fact it should be reduced to let the body recover (See Overload/supercompensation illus- tration). Because many off-field factors (sleep, nutrition, relationships, school, work, etc.) can affect training, communication between the coach and athlete is critical to make a proper diagnosis of overtraining.
It also appears that combined psychological and physiological changes during high-intensity training are primarily of interest when monitoring training stress in relation to performance.
Coaches should carefully consider all aspects when determining the factors that may be contributing to overtraining. Below are just some of the symptoms of overtraining:
Lack of Motivation
Lack of Self Confidence
Inability to Concentrate
Decrease in Total Body & Lean body Mass
Decreases in limp Circumferences
Certain Hormonal Changes
Decrease in Peak Qxygen Consumption
Increase Resting Heart Rate During Work & Recovery
Deterioration of Technique