Small-side games and size pitch in elite female soccer players: A short narrative review


  • Italo Sannicandro University of Foggia, Italy


Small-sided games, Female soccer players, Pitch size


Introduction: In recent years, in the soccer training have found widespread diffusion the games modified by rules, use of wildcard players, configuration field, players’ number, size of the playing area, defined as small-sided games or SSG. Methodology: For the bibliographic search PubMed and Sport Discuss databases were used selecting articles published between 01/01/2016 and 01/12/2020. Two keyword groups were identified, using synonyms and similar terms, using the operator “OR”:1) “small-sided games” OR “elite female soccer players” OR “field size” 2) “small-sided games” OR “elite female football players” OR “field size”. Subsequently, all the categories were combined together using the “AND” operator. Results: The initial database search produced 77 results. After removing the duplicates (3), study on injury incidence (21), amateur soccer players (3), endocrine and biomechanical aspects (20), assessment preventive issue (12) and other aspects not related to performances (15), three studies were selected, analysed, and included in the narrative review. Discussion and conclusions: The physiological responses of female soccer players during SSGs have only been investigated relative to the players’ number. The field size is considered a key factor in soccer training because the players’ density conditions internal and external load. The studies analysed suggest that the most suitable format for achieving a high intensity of exercise with female soccer players, is precisely the medium filed size, that is, in the case observed for 4vs4, a size equal to 24.5m x 24.5m. The load control of specific sport exercises is useful for the injury’s prevention and for relevant training organization to respond to the competitions’ demands.


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How to Cite

Sannicandro, I. (2021). Small-side games and size pitch in elite female soccer players: A short narrative review. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 16(2proc), S361-S369. Retrieved from

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