The effects of man-marking on work intensity in small-sided soccer games

Jake K NGO, Man Chung TSUI, Andrew Ward SMITH, Christopher CARLING, Gar Sun CHAN, Pui Lam WONG

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47 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of manipulating defensive rules: with and without man-marking (MM and NMM) on exercise intensity in 3 vs. 3 small-sided games (SSGs). Twelve adolescent soccer players (age: 16.2 ± 0.7 years; body mass: 55.7 ± 6.4 kg; body height: 1.70 ± 0.07 m) participated in this repeated measures study. Each participant performed in four different SSGs formats: 3 vs. 3 MM with and without goals and 3 vs. 3 NMM with and without goals. Each SSG lasted 3 × 4 minutes interspersed with 4 minutes passive recovery. The percentage heart rate reserve (%HR reserve) was recorded continuously during SSG and session-rating of perceived exertion (session-RPE) after the SSG. MANOVA showed that defensive rule had significant effects on intensity (F = 5.37, p < 0.01). Specifically, MM during SSG induced significantly higher %HR reserve compared to NMM (Goal: 80.5 vs. 75.7%; No goal: 80.5 vs. 76.1%; p < 0.05, effect size = 0.91-1.06), irrespective of the presence or absence of goals. However, only MM with the presence of goals induced significant higher session-RPE compared to NMM (7.1 vs. 6.0; p < 0.05, effect size = 1.36), whereas no difference in session-RPE was observed between MM and NMM (7.4 vs. 6.9; p > 0.05, effect size = 0.63) when no goals were used. Higher intra-class reliability and lower coefficient of variation values were also reported in MM as compared to NMM. This study in youth soccer players shows there is ~4.5% increase in heart rate response by using the man-marking in 3 vs. 3 SSG thus the intensity of SSG can be significantly increased when using man-marking tactics. Copyright © 2012 Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


Ngo, J. K., Tsui, M.-C., Smith, A. W., Carling, C., Chan, G.-S., & Wong, D. P. (2012). The effects of man-marking on work intensity in small-sided soccer games. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 11(1), 109-114.


  • Training
  • Football
  • Goal
  • Fitness
  • Aerobic


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