Figure 3. Mean sprint time across the seven trials. Legend: a→significantly different from S ; b→from S;
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The main purpose of this study was to compare sprint test performance between six different groups of football players. We reasoned that these data can be turned into very valuable information for talent detection, fitness evaluation and planning. Despite its utility for coaches, published research focused on sprint tests is limited to the study of Wragg et al. (2000). The sample studied (seven national level student players from the United Kingdom) averaged 7.66±0.29 s to complete a sprint, which is a result substantially different from those obtained in the senior groups of our study (G1, G2 and G3). These differenccs can be explained by a modification done by the authors in the original protocol that involved adding a random right or left turn (using two lightemitting diodes, LED) in order to improve game specificity and also to place a load upon both legs. Therefore, players were not aware if they had to make a right or left turn until the corresponding LED illuminates. This reaction might have slowed them down.