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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 April;57(4):369-79

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06093-X

Copyright © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Technical and physical determinants of soccer match-play performance in elite youth soccer players

Owain ROWAT 1, Jonathan FENNER 2, Viswanath UNNITHAN 1

1 Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK; 2 Sports Science Department, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, UK


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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether physical performance characteristics could be a better predictor than technical skills in determining the technical level of county soccer players in a match situation.
METHODS: With institutional ethics approval, 25 male youth soccer players aged 16-18.5 years from a professional soccer academy in South East Asia were selected and height and body mass were recorded. Players were tested for sexual maturity (pubertal development scale [PDS] self-assessment), aerobic capacity (yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 1 [YYIR1]), repeated sprint ability (7 x 35 m sprints) acceleration (15 m sprint) and four soccer skills tests (dribble with pass, dribbling speed, passing and shooting accuracy). Players’ technical ability during match play was assessed in small-sided games of soccer (5 v 5) using a novel game technical scoring chart (scoring chart completed by coaches to assess technical performance in a match situation) developed from criteria (e.g., first touch, dribbling and two footedness) used by youth soccer coaches for talent identification.
RESULTS: A Spearman’s rank correlation showed the YYIR1 test and 15 m sprint test were limited in predicting technical match performance (r=0.03, P=0.88, r=-0.23, P=0.32 respectively). A Pearson product moment correlation showed that the repeated sprint test was also limited in predicting technical match performance (r=-0.34, P=0.14). A dribbling skill with a pass was found to be the best determinant of a player’s technical ability in a match (r=-0.57, P=0.00).
CONCLUSIONS: Talent identification and selection programs in Asian youth soccer should include a dribbling skill performed with a pass.


KEY WORDS: Athletes - Exercise tests - Soccer

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