Multivariate analyses of individual variation in soccer skill as a tool for talent identification and development: utilising evolutionary theory in sports science

Wilson, Robbie S., James, Rob S., David, Gwendolyn, Hermann, Ecki, Morgan, Oliver J., Niehaus, Amanda C., Hunter, Andrew, Thake, Doug and Smith, Michelle D. (2016) Multivariate analyses of individual variation in soccer skill as a tool for talent identification and development: utilising evolutionary theory in sports science. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34 21: 2074-2086. doi:10.1080/02640414.2016.1151544


Author Wilson, Robbie S.
James, Rob S.
David, Gwendolyn
Hermann, Ecki
Morgan, Oliver J.
Niehaus, Amanda C.
Hunter, Andrew
Thake, Doug
Smith, Michelle D.
Title Multivariate analyses of individual variation in soccer skill as a tool for talent identification and development: utilising evolutionary theory in sports science
Journal name Journal of Sports Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1466-447X
0264-0414
Publication date 2016-02-26
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/02640414.2016.1151544
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 34
Issue 21
Start page 2074
End page 2086
Total pages 13
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The development of a comprehensive protocol for quantifying soccer-specific skill could markedly improve both talent identification and development. Surprisingly, most protocols for talent identification in soccer still focus on the more generic athletic attributes of team sports, such as speed, strength, agility and endurance, rather than on a player’s technical skills. We used a multivariate methodology borrowed from evolutionary analyses of adaptation to develop our quantitative assessment of individual soccer-specific skill. We tested the performance of 40 individual academy-level players in eight different soccer-specific tasks across an age range of 13–18 years old. We first quantified the repeatability of each skill performance then explored the effects of age on soccer-specific skill, correlations between each of the pairs of skill tasks independent of age, and finally developed an individual metric of overall skill performance that could be easily used by coaches. All of our measured traits were highly repeatable when assessed over a short period and we found that an individual’s overall skill – as well as their performance in their best task – was strongly positively correlated with age. Most importantly, our study established a simple but comprehensive methodology for assessing skill performance in soccer players, thus allowing coaches to rapidly assess the relative abilities of their players, identify promising youths and work on eliminating skill deficits in players.
Keyword Evolutionary sports science
Performance
Soccer
Soccer skill
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
 
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