Factors affecting physical match activity and skill involvement in youth soccer
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Science and Medicine in Football, 2018, 2 (1), pp. 58 - 65
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© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Objectives: To examine the factors affecting both physical and technical match activity in youth soccer. Methods: Activity profiles (physical) and skill involvements (technical) were collected from 160 players (aged 11–17 years) across one season in a recreational, school-based soccer program. Team coaches selected players into playing levels and playing positions, and individual fitness characteristics were obtained. Three linear mixed models examined the influence of playing level, playing position and individual fitness characteristics on both physical (relative total distance; TD; m·min–1, relative high-speed running distance; HSR; m·min–1) and technical match activity (relative skill involvements; involvements·min–1). Results: Midfielders performed higher TD (attackers: –5.6%, fullbacks: –7.6%, central defenders: –13.6%) and skill involvements (attackers: –25.4%, fullbacks: –21.8%, central defenders: –27.3%) compared to all other positions. Attackers performed the most (11.3%), and central defenders the least HSR distance (–22.2%). Individual fitness characteristics were positively associated with both TD and HSR. Skill involvement was also increased by TD. Conclusions: These findings highlight the complex interaction of factors influencing developmental opportunities during soccer match play. As playing position was shown to influence match activity in the present cohort, varying positions is important to maximise skill and physical development opportunities in young soccer players.
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