Assessing the validity of a video-based decision-making assessment for talent identification in youth soccer

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2019, 22 (6), pp. 729 - 734
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Sports Medicine Australia Objectives: To investigate the construct and discriminant validity of a video-based decision-making assessment for talent identification in youth soccer. Design: Observational study. Method: A total of 328 academy youth soccer players (tier one, tier two, and tier three)from three developmental stages (late childhood, early adolescence, and mid-adolescence)participated in this study. The control group consisted of 59 youth athletes with no soccer experience in the last five years. Players completed a video-based decision-making assessment on an iPad, with response accuracy and response time recorded for various attacking situations (2 vs. 1, 3 vs. 1, 3 vs. 2, 4 vs. 3, and 5 vs. 3). Results: The video-based decision-making assessment showed some construct validity. Response times were significantly faster in early and mid-adolescent players when compared to those in the late childhood group. Furthermore, an overall decline in decision-making performance (i.e. decrease in response accuracy and increase in response time)was observed from the 2 vs. 1 to the 4 vs. 3 situations. The video-based decision-making assessment lacked discriminant validity as minimal differences between academies were evident for response accuracy and response time. Only response accuracy was able to discriminate youth academy soccer players from the control group to some extent. Conclusions: Coaches and sporting professionals should apply caution when interpreting data from practical, video-based decision-making assessments. There is currently limited conclusive evidence supporting the effectiveness of these assessments for talent identification.
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