Examining the skill involvements of under-16 rugby league players during a small-sided game and match-play

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 2016, 11 (4), pp. 532 - 537
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© The Author(s) 2016. This study investigated the correlations between the skill demands of an 'on-side' small-sided game (SSG) and match-play in under-16 junior rugby league players. Fifteen Harold Matthews players undertook a SSG (10 vs. 10 on a 68 m by 40 m playing surface for 3 min) in the week leading up to round 6 of their competitive season. The frequency of skill involvements (i.e. offensive, defensive and total) was manually coded using a specific criterion. The defensive and total skill involvements were significantly higher per minute of play in the SSG when compared to match-play. A significant, very large, positive correlation was observed between offensive and total skill involvements during a SSG and offensive skill involvements during a match (r(s) = 0.80, p < 0.01; r(s) = 0.71, p < 0.01, respectively). No significant correlations were evident for defensive skill involvements during SSG and match-play. Overall, it appears that the selected SSG provided players with ample opportunity to practice match-specific skills. In addition, the transfer of these opportunities seems confined to offensive rather then defensive skills.
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