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Rodrigo Aquino, Enrico F. Puggina, Isabella S. Alves and Júlio Garganta

Abstract

The aim of the study was to evaluate and organize systematically the available literature on skill-related performance in young and adult male soccer players in an attempt to identify the most common topics, ascertain the weaknesses, and elucidate the main contributions of the scientific papers on this issue. A systematic review of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Web of Knowledge database was performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The keywords ‘football’ and ‘soccer’ were used, each associated with the following terms: ‘technical analysis,’ ‘technical performance,’ ‘technical activity,’ ‘technical skill,’ ‘technical demands,’ ‘technical profiles,’ ‘technical characteristics,’ ‘technical actions,’ ‘technical scores,’ ‘technical ability,’ ‘motor skills,’ and ‘skill acquisition’. From the 2830 papers, only 60 were reviewed, of which 75% had been published in years 2011-2015 and 53.3% concerned professional or seniors players (above the U-20 category). Out of the 41 papers that analysed the skill-related performance in the match, 48.8% evaluated the performance in small-sided and conditioned games. Among the 27 papers that used validated instruments, 88.9% assessed technical actions outside the match context (e.g. dribbling, shooting tests). Future research should pay attention to the definition and classification of the skill-related variables under investigation in match context and propose tests for measured skill-related performance in soccer, considering that the representativeness task design allies the players’ possibilities of action to the situation of the match.

Open access

Rodrigo Aquino, Isabella S. Alves, Maickel B. Padilha, Filipe Casanova, Enrico F. Puggina and José Maia

Abstract

This study determined whether a multivariate profile more effectively discriminated selected than non-selected elite youth Brazilian soccer players. This examination was carried out on 66 youth soccer players (selected, n = 28, mean age 16.3 ± 0.1; non-selected, n = 38, mean age 16.7 ± 0.4) using objective instruments. Multivariate profiles were assessed through anthropometric characteristics, biological maturation, tactical-technical skills, and motor performance. The Student’s t-test identified that selected players exhibited significantly higher values for height (t = 2.331, p = 0.02), lean body mass (t = 2.441, p = 0.01), and maturity offset (t = 4.559, p < 0.001), as well as performed better in declarative tactical knowledge (t = 10.484, p < 0.001), shooting (t = 2.188, p = 0.03), dribbling (t = 5.914, p < 0.001), speed – 30 m (t = 8.304, p < 0.001), countermovement jump (t = 2.718, p = 0.008), and peak power tests (t = 2.454, p = 0.01). Forward stepwise discriminant function analysis showed that declarative tactical knowledge, running speed –30 m, maturity offset, dribbling, height, and peak power correctly classified 97% of the selected players. These findings may have implications for a highly efficient selection process with objective measures of youth players in soccer clubs.