A preliminary investigation into the evaluation of possession-based small-sided games and the influence of decision-making ability in identifying talented pre-pubertal soccer players

Jonathan Fenner, Greg Doncaster*, Alistair McRobert, Paul Ford, John Iga, Viswanath Unnithan

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Introduction The aims of this study were 1) to assess if talented players can be identified within possession-based small-sided games (SSG), and 2) to determine if, decision making, physical, and time-motion characteristics correlated to success in a possession-based SSG.
Methods Eight, highly-trained U10 soccer players (Mean ± SD; age: 10.3 ± 0.2 years; stature: 1.41 ± 0.04 m; body mass: 35.2 ± 3.3 kg) participated in this study. Six 4 vs 4 possession based SSG's were played. Time-motion characteristics were measured using micromechanical devices (MEMS). Countermovement jump, 10m and 30m speed tests were conducted. Participants were presented with 28 video clips of 5 versus 5 match-play sequences to assess decision-making ability.
Results The main finding of this study was a large significant relationship between Game Technical Scoring Chart (GTSC) and Total Points (TP) (r = 0.784, P <0.05). There were no significant correlations between the decision-making test and GTSC and TP. A significant and largely inverse correlation between decision-making and countermovement jump (r = -0.737, P <0.05) was observed.
Conclusions Our results demonstrate that the more talented players were also the most successful players in the possession based SSG. The players’ decision-making ability, however, did not influence their success in the SSG
Original languageEnglish
Article number100378
Number of pages10
JournalApunts Sports Medicine
Volume57
Issue number214
Early online date22 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • training
  • development
  • possession
  • talent identification
  • youth sport

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