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      The evaluation of small-sided games as a talent identification tool in highly trained prepubertal soccer players.

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          Abstract

          The aim of this study was to evaluate physiological and technical attributes of prepubertal soccer players during multiple small-sided games (SSGs), and determine if SSGs can act as a talent identification tool. Sixteen highly trained U10 soccer players participated and separated into two groups of eight. Each group played six small-sided (4 vs. 4) matches of 5-min duration. Each player was awarded total points for the match result and goals scored. A game technical scoring chart was used to rate each player's performance during each game. Time-motion characteristics were measured using micromechanical devices. Total points had a very large significant relationship with game technical scoring chart (r = 0.758, P < 0.001). High-speed running distance had a significantly large correlation with game technical scoring chart (r = 0.547, P < 0.05). Total distance covered had a significant and moderate correlation with game technical scoring chart (r = 0.545, P < 0.05) and total points (r = 0.438, P < 0.05). The results demonstrated a large agreement between the highest-rated players and success in multiple SSGs, possibly due to higher-rated players covering larger distances in total and at high speed. Consequently, multiple SSG could be used to identify the more talented prepubertal soccer players.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Sports Sci
          Journal of sports sciences
          Informa UK Limited
          1466-447X
          0264-0414
          Oct 2016
          : 34
          : 20
          Affiliations
          [1 ] a Medical and Exercise Science Department ; Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club , Wolverhampton , UK.
          [2 ] b Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research , Staffordshire University , Stoke-on-Trent , UK.
          [3 ] c Football Development , The Football Association , London , UK.
          [4 ] d Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science , Liverpool John Moores University , Liverpool , UK.
          Article
          10.1080/02640414.2016.1149602
          26939880

          identifying talent, youth soccer, Small-sided games

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