Things to keep in mind when selecting physical assessments in youth soccer: Correlations between test performances, interlimb asymmetries, and effects of maturation

Boullosa, Daniel, Robles-Palazón, Francisco Javier, McMahon, John J, Ayala, Francisco ORCID: 0000-0003-2210-7389 and Comfort, Paul ORCID: 0000-0002-1131-8626 (2024) Things to keep in mind when selecting physical assessments in youth soccer: Correlations between test performances, interlimb asymmetries, and effects of maturation. PLOS ONE, 19 (6). e0305570. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0305570

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Abstract

A range of field-based tests have been proposed for inclusion in physical performance assessment batteries. However, there are obvious time and human resources constraints in applied settings. The knowledge of potential relationships between tests on performance, asymmetries, as well as maturation-induced changes, may help select the most informative and least time-consuming testing battery. The purposes of this study were: (1) to determine correlations in performance between different field-based tests, in interlimb asymmetry between those unilateral tests, and between asymmetry scores and test performances, and (2) to determine the influence of players’ maturity status on test performances and asymmetries. A total of 309 male youth soccer players completed a nine-test battery including y-balance test, drop vertical jump, countermovement jump, single leg countermovement jump, standing long jump, single leg hop for distance, Illinois agility test, 10 m sprint, and 20 m sprint. The results revealed moderate-to-very large relationships between jump, sprint, and agility performances (r = 0.43–0.94), but weak-to-moderate correlations between these tests and balance scores (r ≤ 0.38). No relevant relationship (r ≤ 0.32) for asymmetries detected through different unilateral tests was found, nor between asymmetries and performance scores (r < 0.29). While maturity status clearly influenced players’ performance, a limited impact on asymmetries was evident. Despite the mentioned relationships, the low shared variance between tests indicates that they should not be used interchangeably, and coaches should select those with the greatest specificity for the sport. Asymmetries do not influence performance, but their prevalence and unchanging nature with maturation can be seen as an opportunity for the identification of highly asymmetrical players and the application of interventions to improve the weaker limb, irrespective of the athlete’s stage of development. To this end, the single leg countermovement jump might be viewed as an appropriate test in male youth soccer.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports > GV861 Ball games: Baseball, football, golf, etc.
Q Science > QP Physiology > QP301.H75 Physiology. Sport
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Charlotte Crutchlow
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2024 09:37
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2024 11:20
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/14192

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