Objectives: The present study examined 2-year changes in anthropometric variables and motor abilities in elite male youth soccer players to identify potential talent identification indexes. Design: This was a cross-sequential study examining two different age groups at two time points. Methods: Height, weight, 40-m sprint speed, muscular power (5-step bounding), and change of direction (COD) ability (10 m × 5 COD) were measured in 12- and 14-year-old soccer players and repeated after 2 years (at 14 and 16 years of age). Correlations and changes in ranking between the two measurements were determined. Results: Both groups had small ranking changes in height (12-14-year-olds: r = 0.80, 14-16-year-olds: r = 0.89; p < 0.01), weight (r = 0.94, r = 0.80; p < 0.01), 40-m sprint speed (r = 0.81, r = 0.90; p < 0.01), and muscular power (r = 0.48, r = 0.64; p < 0.05), with a statistically significant correlation between the initial values and those obtained 2 years later. However, 10 m × 5 COD ability had a large ranking change, with no statistically significant correlation observed between the first- and second-year values. Conclusions: Because of the minimal ranking change in sprint speed in normal circumstances of soccer practice, linear sprint speed has the potential to be a useful talent identification index for youth soccer players. On the other hand, muscular power and COD ability is changeable during growth period suggests that these parameters is not useful for talent identification index.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation