alent identification in sports is a heavily debated topic. Previous studies have separately explored either executive functions or gross motor skills to predict the success of top-level soccer players or, more generally, to characterize elite performance in soccer. However, at mid-childhood, the possibility to scope sport-specific requirements remains elusive. We aimed in this study to investigate a valid and simple method of testing for a unique combination of cognitive and speed abilities for identifying promising soccer players at mid-childhood. We measured cognitive functions by means of a Stroop smartphone application and agility with a T-Drill Ball-success test, in two groups of (a) elite- (n = 31) and (b) low-division (n = 37) Italian 7-year-old male soccer players. We administered the tests in a randomized order to both groups. We found better inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility and soccer-specific agility in high-division versus low-division players (p < .001). Inhibitory response and agility were positively associated with the augmented quality of the performance from low-division players to high-division players (r = .55; p = .0001). These results suggest that, even at an early age, cognitive control together with soccer-specific skills is associated with better performance.

Screening youth soccer players by means of cognitive function and agility testing / N. Lovecchio, G. Manes, L. Filipas, M. Giuriato, A. La Torre, F.M. Iaia, R. Codella. - In: PERCEPTUAL AND MOTOR SKILLS. - ISSN 0031-5125. - (2021 Aug 17). [Epub ahead of print] [10.1177/00315125211040283]

Screening youth soccer players by means of cognitive function and agility testing

L. Filipas;A. La Torre;F.M. Iaia;R. Codella
2021-08-17

Abstract

alent identification in sports is a heavily debated topic. Previous studies have separately explored either executive functions or gross motor skills to predict the success of top-level soccer players or, more generally, to characterize elite performance in soccer. However, at mid-childhood, the possibility to scope sport-specific requirements remains elusive. We aimed in this study to investigate a valid and simple method of testing for a unique combination of cognitive and speed abilities for identifying promising soccer players at mid-childhood. We measured cognitive functions by means of a Stroop smartphone application and agility with a T-Drill Ball-success test, in two groups of (a) elite- (n = 31) and (b) low-division (n = 37) Italian 7-year-old male soccer players. We administered the tests in a randomized order to both groups. We found better inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility and soccer-specific agility in high-division versus low-division players (p < .001). Inhibitory response and agility were positively associated with the augmented quality of the performance from low-division players to high-division players (r = .55; p = .0001). These results suggest that, even at an early age, cognitive control together with soccer-specific skills is associated with better performance.
screening athletes; gross-motor skills; inhibitory control in sports; elite youth sports; smartphone app
Settore M-EDF/02 - Metodi e Didattiche delle Attivita' Sportive
Settore MED/13 - Endocrinologia
17-ago-2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/862641
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