Fundamental movement skills and physical fitness are key correlates of tactical soccer skill in grassroots soccer players aged 8-14 years of age

Michael Duncan, Neil Clarke, Lee Bolt, Emma Eyre, Clare M P Roscoe

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One hundred and twenty-one children (58 boys, 63 girls) aged 8-14 years of age (Mean ± SD = 12 ± 1 years) who were regularly engaged in grassroots soccer participated in this study. Participants undertook assessments of FMS using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3, perceived ability using the Perceived Physical Ability Scale for Children, physical fitness via 15m sprint time and standing long jump distance and technical skill using the university of Ghent dribbling test. The Procedural Tactical Knowledge Test (KORA) was employed as a measure of tactical skill from which metrics for positioning and movement and recognising spaces were derived. Maturation was determined from anthropometric measures. Analysis of covariance examined gender differences in tactical skills accounting for FMS, fitness, perceived ability, technical skill, maturation and age. Results indicated no significant differences in tactical skills between boys and girls (p>.05). For recognising spaces 56% of the variance was explained with FMS (p =.001), physical fitness (p =.02) and technical skill (p =.02) contributing to the model. For positioning and movement, a significant model explained 55% of the variance in this element of tactical behaviour with FMS (p =.002) and technical skill (p =.02) significantly contributing to the model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Motor Learning and Development
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 May 2022

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  • motor competence
  • motor skill
  • youth
  • children
  • talent development
  • tactics


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