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DEVELOPMENTAL, PRACTICE, AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES OF ELITE YOUTH SOCCER PLAYERS

Cobb, Nathan (2018) DEVELOPMENTAL, PRACTICE, AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES OF ELITE YOUTH SOCCER PLAYERS. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

This thesis investigated the developmental activities of elite youth soccer players from a Category One Elite Player Performance Plan academy in relation to their systematic soccer coaching, and the volume of additional physical activity engaged in outside of their formal soccer academy environment. Methodological rigour was ensured through determining the validity, objectivity and reliability of a tool for assessing technical soccer skills. The study demonstrated appropriate levels of objectivity and reliability for technical soccer behaviours specific to the playing philosophy of the academy, and highlighted the importance of following this process to ensure quality data collection. The coaching efficacy of the academy in developing technical soccer skill in under-9 (U9) and under-12 (U12) age cohorts was investigated over a 12-month period. Results suggested that technical skill improvement was negligible over this time period, with the exception of passing frequency and efficiency within the U12 cohort. The final phase of the thesis investigated the habitual physical activity levels of the same cohorts on training- and non-training days to determine whether there is a relationship between physical activity and technical skill development. Results suggested that there is no relationship between the volume of habitual physical activity and the development of technical soccer skills. Additionally, both the U9 and U12 cohorts appeared to follow the early specialisation pathway in soccer. All studies within the thesis focused upon an elite population, and insight into their training activity and skill development is valuable. The thesis has contributed a robust methodological procedure for creating new observational analysis tools when assessing soccer philosophy-specific behaviours. Additionally, a valuable insight into the efficacy of elite soccer coaching and the habitual physical activity patterns of U9 and U12 players has been presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: PhD
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2019 11:39
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2019 11:39
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5826

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