Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2016) 15, 548 - 553

Research article
Discriminating Talent Identified Junior Australian Footballers Using a Fundamental Gross Athletic Movement Assessment
Carl T. Woods1, , Harry G. Banyard2,3, Ian McKeown4, Job Fransen5, Sam Robertson6
Author Information
1 Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia
2 Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research (CESSR), School of Medical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
3 West Australian Football Commission, Perth, Australia
4 Port Adelaide Football Club, Adelaide, South Australia
5 Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
6 Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living (ISEAL), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Carl T. Woods
✉ Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Publish Date
Received: 11-07-2016
Accepted: 01-08-2016
Published (online): 05-08-2016

Talent identification (TID) is a pertinent component of the sports sciences, affording practitioners the opportunity to target developmental interventions to a select few; optimising financial investments. However, TID is multi-componential, requiring the recognition of immediate and prospective performance. The measurement of athletic movement skill may afford practitioners insight into the latter component given its augmented relationship with functional sport specific qualities. It is currently unknown whether athletic movement skill is a discriminant quality in junior Australian football (AF). This study aimed to discriminate talent identified junior AF players from their non-talent identified counterparts using a fundamental gross athletic movement assessment. From a total of 50 under 18 (U18) AF players; two groups were classified a priori based on selection level; talent identified (n = 25; state academy representatives) and non-talent identified (n = 25; state-based competition representatives). Players performed a fundamental gross athletic movement assessment based on the Athletic Ability Assessment (AAA), consisting of an overhead squat, double lunge (left and right legs), single leg Romanian deadlift (left and right legs), and a push up (six movement criterions). Movements were scored across three assessment points using a three-point scale (resulting in a possible score of nine for each movement). A multivariate analysis of variance revealed significant between group effects on four of the six movement criterions (d = 0.56 – 0.87; p = 0.01 – 0.02). Binary logistic regression models and a receiver operating characteristic curve inspection revealed that the overhead squat score provided the greatest group discrimination (β(SE) = -0.89(0.44); p < 0.05), with a score of 4.5 classifying 64% and 88% of the talent identified and non-talent identified groups, respectively. Results support the integration of this assessment into contemporary talent identification approaches in junior AF, as it may provide coaches with insight into a juniors developmental potential.

Key words: Talent development, motor skill, motor competency

           Key Points
  • On average, talent identified junior AF players possess superior athletic movement qualities relative to their non-talent identified counterparts.
  • The integration of this gross athletic movement assessment into contemporary multidimensional approaches to talent identification may enable insight into a juniors developmental potential.
  • The athletic qualities underpinning the production of the overhead squat movement could augment functional physical qualities in junior Australian footballers.
  • Assessing movement competency in junior contexts may afford practitioners with the opportunity to rectify inefficient fundamental movement patterns prior to entrance into elite senior ranks.
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