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
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2017) 16, 247 - 253

Research article
Are Change of Direction Speed and Reactive Agility Useful for Determining the Optimal Field Position for Young Soccer Players?
Giovanni Fiorilli1, , Enzo Iuliano1, Michalis Mitrotasios3, Eugenio M. Pistone2, Giovanna Aquino1, Giuseppe Calcagno1, Alessandra di Cagno2
Author Information
1 Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy
2 Department of Motor, Human and Health Sciences, Italian University of Rome “Foro Italico”, Rome, Italy
3 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Giovanni Fiorilli
✉ Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Via F. De Sanctis 1, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Email: fiorilli@unimol.it
Publish Date
Received: 06-09-2016
Accepted: 23-03-2017
Published (online): 01-06-2017
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ABSTRACT

Change Of Direction Speed (CODS) and Reactive Agility (RA) are two determining factors in the ability of young soccer players. We aimed to verify if CODS and RA could be useful in order to establish the best young soccer player field position. Ninety-two elite soccer players (15.18 ± 1.21 years, weight 59.18 ± 9.93, height 1.72 ± 0.08, BMI 19.76 ± 2.22), belonging to two youth categories from the Italian First and Second Divisions, volunteered in this study. The participants included 32 defenders (15.06 ± 0.80 years), 37 midfielders (15.11 ± 0.84 years) and 23 forwards (15.48 ± 1.16 years), and they underwent two tests, each one performed in two different ways: the Y-Agility Test, carried out in a planned and reactive mode (Y-PLAN and Y-REAC), and the Illinois for Change of Direction Test (ICODT) performed with and without the ball. REAC-INDEX, which represents the index of reactivity, was calculated as Y-REAC minus Y-PLAN. The difference between the two scores of ICODT (ICODT with the ball minus ICODT without the ball) represents the TECHN-INDEX. Multivariate Analysis of Variances (MANOVA) was used to evaluate significant differences among all position groups, for all the test scores. MANOVA showed no significant differences in test scores or in TECHN-INDEX among the groups, except for the forwards, who were significantly more reactive than the defenders (p < 0.05). The strong and significant Pearson’s Correlation between ICODT with and without the ball (p < 0.01) demonstrated that physical and technical preparations have the same relevance in all positions. No significant differences were found among players in different field positions for CODS and RA performances, both with and without the ball. This study does not recommend to use RA and CODS as indicators to assign the players roles in youth soccer.

Key words: Game roles, training, open skills, reactivity


           Key Points
  • Agility is a key skill required for soccer success, and it is based on greater levels of motor control, when compared to pre-planned CODS.
  • No significant differences amongst players in different field positions for CODS and Agility performances were found.
  • This study does not recommend to use Agility and CODS as indicators to assign the players roles in youth soccer.
 
 
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