Identifying talented young soccer players: conditional, anthropometrical and physiological characteristics as predictors of performance. [Identificación de jóvenes talentos en fútbol: características condicionales, antropométricas y fisiológicas como predictores del rendimiento].

Iraia Bidaurrazaga-Letona, José Antonio Lekue, Markos Amado, Jordan Santos-Concejero, Susana Maria Gil


The aim of this study was to provide a complete profile of elite young soccer players. Fifty-five players of the Under-14 category of Athletic Club Bilbao participated in this study. Players were classified into 4 playing positions: forwards (n=30), midfielders (n=15), defenders (n=37) and goalkeepers (n=15). Complete anthropometry, chronological age (CA), age at peak height velocity, 15-m sprint test, agility test, Yo-Yo IT level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1), counter-movement jump and hand dynamometry were measured. Results were transformed into z-scores and summed up to make two performance composites (SCORE and SCOREHG). One-way analysis of variance and a Bonferroni post-hoc test were used to examine the differences between playing positions. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to estimate the contribution of independent variables to performance indicators. The level of significance was set at P<0.05. Significant differences were observed between playing positions in body mass and height (P<0.05); CA, maturity offset and muscle % (P<0.01); sum of skinfolds, fat %, endomorphy, sprint and agility tests (P<0.001). Stepwise regression analysis revealed that CA and sum of skinfolds were the most important predictors of performance. Collectively, playing positions were characterised by specific anthropometrical characteristics whereas no significant positional differences were observed in performance. This study provides further insight concerning coaches’ practice of selecting young soccer players because of anthropometrical characteristics rather than for performance advantages.


El objetivo de este estudio fue analizar el perfil antropométrico y fisiológico de los futbolistas jóvenes del Athletic Club Bilbao. Cincuenta y cinco jugadores de la categoría Sub-14 participaron en el estudio. Los jugadores se clasificaron en 4 posiciones de juego: delanteros (n=30), centrocampistas (n=15), defensas (n=37) y porteros (n=15). Se realizaron las siguientes mediciones: antropometría completa, edad cronológica (EC), pico de velocidad de crecimiento, sprint de 15-m, agilidad, Yo-Yo IT nivel 1 (Yo-Yo IR1), salto y dinamometría manual. Los resultados se transformaron en puntuaciones z y se sumaron para hacer dos compuestos de desempeño (SCORE y SCOREHG). Se realizaron un análisis de varianza y una prueba post-hoc de Bonferroni para examinar las diferencias entre posiciones. Se realizó un análisis de regresión lineal múltiple para estimar la contribución de las variables independientes a los indicadores de rendimiento. El nivel de significación se fijó en P<0.05. Se observaron diferencias significativas entre las posiciones de juego en la masa corporal y la altura (P<0.05); EC, maduración y % muscular (P<0.01); suma de pliegues cutáneos, % de grasa, endomorfismo, sprint y agilidad (P<0.001). El análisis de regresión reveló que la EC y la suma de pliegues cutáneos fueron los predictores más importantes. Se observaron características antropométricas específicas para cada posición pero no se observaron diferencias de rendimiento significativas. Los resultados encontrados respaldan la hipótesis de que los entrenadores seleccionan a los jugadores jóvenes por sus características antropométricas antes que por las de rendimiento.



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Palabras clave/key words

fútbol juvenil; maduración; identificación de talentos; posición.

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RICYDE. Revista Internacional de Ciencias del Deporte

Publisher: Ramón Cantó Alcaraz
ISSN:1885-3137 - Periodicidad Trimestral / Quarterly
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