Professional football clubs place great emphasis on development of young players to attain first team squad membership, yet despite extensive research on senior teams there is limited knowledge the assessment of functional competence and the development of elite youth players (Brownlee, et al. 2015). This study aimed to assess normative values of functional competence, speed and lower body power for elite youth players at different stages of biological maturity as these factors have significant value in the planning and implementation of football specific training programmes (Lloyd, et al. 2014). One hundred and thirty male soccer players (n=130) from 7 different age groups within an Elite English Premier League Academy participated in the study. Participants were assessed using the countermovement jump test, 0 to 10 meter speed test and the FMS (Cook, et al. 2006). Percentage of adult height was attained using the Khamis-Roche method (Khamis & Roche, 1994). Subjects were classified as Pre pubertal growth spurt when assessed to be 89% or less of predicted adult height, during pubertal growth spurt when between 89% and 95% of predicted adult height and Post pubertal growth spurt when past 95% of adult height. The Pre pubertal growth spurt group had forty six subjects (n=46), the Pubertal Growth Spurt group had thirty six participants (n=36), and the Post Pubertal growth spurt group had forty eight subjects (n=48). Results indicated that during the Pre Pubertal Growth Spurt there is a correlation between speed and power (r = -.706) but not between speed and FMS (r = -.233) or between jump and FMS (r = .126) results. The Pubertal Growth Spurt group showed a correlation with speed and jump (p = -.587) and FMS and jump (r = .465) but found no correlation with speed and FMS (p = -.264). There were correlations with all three elements in the final post pubertal growth spurt stage. FMS and Jump (r = -.341), jump and speed (r = -.585) and FMS and speed (r = .521). The study concluded that functional competence and movement pattern ability follow different developmental patterns to speed and power and that the higher the FMS score the greater the chance of positive longitudinal performance change in areas such as speed and power. There are also implications for the planning and implementation of football specific, maturational appropriate, training programmes.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2016|
- Functional competence, youth development