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Open AccessArticle

Agility Testing in Youth Football (Soccer)Players; Evaluating Reliability, Validity, and Correlates of Newly Developed Testing Protocols

Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Department of Sports Science, Linnaeus University, 39182 Kalmar, Sweden
Research Unit, Education, Motricity, Sport and Health, UR15JS01, High Institute of Sport and PhysicalEducation of Sfax, University of Sfax, Sfax 3000, Tunisia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 294;
Received: 21 November 2019 / Revised: 16 December 2019 / Accepted: 29 December 2019 / Published: 1 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise Testing: The Past, Present and Future)
Reactive agility (RAG) and change of direction speed (CODS) are important determinants of success in football (soccer), but there is an evident lack of information on reliable and valid football-specific testing procedures which will be applicable in defining sport-specific RAG and CODS in youth players. This study evaluated reliability and construct validity of newly developed tests of football-specific RAG (FS_RAG) and CODS (FS_CODS), which involved the ball kicking football technique. Additionally, factors associated with FS_RAG and FS_CODS were evaluated. The participants were youth football players (n = 59; age: 13.40 ± 1.25 years) divided according to their age into U13 (11–12 years of age; n = 29), and U15 (13–14 years of age; n = 30) categories. Additionally, performance levels (starters [first-team] vs. non-starters [substitutes]) were observed in each age category. The dependent variables were newly developed FS_RAG and FS_CODS tests. The independent variables were sprinting capacities over 10 and 20 meters (S10M, S20M), countermovement jump (CMJ), the reactive strength index (RSI), and a generic CODS test of 20 yards (20Y). The newly developed FS_CODS and FS_RAG were observed as dependent variables. Results showed appropriate intra-testing and inter-testing reliability of the FS_RAG and FS_CODS, with somewhat better reliability of the FS_CODS (ICC=0.82 and 0.79, respectively). Additionally, better reliability was evidenced in U15 than in U13 (ICC: 0.82–0.85, and 0.78-0.80 for U15 and U13, respectively). Independent samples t-test indicated significant differences between U13 and U15 in S10 (t-test: 3.57, p < 0.001), S20M (t-test: 3.13, p < 0.001), 20Y (t-test: 4.89, p < 0.001), FS_RAG (t-test: 3.96, p < 0.001), and FS_CODS (t-test: 6.42, p < 0.001), with better performance in U15. Starters outperformed non-starters in most capacities among U13, but only in FS_RAG among U15 (t-test: 1.56, p < 0.05). Multiple regression calculations indicated nonsignificant association between independent and dependent variables in U13 (FS_CODS: 19%, FS_RAG: 21% of the explained variance, both p > 0.05), but independent variables explained significant proportion of both dependent variables in U15 (FS_CODS: 35%, FS_RAG: 33% explained variance, both p < 0.05). The study confirmed the applicability of newly developed tests in distinguishing studied age categories of players. Results indicate that superiority in all studied fitness capacities is translated into performance level in U13. Meanwhile, FS_RAG seems to be important determinant of quality in U15. View Full-Text
Keywords: team sports; pre-planned agility; non-planned agility; determinants; soccer team sports; pre-planned agility; non-planned agility; determinants; soccer
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Krolo, A.; Gilic, B.; Foretic, N.; Pojskic, H.; Hammami, R.; Spasic, M.; Uljevic, O.; Versic, S.; Sekulic, D. Agility Testing in Youth Football (Soccer)Players; Evaluating Reliability, Validity, and Correlates of Newly Developed Testing Protocols. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 294.

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