Science and Practice of Grassroots Soccer

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 September 2022) | Viewed by 11865

Special Issue Editors

Faculty Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Coventry University, Priory St, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Interests: obesity; ergogenic aids; kinanthropometry; physical activity; active videogaming; exercise physiology; strength and conditioning; motor skills; motor competence
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
Interests: strength and conditioning; functional training; maturation and performance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Grassroots soccer, defined as recreational soccer particularly with children from the age of 6 years onwards, is a dynamic activity comprising technical, tactical, physical and psychological demands. Recreational soccer is played by children worldwide and can provide health-enhancing physical activity in addition to a path to more specialised sport performance through talent development programmes employed by national governing bodies in various countries. This Special Issue invites contributions from across the spectrum of health, sport and exercise, social and life sciences examining science and practice related to grassroots soccer.

This Special Issue is open to original research, review articles, short reports, brief commentaries, case reports and meta-analyses related to understanding the impact of grassroots soccer on performance and health related variables. The keywords listed below suggest just a few of the many possibilities.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Technical, tactical, physical, psychological and social correlates of performance in grassroots soccer.
  • Effects of interventions, including strength and conditioning, psychological skills and coaching pedagogies, on performance in grassroots soccer.
  • Coaching practices and behaviours and their importance for technical, tactical, physical, psychological and social outcomes in grassroots soccer.
  • Measurement issues related to participation and performance in grassroots soccer.

Prof. Dr. Michael Duncan
Dr. Rhys Morris
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sports is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • soccer
  • motor skills
  • strength and conditioning
  • coaching
  • pedagogy
  • sport performance
  • talent development
  • talent identification
  • physical literacy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 780 KiB  
Article
Effects of Age and Playing Tactics on the Individual Tactical Behavior in U10 and U12 Elite Spanish Soccer Players
Sports 2022, 10(11), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10110185 - 21 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1343
Abstract
The aim of this paper was to explore the effects of age and playing tactics on the individual tactical behavior and performance in young soccer players. A total of 1247 individual possessions during 16 knockout matches from LaLiga Promises U12 tournament (n = [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper was to explore the effects of age and playing tactics on the individual tactical behavior and performance in young soccer players. A total of 1247 individual possessions during 16 knockout matches from LaLiga Promises U12 tournament (n = 621) and LaLiga U10 Iscar Cup (n = 626) were analyzed by observational methodology. Multilevel and multivariate logistic regression models were created to explain the interdependent effects of age category and playing tactics on the individual tactical behavior and performance. Youth players performed most of their actions against defensive pressure (72.5%), during offensive support (91.3%) and receiving the ball facing forward (62.6%). The most frequent action was to receive and pass the ball (69.6%) and the level of offensive success was 56.9%. The multilevel mixed models revealed that U10 players presented higher odds of running with the ball vs. passing the ball (OR = 1.823; 95% CI: 1.333–2.493; p < 0.001) and lower odds of achieving offensive success (OR = 0.698; 95% CI: 0.525–0.928; p < 0.05) than U12 players. Regarding playing tactics, technical-tactical dimensions such as the players’ body shape when receiving the ball, offensive support, defensive pressure, collective type of attack and type of technical action presented a significant and combined effect on the offensive success regardless of age category, playing position and match status. This study found tactical differences between U10 and U12 age categories and revealed important interactive effects of multiple tactical dimensions on the individual offensive behavior and performance in youth soccer players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Practice of Grassroots Soccer)
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12 pages, 2151 KiB  
Article
Despite Good Correlations, There Is No Exact Coincidence between Isometric and Dynamic Strength Measurements in Elite Youth Soccer Players
Sports 2022, 10(11), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10110175 - 10 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1664
Abstract
Speed strength performances are substantially dependent on maximum strength. Due to their importance, various methods have been utilized to measure maximum strength (e.g., isometric or dynamic) with discussed differences regarding transferability to sport-specific movements dependent upon the testing procedure. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Speed strength performances are substantially dependent on maximum strength. Due to their importance, various methods have been utilized to measure maximum strength (e.g., isometric or dynamic) with discussed differences regarding transferability to sport-specific movements dependent upon the testing procedure. The aim of this study was to analyze whether maximum isometric force (MIF) during isometric back squats correlates with maximum strength measurements of the one repetition maximum (1RM) in the squat, with countermovement jump (CMJ) performance, and with drop jump (DJ) performances in elite youth soccer players (n = 16, 18.4 ± 1.5 [range: 17–23] years old). Additionally, concordance correlation coefficients (CCC, [ρc]) between isometric and dynamic measurements were calculated to verify whether one measurement can actually reproduce the results of the other. To improve comprehension, differences between isometric and dynamic testing values were illustrated by providing differences between both testing conditions. For this, the mean absolute error (MAE) and the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) were calculated. To reach equality in scale, the 1RM measures were multiplicated by 9.81 to obtain a value of N. The 1RM demonstrated correlations of τ = |0.38| to |0.52| with SJ and CMJ performances, while MIF demonstrated correlations of τ = |0.21| to |0.32|. However, the correlations of both 1RM and MIF with the DJ reactive strength index (RSI = jump height/contact time) from different falling heights were of no statistical significance. The data showed significant correlations between both the absolute (τ = |0.54|) and the relative (τ = |0.40|) performances of 1RM and MIF, which were confirmed by CCC of ρc= |0.56| to |0.66|, respectively. Furthermore, the MAE and MAPE showed values of 2080.87 N and 67.4%, respectively. The data in this study show that, despite good correlations, there is no exact coincidence between isometric and dynamic strength measurements. Accordingly, both measurements may only represent an estimation of maximal strength capacity and cannot be substituted for each other. Therefore, maximal strength should be tested by using high similarity in the contraction condition, as it is used in the training process to counteract underestimation in strength because of unfamiliarity with the testing condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Practice of Grassroots Soccer)
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14 pages, 314 KiB  
Article
The Perception of Grassroots Coaches of Spanish Professional Clubs on the Process of Training Young Players
Sports 2022, 10(10), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10100158 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1365
Abstract
(1) The aims of this study were to find out the perception of the coaches of male and female football players in the initiation stage of Spanish professional clubs about different factors of the training process (context, talent development, and methodology), and to [...] Read more.
(1) The aims of this study were to find out the perception of the coaches of male and female football players in the initiation stage of Spanish professional clubs about different factors of the training process (context, talent development, and methodology), and to identify possible differences according to age/category (U10s: 8–10 years old, and U12s: 10–12 years old) and gender (male and female). (2) For this purpose, a questionnaire of 57 questions grouped into seven dimensions was applied, selecting for this work those related to talent development, training methodology, and social context. A total of 153 coaches from top-level Spanish professional clubs participated in the study: the first and second male division and the first female division. (3) The coaches consider that genetic inheritance is more important than contextual variables in the development of sporting talent. On the other hand, they do not show a clear consensus on whether players who perform better in the initiation stage have a greater chance of reaching the elite. (4) In addition, they value decision-making and technical qualities as fundamental factors in the development of talent rather than physical preparation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Practice of Grassroots Soccer)

Review

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20 pages, 3359 KiB  
Review
Programming Plyometric-Jump Training in Soccer: A Review
Sports 2022, 10(6), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10060094 - 10 Jun 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6376
Abstract
The aim of this review was to describe and summarize the scientific literature on programming parameters related to jump or plyometric training in male and female soccer players of different ages and fitness levels. A literature search was conducted in the electronic databases [...] Read more.
The aim of this review was to describe and summarize the scientific literature on programming parameters related to jump or plyometric training in male and female soccer players of different ages and fitness levels. A literature search was conducted in the electronic databases PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus using keywords related to the main topic of this study (e.g., “ballistic” and “plyometric”). According to the PICOS framework, the population for the review was restricted to soccer players, involved in jump or plyometric training. Among 7556 identified studies, 90 were eligible for inclusion. Only 12 studies were found for females. Most studies (n = 52) were conducted with youth male players. Moreover, only 35 studies determined the effectiveness of a given jump training programming factor. Based on the limited available research, it seems that a dose of 7 weeks (1–2 sessions per week), with ~80 jumps (specific of combined types) per session, using near-maximal or maximal intensity, with adequate recovery between repetitions (<15 s), sets (≥30 s) and sessions (≥24–48 h), using progressive overload and taper strategies, using appropriate surfaces (e.g., grass), and applied in a well-rested state, when combined with other training methods, would increase the outcome of effective and safe plyometric-jump training interventions aimed at improving soccer players physical fitness. In conclusion, jump training is an effective and easy-to-administer training approach for youth, adult, male and female soccer players. However, optimal programming for plyometric-jump training in soccer is yet to be determined in future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Practice of Grassroots Soccer)
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