Science and Soccer

By Thomas Reilly; A. Mark Williams | Go to book overview

20

Growth and maturity status of young soccer players

Robert M. Malina

Introduction

Given the popularity of soccer throughout the world, there is, surprisingly, relatively little information on the growth and maturation of young players. In this chapter, the growth and maturity status of male soccer players between 9 and 18 years of age are considered, and then the results of two studies of elite Portuguese youth soccer players are treated in more detail. Implications of the growth and maturity data are discussed in the context of selection and retention of soccer players during childhood and adolescence, and risk of injury.


20.1The young soccer player

There are many participants in youth soccer and many levels of competition. Comparisons of the growth and maturity status of young players at the local level may provide a different picture than comparisons of more elite players of the same age at national or international levels. Many youths participate in soccer programmes for a year or several years, and then move on to other activities as interests change, as skill demands become greater with higher levels of competition, and as competitive sport becomes more selective and exclusive. Hence, the meaning of the term 'young athlete' needs to be specified.

Young soccer players are usually defined in terms of success on school teams, in selected age group (e.g. travel team) and club competitions, and in national and international selections and competitions (e.g. under-12 regional selection or under-16 national selection). Many studies considered in this chapter include young male soccer players who can be classified as select, elite, junior national or national calibre. It was not always possible to estimate the talent levels of the samples. In some cases late adolescent players are labelled as semi-professionals.


20.2Growth status

Growth status refers to size attained at a given chronological age (CA), most often as height and weight. Mean ages, heights and weights from studies of young male soccer players from about 9 to 18 years of age in Europe and the Americas were drawn from the literature. European data include samples from Austria (Kosova et al., 1991), Belgium (Vrijens and van Cauter, 1985; De Proft et al., 1988), Croatia (Jankovic et al., 1993), Denmark (Lindquist and Bangsbo, 1993; Hansen et al., 1999), Finland (Luhtanen, 1988), Germany (Herm, 1993), Hungary (Farmosi and Nadori, 1981), Italy (Dal Monte et al., 1980; Mazzanti et al., 1989; Viviani et al., 1993), Portugal (Garganta and Maia, 1993; Magalhaes et al., 1997; Malina et al., 2000), the former Soviet Union (Lukyanova and Novocelova, 1964), the

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Science and Soccer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • 1 - Introduction to Science and Soccer 1
  • Part 1 - Biology and Soccer 7
  • 2 - Functional Anatomy 9
  • 3 - Fitness Assessment 21
  • 4 - Physiology of Training 47
  • 5 - Motion Analysis and Physiological Demands 59
  • 6 - Nutrition 73
  • 7 - Different Populations 96
  • Part 2 - Biomechanics and Soccer Medicine 107
  • 8 - Biomechanics Applied to Soccer Skills 109
  • References 118
  • 9 - The Biomechanics of Soccer Surfaces and Equipment 120
  • 10 - Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation 136
  • 11 - Psychology and Injury in Soccer 148
  • 12 - Environmental Stress 165
  • Part 3 - Behavioural Science and Soccer 185
  • 13 - Coaching Science and Soccer 187
  • 14 - Skill Acquisition 198
  • 15 - Stress, Performance and Motivation Theory 214
  • References 227
  • 16 - Soccer Violence 230
  • Part 4 - Match Analysis 243
  • 17 - Notational Analysis 245
  • 18 - The Science of Match Analysis 265
  • 19 - Information Technology 276
  • References 283
  • Part 5 - Growth and Adolescence 285
  • 20 - Growth and Maturity Status of Young Soccer Players 287
  • 21 - Identifying Talented Players 307
  • Index 327
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