Assessing Change of Direction Ability in a Spanish Elite Soccer Academy

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Asier Los Arcos, Jose F. Aramendi, Jose I. Emparanza, Carlo Castagna, Javier Yanci, Alejandro Lezaun, Raul Martinez-Santos

The aims of the study were: a) to analyze the reproducibility of the Modified Agility Test (MAT) according to two types of displacement (i.e. constrained [MATtop] vs. free [MATfree]), b) to examine the explanatory capacity of anthropometric characteristics and neuromuscular performance on the ability to change the direction (CODA), c) to look into the practical consequences of the types of displacement from the perspective of an elite soccer academy. 118 male soccer players (age: 16 (13-25) years old) from the same elite Spanish soccer academy (U13 to senior) were tested twice on two versions of the MAT (MATtop and MATfree), with 48 hours between testing sessions. Moreover, they were tested on linear-sprint performance, over 5 m (S5m) and 15 m (S15m), and the vertical jump (VJ) (countermovement jump with [ACMJ] and without an arm swing [CMJ]). The main findings were: a) the type of displacement did not affect the reliability of the CODA test; b) weight, S15m, ACMJ and CMJ variables explained close to 60% of CODA performance; c) MATtop (i.e. constrained displacement) and MATfree (i.e. free-displacement) CODA tests could show different profiles of development along the age groups; and d) the impact of the task’s constraints was relatively higher in U16 and U17 groups. CODA seems to have a variable meaning depending on the characteristics of the test and the age of the participants
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2019-0109
Key words
agility, test, youth, soccer, athletics

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