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Relative Age Effect: Relationship between Anthropometric and Fitness Skills in Youth Soccer
The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between anthropometric and fitness skills in youth soccer players according to their related age. The existence of relative age effect was also examined. Anthropometric as well fitness variables such as height, weight, BMI, body mass, flexibility, balance, reaction time, jumping ability, and endurance of the lower limb were assessed in 347 amateur young players. Participants’ age ranged from 9 to 16 (M= 12.43, SD= 2.17). Analyses of variance indicated many significant differences among players of different birth quartile (from P< .001 to P< .05) for all the skills that were examined. The chi square test that was conducted to assess the distribution of players, showed that for all four different age groups no statistically significant difference was found regarding the birth quartile of players. In countries that training groups include 2 different age categories, anthropometric and fitness differences because of relative age effect are heightened. However, physical and physiological variables are inaccurate in predicting later success of players. Thus talent identification systems should provide equal opportunities for talented but related younger players. It is suggested an on-going talent identification using a multidimensional evaluation form including technical, physiological, physical, tactical, and psychological parameters.

coach, football, performance, physical, talent.

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