So far, I have written a lot on the physiological aspects of modern football. Today I would like to deal with some key tactical aspects and support my words with scientific evidence.
At the elite level, it seems that differences between players during the game are more related to tactics, motivation and specific technical skills. Tactical skills refer to the quality of the player to adopt the right action at the right moment.
Is there scientific evidence behind it?
In a study published last year, researchers from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, evaluated tactical skills in 105 elite youth players who participated in the their club’s talent development program at the start of the project (around 16-18 years of age) and at adulthood (21 years or older). At the adulthood, players were grouped as amateurs (2nd national division or lower) and professionals (those playing either with a premier league club or on the first team of the 1st division of the national league). Tactical skills were assessed with a specific questionnaire. Among others the scales “Positioning” and “Deciding” were evaluated.
Their results showed that those player scoring “good” to “excellent” in the “Positioning” and “Deciding” at the age of 16-18 years were almost 7 times more likely to reach the professional level that those scoring in the lowest categories.
It seems that besides physical fitness, the ability to be at the right place at the right moment to make the right action is a key factor that differentiates between professional and amateur players.
We could add subscales “Positioning” and “Deciding” to our talent identification program.