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Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte

On-line version ISSN 1989-5879Print version ISSN 1578-8423


ECHEAZARRA ESCUDERO, Ibon; CASTELLANO PAULIS, Julen; USABIAGA ARRUABARRENA, Oidui  and  HERNANDEZ MENDO, Antonio. Differences in the Strategic Use of Space in Under 14 and Under 16 Soccer: a Polar Coordinate Analysis. CPD [online]. 2015, vol.15, n.1, pp.169-180. ISSN 1989-5879.

Player interaction is an inherent part of soccer and the collective use of space may be an aspect of game dynamics that merits closer study. This study investigates differences in the use of playing space between under-14 and under-16 male soccer players. Twelve matches (six per age group) were observed, coded, and recorded using the ad hoc soccer observation instrument SOFBAS (version 2). Following confirmation of the quality of the data, the datasets were analyzed by polar coordinate analysis from the perspective of genuine retrospectivity. Effective playing area (EJE) categories were chosen as the criterion, or focal, behaviors. These categories represented the location of the player on his first contact with the ball in relation to the EJE and to the location of his teammates and opposing players. Four categories were used: FF (outside-outside), FD (outside-inside), DF (inside-outside), and DD (inside-inside). The polar coordinate analysis revealed differences in the strategic use of space between the two age groups, with the older players showing a more balanced use of the areas inside and outside the EJE. The results of this study suggest that training strategies adapted to the age and abilities of players might result in more efficient and effective training sessions and learning.

Keywords : Soccer; training; observational methodology; polar coordinates.

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