'Knowledge Representation and Pattern Recognition Skills of Elite Adult and Youth Soccer Players'

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This study investigated knowledge representation and pattern of play recognition skills of elite adult and youth soccer players, while participating in conditioned phases of play. Players (n = 16) participated in their own expertise group and verbal reports were transcribed and coded into concepts (Goals, Conditions, Actions) based on a modified model of protocol structure used for tennis by (McPherson & Kernodle 2007). A Mann Whitney test was used to analyse the mean scores of the participants for knowledge representation and a Chi Square test was performed using percentage scores to identify differences in the players' ability to recognise patterns of play. The study showed that adult experts (n = 8) were able to generate more content and details, when verbalising their cognitive thought processes in game situations than youth (n = 8) elite players. The findings support previous research in that more experienced adult players are able to consistently call upon more developed long term memory whilst processing information with the existence of action plans and current event profiles. Differences were recorded in the percentage scores for players' ability to recognise patterns of play, which provide evidence that elite youth players' game-reading skills (pattern recognition) are as well developed as elite adults.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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