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Talent Selection in Swedish Youth Football : the Relative Age Effect and Parental Support
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2015 (English)In: 20th annual Congress of the EUROPEAN COLLEGE OF SPORT SCIENCE 24th - 27th June 2015, Malmö – Sweden BOOK OF ABSTRACTS / [ed] Radmann, A., Hedenborg, S., Tsolakidis, E., 2015, 293-294 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction This study reports empirical data from an ongoing project, investigating talent development in football. The purpose is to examine predictors that impact on 14-year old football players´ possibilities to enter and proceed through the Swedish Football Associations´ talent development system. Drawing on deliberate practice and deliberate play (Côté, Baker & Abernethy, 2003), the relative age effect (RAE)(Romann & Fuchlosher, 2011) and sporting habitus (Bourdieu, 2010) we focus on football training in clubs and school, training time in football and other sports, birth dates and parental support. Method The analysis is based upon questionnaires from one large and one medium district. The study included 166 boys and 117 girls who at the age of 14 participated in the first selection camp at each district. They were then followed until their last selection the year thereafter, in which 16 boys and 16 girls where selected to represent the district in a national elite camp. Result The results show that 67% of the boys and girls where born in the first six month, RAE then increased for boys, with 83% in the last selection being born the first six months girls RAE were constant. Boys practiced more football both in and outside their club, 61% of the boys and 40% of the girls reaching the last selection practiced 7 hours or more in their club. 33% of the boys and 8% of the girls practiced 5 or more hours on their own. For girls selected, on each level parental support was stronger than for not selected girls, for both boys and girls who were selected for the final district team parental support was almost twice as big in terms of presence at games and practice. The parents of the players who were selected had to a great extent a competitive sport background. Discussion The results show that RAE is a threshold for entering the system and then increase for boys. The 14-year old football players´ proceeding through to the district team seem to be related to training hours, especially for boys, and parental support, especially for girls. These results suggest a need to further explore how these factors shapes the selection processes for boys and girls and the recruitment of the final 16 players in the district team. References Bourdieu, P. (2010). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. London: Routledge Côté, J., Baker, J. & Abernethy, B. (2003). From play to practice: a developmental framework for the acquisition of expertise in team sport. In Starker, J. & Ericsson, A.K. (Eds.) Recent advances in research on sport expertise. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Romann, M., & Fuchlosher, J. (2013). Relative age effects in Swiss junior soccer and their relationship with playing position. European Journal of Sport Science, 4, 356-363.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. 293-294 p.
Keyword [en]
talent development, selection, birth date
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-106359ISBN: 978-91-7104-567-6OAI: diva2:841266
20th annual Congress of the European college of Sport Science, (ECSS), Sustainable Sport, in Malmö, Sweden, June 2015
Available from: 2015-07-12 Created: 2015-07-12 Last updated: 2015-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Renström, AnnaSöderström, Tor
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