Introduction: The aims of this study were 1) to assess if talented players can be identified within possession-based small-sided games (SSG), and 2) to determine if, decision making, physical, and time-motion characteristics correlated to success in a possession-based SSG. Methods: Eight, highly-trained U10 soccer players (Mean ± SD; age: 10.3 ± 0.2 years; stature: 1.41 ± 0.04 m; body mass: 35.2 ± 3.3 kg) participated in this study. Six 4 vs 4 possession based SSG’s were played. Time-motion characteristics were measured using micromechanical devices (MEMS). Countermovement jump, 10m and 30m speed tests were conducted. Participants were presented with 28 video clips of 5 versus 5 match-play sequences to assess decision-making ability. Results: The main finding of this study was a large significant relationship between Game Technical Scoring Chart (GTSC) and Total Points (TP) (r = 0.784, P <0.05). There were no significant correlations between the decision-making test and GTSC and TP. A significant and largely inverse correlation between decision-making and countermovement jump (r = -0.737, P <0.05) was observed. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the more talented players were also the most successful players in the possession based SSG. The players’ decision-making ability, however, did not influence their success in the SSG.
- Small-sided games
- identifying talent