Reliability and validity of field-based fitness tests in youth soccer players



Dugdale JH, Arthur CA, Sanders D & Hunter AM (2019) Reliability and validity of field-based fitness tests in youth soccer players. European Journal of Sport Science, 19 (6), pp. 1-12.

This study aimed to establish between-day reliability and validity of commonly used field-based fitness tests in youth soccer players of varied age and playing standards, and to discriminate between players without (“unidentified”) or with (“identified”) a direct route to professional football through their existing club pathway. Three-hundred-and-seventy-three Scottish youth soccer players (U11–U17) from three different playing standards (amateur, development, performance) completed a battery of commonly used generic field-based fitness tests (grip dynamometry, standing broad jump, countermovement vertical jump, 505 (505COD) and T-Drill (T-Test) change of direction and 10/20 m sprint tests) on two separate occasions within 7–14 days. The majority of field-based fitness tests selected within this study proved to be reliable measures of physical performance (ICC = 0.83–0.97; p less than .01). However, COD tests showed weaker reliability in younger participants (ICC = 0.57–0.79; p less than .01). The field-based fitness testing battery significantly discriminated between the unidentified and identified players; χ2 (7) = 101.646, p less than .001, with 70.2% of players being correctly classified. We have shown field-based fitness tests to be reliable measures of physical performance in youth soccer players. However, results from the 505COD and T-Test change of direction tests may be more variable in younger players, potentially due to complex demands of these tests and the limited training age established by these players. While the testing battery selected in this study was able to discriminate between unidentified and identified players, findings were inconsistent when attempting to differentiate between individual playing standards within the “identified” player group (development vs. performance).

Selection; performance; discriminate; profiling; adolescent; development

European Journal of Sport Science: Volume 19, Issue 6

Publication date01/06/2019
Publication date online27/12/2018
Date accepted by journal29/11/2018

People (2)


Dr James Dugdale
Dr James Dugdale

Research Fellow, Sport

Professor Angus Hunter
Professor Angus Hunter

Honorary Professor, FHSS Management and Support