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The effect of bio-banding on technical and tactical indicators of talent identification in academy soccer players

Towlson, Christopher; Abt, Grant; MacMaster, Calum; Gonçalves, Bruno; Sampaio, Jaime; Toner, John; MacFarlane, Niall; Barrett, Steve; Hamilton, Ally; Jack, Rory; Hunter, Frances; Stringer, Amy; Myers, Tony


Calum MacMaster

Bruno Gonçalves

Jaime Sampaio

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Dr John Toner
Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Performance

Niall MacFarlane

Steve Barrett

Ally Hamilton

Rory Jack

Frances Hunter

Amy Stringer

Tony Myers


Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of bio-banding on technical and tactical markers of talent identification in 11- to 14-year-old academy soccer players. Methods: Using a repeated measures design, 92 players were bio-banded using percentage of estimated adult stature attainment (week 1), maturity-offset (week 2) and a mixed-maturity method (week 3). All players contested five maturity (mis)matched small-sided games with technical and tactical variables measured. Data were analysed using a series of Bayesian hierarchical models, fitted with different response distributions and different random and fixed effect structures. Results: Despite differences during maturity-matched bio-banding for post-peak height velocity players, very few tactical differences were evident during the remaining maturity-matched and mis-matched fixtures for both banding methods. In fact, the results showed no consistent differences across both banding methods for practitioner and video analysis-derived technical performance characteristics during maturity matched and mis-matched fixtures. Both bio-banding methods explained similar levels of variance across the measured variables. Conclusion: Maturity-matched bio-banding had some effect on both technical and tactical characteristics of players during maturity-matched bio-banded formats. That said, this trend remained during maturity mis-matched bio-banded formats which restricts the conclusions that can be made regarding the effectiveness of bio-banding to manipulate technical and tactical measures in academy soccer players.


Towlson, C., Abt, G., MacMaster, C., Gonçalves, B., Sampaio, J., Toner, J., … Myers, T. (in press). The effect of bio-banding on technical and tactical indicators of talent identification in academy soccer players. Science and Medicine in Football,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 6, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 7, 2022
Journal Science and Medicine in Football
Print ISSN 2473-3938
Electronic ISSN 2473-4446
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Maturation; Bio-banding; Soccer; Talent identification; Technical; Tactical; Positioning
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Article (254 Kb)

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©2021 The authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder

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