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Soccer academy practitioners’ perceptions and application of bio-banding

McLaren-Towlson, Christopher; Jo-Watson, Demi; Cumming, Sean; Salter, Jamie; Toner, John


Demi Jo-Watson

Sean Cumming

Jamie Salter

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Dr John Toner
Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Performance


The primary aims of this study were to examine the application of maturity status bio-banding within professional soccer academy programmes and understand the methods employed, the intended objectives, and the potential barriers to bio-banding. Using a mixed method design, twenty-five professional soccer academy practitioners, completed an online survey designed to examine coaches perceived influence of maturation on practice, perceptions of bio-banding, their application of bio-banding and their perceived barriers to bio-banding implementation. Seven participants who had experience with, or knowledge of, the bio-banding process within an academy youth soccer setting were recruited to complete a semi-structure interview and the interview schedule was informed by common themes within the survey data. Frequency and percentages of responses for individual items were calculated. Interview data was transcribed and were analysed using a directed approach to content analysis with combination of inductive and deductive approaches being used to identify meaning units which were subsequently grouped together to form emergent categories (lower-order themes) based on their similarity to each other and distinction from other categories. The main findings were that (1) there is consensus among the practitioners that the individual effect of maturation impacts their ability to accurately assess the soccer competencies, (2) the majority (80%) of the sample had implemented bio-banding, with practitioners showing a clear preference for using the Khamis and Roche method to bio-band players, with the greatest perceived benefit being during maturity-matched formats, specifically for late or post-PHV players, (3) Practitioners perceived that bio-banding enhances their ability to assess academy soccer players, and (4) practitioners who have used bio-banding believe that the method is an effective way of enhancing the perception of challenge, and provides psycho-social benefits. For the implementation of bio-banding to succeed, a collaborative approach to its implementation should be taken to permit the successful embedment of bio-banding within the typical training schedules across the adolescent phase of the player development pathway.


McLaren-Towlson, C., Jo-Watson, D., Cumming, S., Salter, J., & Toner, J. Soccer academy practitioners’ perceptions and application of bio-banding. [Dataset]

Online Publication Date Jul 6, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 6, 2022
Keywords Football, small-sided games, talent development, talent identification, bio-banding, maturation
Public URL
Type of Data Qualitative interview and survey
Collection Date Jan 11, 2022


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