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Soccer academy practitioners' perceptions and application of bio-banding

Towlson, Chris; Watson, Demi Jo; 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


Hugo Miguel Borges Sarmento


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 their perceptions of the influence of maturation on practice, their perceptions and application of bio-banding, and the perceived barriers to the implementation of this method. Frequency and percentages of responses for individual items were calculated. In the next phase of the study, 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-structured interview. Interview data was transcribed and analysed using a combination of deductive and inductive approaches to identify key themes. The main findings across the two phases of the study 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 thereby providing a number of psycho-social benefits. Findings suggest that a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach is required to enhance the likelihood of bio-banding being successfully implemented within the typical training schedules across the adolescent phase of the player development pathway.


Towlson, C., Watson, D. J., Cumming, S., Salter, J., & Toner, J. (2023). Soccer academy practitioners' perceptions and application of bio-banding. PLoS ONE, 18(1), Article e0274079.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 26, 2023
Publication Date Jan 26, 2023
Deposit Date May 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 25, 2023
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 1
Article Number e0274079
Keywords Multidisciplinary
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Published article (799 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2023 Towlson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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