Journal article

Skill not athleticism predicts individual variation in match performance of soccer players

Robbie S Wilson, Gwendolyn K David, Sean C Murphy, Michael J Angilletta, Amanda C Niehaus, Andrew H Hunter, Michelle D Smith

Proceedings of the Royal Society B | ROYAL SOC | Published : 2017

Abstract

Just as evolutionary biologists endeavour to link phenotypes to fitness, sport scientists try to identify traits that determine athlete success. Both disciplines would benefit from collaboration, and to illustrate this, we used an analytical approach common to evolutionary biology to isolate the phenotypes that promote success in soccer, a complex activity of humans played in nearly every modern society. Using path analysis, we quantified the relationships among morphology, balance, skill, athleticism and performance of soccer players. We focused on performance in two complex motor activities: a simple game of soccer tennis (1 on 1), and a standard soccer match (11 on 11). In both contests, ..

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