The concept of skill is a key element in football and has been studied from many different perspectives. A global view on skill-related football interventions help comprehend and identify gaps in current knowledge. The aim of this scoping review was threefold: (a) to scope the theoretical bases, concepts and skills that have been used in skill-related interventions in football, (b) to summarize the skill-related interventions, (c) to identify research gaps. A scoping literature search was carried out following JBI and PRISMA-ScR guidelines in APA PsycINFO, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science. The main inclusion criterium was that studies had to examine football players aged U15 (non-beginners) to adult (high-performance/professional), encompassing both genders across youth and high-performance levels, and consider all types of interventional studies published in English peer-reviewed journals, focusing on acute and long-term adaptations. A total of 4086 peer-reviewed journal articles were identified, 83 of them were fully analyzed, and three key results were obtained: (a) the examined articles predominantly used two theoretical approaches for football skills (self-organization approaches and information processing, 42.2 and 19.3%, respectively), or did not have any theoretical grounding (38.6%), (b) a multitude of different key concepts (> 60) have been used, (c) most football skill-related research was conducted in Europe (81.0%) with samples heavily focused on male participants (90.1%). Findings highlight the need to clarify the conceptualization of football skill and broaden the scope on football skill throughout the world, especially to include ecological research designs with female participants.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
During the screening phase, the criteria was refined: studies were included only if the average age of participants was not below one SD of 15 yrs.
During the screening phase, the criteria was refined: exclusion also if we could not affirm how the eligible and ineligible participants were grouped.
In women’s football, also the 1st level football was included, even though no information about professionality was given, since women’s high-level football is not yet always fully professional regarding salaries but is regarding their input.
If authors did not provide information regarding participants’ level, the article was excluded.
During the screening phase, the criteria was refined: studies that focused on strength development (and where the only skill-related aspect was speed of a pass/kick) were excluded.
A pilot test (screening random sample of 25 titles/abstracts, discussing discrepancies, making modifications, and starting screening when ≥ 80% agreement was achieved) was conducted also in this phase.
Unlike the protocol, instead of letting an experienced advisory team examine the reference lists, they have been checked out by the first author JS.
‘Perceptual-cognitive’ class was added to account for the studies that used a ‘out of context’ training program without physical effort, such as video-based tasks (physical training was included in ‘drill’ class).
It could be inferred from the titles and abstracts that these articles would probably not have been included.
More recent articles are not in the review because of the timing of the full search.
Age and sample size were considered only for those sample groups that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Age was extracted from the mean age of the sample.
Skills and performance/behaviour-related variables were distributed in two classes in the phase of preliminary analysis. Skills are the specific football skills such as passing, performance/behaviour-related variables are related to game/training performance (e.g., action completion/success rate) or player/group behaviour (e.g., visual exploratory activity).
References preceded by an asterisk (*) were included in the scoping review.
Teaching Games for Understanding
References preceded by an asterisk (*) were included in the scoping review.
Abellan, J., Saez-Gallego, N. M., Savelsbergh, G. J. P., & Contreras, O. R. (2019). The interception of a corner kick from a constraints-led perspective. Revista Internacional De Medicina Y Ciencias De La Actividad Fisica Y Del Deporte, 19(74), 225–241. https://doi.org/10.15366/rimcafd2019.74.004. *.
Abrantes, C. I., Nunes, M. I., Macas, V. M., Leite, N. M., & Sampaio, J. E. (2012). Effects of the number of players and game type constraints on heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and technical actions of small-sided soccer games. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 976–981. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822dd398. *.
Abt, G., Boreham, C., Davison, G., Jackson, R., Nevill, A., Wallace, E., & Williams, M. (2020). Power, precision, and sample size estimation in sport and exercise science research. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38(17), 1933–1935. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2020.1776002.
Adams, J. A. (1971). A closed-loop theory of motor learning. Journal of Motor Behavior, 3(2), 111–150. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222895.1971.10734898.
Aguiar, M., Goncalves, B., Botelho, G., Lemmink, K., & Sampaio, J. (2015). Footballers’ movement behaviour during 2‑, 3‑, 4‑ and 5‑a-side small-sided games. Journal of Sports Sciences, 33(12), 1259–1266. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2015.1022571. *.
Ali, A. (2011). Measuring soccer skill performance: a review. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 21(2), 170–183. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01256.x.
Andersen, T. B., Krustrup, P., Bendiksen, M., Orntoft, C. O., Randers, M. B., & Pettersen, S. A. (2016). Kicking velocity and effect on match performance when using a smaller, lighter ball in women’s football. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 37(12), 966–972. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0042-109542. *.
Aquino, R., Puggina, E. F., Alves, I. S., & Garganta, J. (2017). Skill-related performance in soccer: a systematic review. Human Movement, 18(5), 3–24. https://doi.org/10.1515/humo-2017-0042.
Araújo, D., & Davids, K. (2011). What exactly is acquired during skill acquisition? Journal of Consciousness Studies, 18(3–4), 18.
Araújo, D., & Davids, K. (2015). Towards a theoretically-driven model of correspondence between behaviours in one context to another: Implications for studying sport performance. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(6), 745–757.
Araújo, D., Passos, P., Esteves, P., Duarte, R., Lopes, J., Hristovski, R., & Davids, K. (2015). The micro-macro link in understanding sport tactical behaviours: Integrating information and action at different levels of system analysis in sport. Science et Motricité, 89, 53–63. https://doi.org/10.1051/sm/2015028.
Araújo, D., Hristovski, R., Seifert, L., Carvalho, J., & Davids, K. (2017). Ecological cognition: expert decision-making behaviour in sport. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 12(1), 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984X.2017.1349826.
Aromataris, E., & Munn, Z. (2020). JBI manual for evidence synthesis. JBI. https://doi.org/10.46658/JBIMES-20-01.
Ávalos-Guillén, J. C., Gutiérrez-Vargas, R., Araya-Vargas, G., Sánchez-Ureña, B., Rojas-Valverde, D., & Gutiérrez-Vargas, J. C. (2017). Effects of artificial turf and natural grass on physical and technical performance of professional soccer players. MHSalud: Revista En Ciencias Del Movimiento Humano y Salud. https://doi.org/10.15359/mhs.14-1.1. *.
Badin, O. O., Smith, M. R., Conte, D., & Coutts, A. J. (2016). Mental fatigue: Impairment of technical performance in small-sided soccer games. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 11(8), 1100–1105. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2015-0710. *.
Baker, J., Wilson, S., Johnston, K., Dehghansai, N., Koenigsberg, A., de Vegt, S., & Wattie, N. (2020). Talent research in sport 1990–2018: a scoping review. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 607710. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.607710.
Balagué, N., Pol, R., Torrents, C., Ric, A., & Hristovski, R. (2019). On the relatedness and nestedness of constraints. Sports Medicine – Open. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-019-0178-z.
Bergmann, F., Gray, R., Wachsmuth, S., & Höner, O. (2020). The influence of practice design and coaching behavior on skill acquisition in soccer: a systematic review protocol (PRISMA-P). https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/NUYZP.
Bergmann, F., Gray, R., Wachsmuth, S., & Höner, O. (2021). Perceptual-motor and perceptual-cognitive skill acquisition in soccer: a systematic review on the influence of practice design and coaching behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 772201. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.772201.
Bernal-Reyes, F., Yagüe Cabezón, J. M., Zubiaur Gonzalez, M., Romero-Pérez, E. M., & Gavotto-Nogales, O. I. (2018). Comparison between global and analytical training methodologies for the development of technical fundamentals skills during soccer initiation training on 8–9 and 10–11 years old children. Biotecnia, 20(2), 65–71. https://doi.org/10.18633/biotecnia.v20i2.600.
Blaser, M. A., & Seiler, R. (2019). Shared knowledge and verbal communication in football: changes in team cognition through collective training. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00077. *.
Branquinho, L., Ferraz, R., Duarte-Mendes, P., Petrica, J., Serrano, J., & Marques, M. C. (2020). The effect of an in-season 8‑week plyometric training programme followed by a detraining period on explosive skills in competitive junior soccer players. Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 9(1), 33–40. https://doi.org/10.26773/mjssm.200305. *.
Bujalance-Moreno, P., Latorre-Román, P. Á., & García-Pinillos, F. (2019). A systematic review on small-sided games in football players: acute and chronic adaptations. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(8), 921–949. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2018.1535821.
Bunker, D., & Thorpe, R. (1982). A model for the teaching of games in secondary schools. Bulletin of Physical Education, 18(1), 5–8.
Canton, A., Torrents, C., Ric, A., Goncalves, B., Sampaio, J., & Hristovski, R. (2019). Effects of temporary numerical imbalances on collective exploratory behavior of young and professional football players. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1968. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01968. *.
Carlsson, M., Isberg, J., Nilsson, J., & Carlsson, T. (2019). The acute effects of a short technique-intense training period on side-foot kick performance among elite female soccer players. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 59(9), 1442–1449. https://doi.org/10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09449-0. *.
Carlsson, T., Isberg, J., Nilsson, J., & Carlsson, M. (2018). The Influence of task conditions on side foot-kick accuracy among Swedish first league women’s soccer players. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 17, 74–81. *.
Casamichana, D., & Castellano, J. (2010). Time-motion, heart rate, perceptual and motor behaviour demands in small-sides soccer games: Effects of pitch size. Journal of Sports Sciences, 28(14), 1615–1623. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2010.521168. *.
Caso, S., & van der Kamp, J. (2020). Variability and creativity in small-sided conditioned games among elite soccer players. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 48, 101645. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101645. *.
Chow, J., Davids, K., Button, C., Shuttleworth, R., Renshaw, I., & Araujo, D. (2006). Nonlinear pedagogy: a constraints-led framework for understanding emergence of game play and movement skills. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, 10(1), 71–103.
Christopher, J., Beato, M., & Hulton, A. T. (2016). Manipulation of exercise to rest ratio within set duration on physical and technical outcomes during small-sided games in elite youth soccer players. Human Movement Science, 48, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2016.03.013. *.
Ciocca, G., Tessitore, A., Mandorino, M., & Tschan, H. (2022). A Video-based tactical task does not elicit mental fatigue and does not impair soccer performance in a subsequent small-sided game. Sports. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10030031. *.
Clemente, F. M., & Sarmento, H. (2020). The effects of small-sided soccer games on technical actions and skills: a systematic review. Human Movement, 21(3), 100–119. https://doi.org/10.5114/hm.2020.93014.
Clemente, F. M., Afonso, J., Castillo, D., Arcos, A. L., Silva, A. F., & Sarmento, H. (2020). The effects of small-sided soccer games on tactical behavior and collective dynamics: a systematic review. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, 134, 109710. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chaos.2020.109710.
Clemente, F. M., Afonso, J., & Sarmento, H. (2021). Small-sided games: an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PLoS ONE, 16(2), e247067. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247067.
Coutinho, D., Gonçalves, B., Travassos, B., Wong, D. P., Coutts, A. J., & Sampaio, J. E. (2017). Mental fatigue and spatial references impair soccer players’ physical and tactical performances. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01645. *.
Coutinho, D., Goncalves, B., Travassos, B., Abade, E., Wong, D. P., & Sampaio, J. (2018a). Effects of pitch spatial references on players’ positioning and physical performances during football small-sided games. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(7), 741–747. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2018.1523671. *.
Coutinho, D., Santos, S., Gonçalves, B., Travassos, B., Wong, D. P., Schöllhorn, W., & Sampaio, J. (2018b). The effects of an enrichment training program for youth football attackers. PLoS ONE. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199008. *.
Coutinho, D., Goncalves, B., Santos, S., Travassos, B., Schollhorn, W., & Sampaio, J. (2022). The effects of individual and collective variability on youth players’ movement behaviours during football small-sided games. Research in Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1080/15438627.2022.2042293. *.
Davids, K., & Araújo, D. (2010). The concept of ‘organismic asymmetry’ in sport science. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 13(6), 633–640. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2010.05.002.
Davids, K., Chow, J.-Y., & Shuttleworth, R. (2005). A constraints-based framework for nonlinear pedagogy in physical education. Journal of Physical Education New Zealand, 38(1), 17–29.
Davids, K., Araújo, D., Vilar, L., Renshaw, I., & Pinder, R. (2013). An ecological dynamics approach to skill acquisition: implications for development of talent in sport. Talent Development & Excellence, 5(1), 21–34.
Dellal, A., Hill-Haas, S., Lago-Penas, C., & Chamari, K. (2011a). Small-sided games in soccer: Amateur vs. professional players’ physiological responses, physical, and technical activities. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(9), 2371–2381. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fb4296. *.
Dellal, A., Lago-Penas, C., Wong, D. P., & Chamari, K. (2011b). Effect of the number of ball contacts within bouts of 4 vs. 4 small-sided soccer games. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 6(3), 322–333. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.6.3.322. *.
Dellal, A., Drust, B., & Lago-Penas, C. (2012a). Variation of activity demands in small-sided soccer games. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 33(5), 370–375. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0031-1295476. *.
Dellal, A., Owen, A., Wong, D. P., Krustrup, P., van Exsel, M., & Mallo, J. (2012b). Technical and physical demands of small vs. large sided games in relation to playing position in elite soccer. Human Movement Science, 31(4), 957–969. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2011.08.013. *.
Dello Iacono, A., Padulo, J., Zagatto, A. M., Milic, M., & Eliakim, E. (2017). The effects of structural and technical constraints on the profiles of football-based passing drill exercises: suggestions for periodization planning and skill development. Science and Medicine in Football, 2(2), 163–170. https://doi.org/10.1080/24733938.2017.1384561. *.
Ellis, L., & Ward, P. (2022). The effect of a high-pressure protocol on penalty shooting performance, psychological, and psychophysiological response in professional football: A mixed methods study. Journal of Sports Sciences, 40(1), 3–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2021.1957344. *.
Falces-Prieto, M., Casamichana, D., Sáez-Sáez de Villarreal, E., Requena-Sánchez, B., Carling, C., & Suárez-Arronez, L. J. (2015). The presence of the head coach during a small-sided game: effects on players’ internal load and technical performance. [la presencia del entrenador durante un juego reducido: efectos sobre la carga interna y rendimiento técnico. RICYDE. Revista Internacional de Ciencias Del Deporte, 11(41), 245–257. https://doi.org/10.5232/ricyde2015.04104. *.
Farrow, D., & Robertson, S. (2017). Development of a skill acquisition periodisation framework for high-performance sport. Sports Medicine, 47(6), 1043–1054.
Ferraz, R., Goncalves, B., Coutinho, D., Oliveira, R., Travassos, B., Sampaio, J., & Marques, M. C. (2020). Effects of knowing the task’s duration on soccer players’ positioning and pacing behaviour during small-sided games. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(11), 3843. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113843. *.
FIFA (2019). Fifa women’s football survey 2019. https://digitalhub.fifa.com/m/231330ded0bf3120/original/nq3ensohyxpuxovcovj0-pdf.pdf. Accessed 13 January 2021.
Filipas, L., Borghi, S., La Torre, A., & Smith, M. R. (2020). Effects of mental fatigue on soccer-specific performance in young players. Science and Medicine in Football, 5(2), 150–157. https://doi.org/10.1080/24733938.2020.1823012. *.
Fitts, P. M., & Posner, M. I. (1967). Human performance. Brooks/Cole.
Fortes, L., Almeida, S., Praca, G., Nascimento, J., Lima, D., Barbosa, B., & Ferreira, M. (2021). Virtual reality promotes greater improvements than video-stimulation screen on perceptual-cognitive skills in young soccer athletes. Human Movement Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2021.102856. *.
Frybort, P., Kokstejn, J., Musalek, M., & Suess, V. (2016). Does physical loading affect the speed and accuracy of tactical decision-making in elite junior soccer players? Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 15(2), 320–326. *.
Gabbett, T. J., Carius, J., & Mulvey, M. (2008). Does improved decision-making ability reduce the physiological demands of game-based activities in field sport athletes? Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(6), 2027–2035. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181887f34. *.
Gantois, P., Ferreira, M. E. C., De Lima-Junior, D., Nakamura, F. Y., Batista, G. R., Fonseca, F. S., & Fortes, L. D. S. (2019). Effects of mental fatigue on passing decision-making performance in professional soccer athletes. European Journal of Sport Science, 20(4), 534–543. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2019.1656781. *.
Garcia-Herrero, J. A., Sanchez-Sanchez, J., Luis-Pereira, J. M., & Menayo, R. (2016). The effects of induced variability in the performance on shot in soccer. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 11(5), 648–654. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747954116667101. *.
Goncalves, B., Marcelino, R., Torres-Ronda, L., Torrents, C., & Sampaio, J. (2016). Effects of emphasising opposition and cooperation on collective movement behaviour during football small-sided games. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(14), 1346–1354. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.1143111. *.
Goncalves, B., Esteves, P., Folgado, H., Ric, A., Torrents, C., & Sampaio, J. (2017). Effects of pitch area-restrictions on tactical behavior, physical, and physiological performances in soccer large-sided games. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(9), 2398–2408. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001700. *.
Gonzalez-Artetxe, A., Pino-Ortega, J., Rico-González, M., & Arcos, L. A. (2021). Training effects of artificial rules on youth soccer team tactical behavior. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2021.1903411. *.
Hammami, A., Gabbett, T. J., Slimani, M., & Bouhlel, E. (2018). Does small-sided games training improve physical-fitness and specific skills for team sports? A systematic review with meta-analysis. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 58(10), 1446–1455. https://doi.org/10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07420-5.
Headrick, J., Davids, K., Renshaw, I., Araújo, D., Passos, P., & Fernandes, O. (2012). Proximity-to-goal as a constraint on patterns of behaviour in attacker–defender dyads in team games. Journal of Sports Sciences, 30(3), 247–253. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.640706. *.
Helgerud, J., Engen, L. C., Wisloff, U., & Hoff, J. (2001). Aerobic endurance training improves soccer performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(11), 1925–1931. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200111000-00019. *.
Hicheur, H., Chauvin, A., Cavin, V., Fuchslocher, J., Tschopp, M., & Taube, W. (2020). Augmented-feedback training improves cognitive motor performance of soccer players. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 52(1), 141–152. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000002118. *.
Ibrahim, R., Kingma, I., de Boode, V., Faber, G. S., & van Dieen, J. H. (2019). The effect of preparatory posture on goalkeeper’s diving save performance in football. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 1, 15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2019.00015. *.
Ingold, T. (2021). Correspondences. Polity Press.
Jara, D., Ortega, E., Gómez, M.-Á., & de Baranda, P. S. (2018). Effect of pitch size on technical-tactical actions of the goalkeeper in small-sided games. Journal of Human Kinetics, 62(1), 157–166. https://doi.org/10.1515/hukin-2017-0167. *.
Jordet, G. (2005). Perceptual training in soccer: An imagery intervention study with elite players. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17(2), 140–156. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200590932452. *.
Kelly, D. A., & Drust, B. (2009). The effect of pitch dimensions on heart rate responses and technical demands of small-sided soccer games in elite players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 12(4), 475–479. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2008.01.010. *.
Kent, S., Devonport, T. J., Lane, A. M., & Nicholls, W. (2022). Implementing a pressure training program to improve decision-making and execution of skill among premier league academy soccer players. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2020.1868618. *.
Kinnerk, P., Harvey, S., MacDonncha, C., & Lyons, M. (2018). A review of the game-based approaches to coaching literature in competitive team sport settings. Quest, 70(4), 401–418. https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2018.1439390.
Koklu, Y., Alemdaroglu, U., Dellal, A., & Wong, D. P. (2015). Effect of different recovery durations between bouts in 3‑a-side games on youth soccer players’ physiological responses and technical activities. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 55(5), 430–438. *.
Koltai, M., Wallner, D., Gusztafik, Á., Sáfár, Z., Dancs, H., Simi, H., Hagenauer, M., & Buchgraber, A. M. (2016). Measuring of sport specific skills of football players. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 11(Proc1), S218–S227. https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2016.11.Proc1.12.
Kurz, J., Helm, F., Troje, N. F., & Munzert, J. (2019). Prediction of action outcome: Effects of available information about body structure. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 82(4), 2076–2084. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-019-01883-5. *.
Lockwood, C., dos Santos, K. B., & Pap, R. (2019). Practical guidance for knowledge synthesis: scoping review methods. Asian Nursing Research, 13(5), 287–294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anr.2019.11.002.
Lohse, K., Buchanan, T., & Miller, M. (2016). Underpowered and overworked: problems with data analysis in motor learning studies. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 4(1), 37–58. https://doi.org/10.1123/jmld.2015-0010.
van Maarseveen, M. J. J., Oudejans, R. R. D., & Savelsbergh, G. J. P. (2018). Self-controlled video feedback on tactical skills for soccer teams results in more active involvement of players. Human Movement Science, 57, 194–204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2017.12.005. *.
Maly, T., Sugimoto, D., Izovska, J., Zahalka, F., & Mala, L. (2018). Effect of muscular strength, asymmetries and fatigue on kicking performance in soccer players. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(4), 297–303. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0043-123648. *.
Manfredini Baroni, B., Joner Wiest, M., Abeche Generosi, R., Vaz, A. M., & Pinto Leal Junior, E. C. (2011). Effect of muscle fatigue on posture control in soccer players during the short-pass movement. Brazilian Journal of Kineanthropometry & Human Performance, 13(5), 348–353. *.
McKay, A. K. A., Stellingwerff, T., Smith, E. S., Martin, D. T., Mujika, I., Goosey-Tolfrey, V. L., Sheppard, J., & Burke, L. M. (2022). Defining training and performance caliber: a participant classification framework. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 17(2), 317–331. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2021-0451.
McLean, S., Kerhervé, H. A., Stevens, N., & Salmon, P. M. (2021). A Systems analysis critique of sport-science research. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 16(10), 1385–1392. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2020-0934.
McMorris, T. (2005). Acquisition and Performance of Sports Skills. Wiley.
Menuchi, M. R. T. P., Moro, A. R. P., Ambrosio, P. E., Pariente, C. A. B., & Araujo, D. (2018). Effects of spatiotemporal constraints and age on the interactions of soccer players when competing for ball possession. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 17(3), 379–391. *.
Middlemas, S., & Harwood, C. (2019). A pre-match video self-modeling intervention in elite youth football. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 32(5), 450–475. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2019.1590481. *.
Moniz, F., Scaglia, A., Sarmento, H., Garcia-Calvo, T., & Teoldo, I. (2020). Effect of an inside floater on soccer players tactical behaviour in small sided and conditioned games. Journal of Human Kinetics, 71(1), 167–177. https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2019-0080. *.
Moreira, A., Saldanha Aoki, M., Carling, C., Rodrigues Lopes, A. R., Schultz de Arruda, F. A., Lima, M., Correa, C. U., & Bradley, P. S. (2016). Temporal changes in technical and physical performances during a small-sided game in elite youth soccer players. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 7(4), e35411. https://doi.org/10.5812/asjsm.35411. *.
Munn, Z., Peters, M. D. J., Stern, C., Tufanaru, C., McArthur, A., & Aromataris, E. (2018). Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 18(1), 143. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-018-0611-x.
Munn, Z., Aromataris, E., Tufanaru, C., Stern, C., Porritt, K., Farrow, J., Lockwood, C., Stephenson, M., Moola, S., Lizarondo, L., McArthur, A., Peters, M., Pearson, A., & Jordan, Z. (2019). The development of software to support multiple systematic review types: the Joanna Briggs Institute System for the Unified Management, Assessment and Review of Information (JBI SUMARI). International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 17(1), 36–43. https://doi.org/10.1097/XEB.0000000000000152.
Murgia, M., Sors, F., Muroni, A. F., Santoro, I., Prpic, V., Galmonte, A., & Agostini, T. (2014). Using perceptual home-training to improve anticipation skills of soccer goalkeepers. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(6), 642–648. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.07.009. *.
Navarro, M., van der Kamp, J., Schor, P., & Savelsbergh, G. J. P. (2018). Implicit learning increases shot accuracy of football players when making strategic decisions during penalty kicking. Human Movement Science, 61, 72–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2018.07.004. *.
Newell, K. M. (2020). What are fundamental motor skills and what is fundamental about them? Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 8(2), 280–314. https://doi.org/10.1123/jmld.2020-0013.
Nunes, N. A., Goncalves, B., Davids, K., Esteves, P., & Travassos, B. (2020). How manipulation of playing area dimensions in ball possession games constrains physical effort and technical actions in under-11, under-15 and under-23 soccer players. Research in Sports Medicine, 29(2), 170–184. https://doi.org/10.1080/15438627.2020.1770760. *.
Nunes, N. A., Gonçalves, B., Roca, A., & Travassos, B. (2021a). Effects of numerical unbalance constraints on workload and tactical individual actions during ball possession small-sided soccer games across different age groups. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 21(3), 396–408. https://doi.org/10.1080/24748668.2021.1903249. *.
Nunes, N. A., Gonçalves, B., Fenner, J. S., Owen, A. L., & Travassos, B. (2021b). Exploration of the age-category soccer performance effects during ball possession small-sided games. Journal of Human Kinetics, 80(1), 251–262. *.
Nunez, J. F., Ona, A., Raya, A., & Bilbao, A. (2010). Effects of providing advance cues during a soccer penalty kick on the kicker’s rate of success. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 111(3), 749–760. https://doi.org/10.2466/05.24.25.PMS.111.6.749-760. *.
Olthof, S. B. H., Frencken, W. G. P., & Lemmink, K. A. P. M. (2017). Match-derived relative pitch area changes the physical and team tactical performance of elite soccer players in small-sided soccer games. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(14), 1557–1563. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2017.1403412. *.
Olthof, S. B. H., Frencken, W. G. P., & Lemmink, K. A. P. M. (2019). A match-derived relative pitch area facilitates the tactical representativeness of small-sided games for the official soccer match. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 33(2), 523–530. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002978. *.
Ometto, L., Vasconcellos, F. V., Cunha, F. A., Teoldo, I., Souza, C. R. B., Dutra, M. B., O’Sullivan, M., & Davids, K. (2018). How manipulating task constraints in small-sided and conditioned games shapes emergence of individual and collective tactical behaviours in football: a systematic review. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 13(6), 1200–1214. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747954118769183.
Owen, A. L., Wong, D. P., McKenna, M., & Dellal, A. (2011). Heart rate responses and technical comparison between small- vs. large-sided games in elite professional soccer. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(8), 2104–2110. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181f0a8a3. *.
Owen, A. L., Wong, D. P., Paul, D., & Dellal, A. (2014). Physical and technical comparisons between various-sided games within professional soccer. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(4), 286–292. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0033-1351333. *.
Padilha, B. M., Guilherme, J., Serra-Olivares, J., Roca, A., & Teoldo, I. (2017). The influence of floaters on players’ tactical behaviour in small-sided and conditioned soccer games. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 17(5), 721–736. https://doi.org/10.1080/24748668.2017.1390723. *.
Page, M. J., McKenzie, J. E., Bossuyt, P. M., Boutron, I., Hoffmann, T. C., Mulrow, C. D., Shamseer, L., Tetzlaff, J. M., Akl, E. A., Brennan, S. E., Chou, R., Glanville, J., Grimshaw, J. M., Hróbjartsson, A., Lalu, M. M., Li, T., Loder, E. W., Mayo-Wilson, E., McDonald, S., & Moher, D. (2021). The PRISMA 2020 statement: An updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews, 10(1), 89. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01626-4.
Passos, P., Milho, J., & Button, C. (2018). Quantifying synergies in two-versus-one situations in team sports: an example from Rugby Union. Behavior Research Methods, 50(2), 620–629. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-017-0889-3.
Pocock, C., Dicks, M., Thelwell, R. C., Chapman, M., & Barker, J. B. (2019). Using an imagery intervention to train visual exploratory activity in elite academy football players. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 31(2), 218–234. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2017.1395929. *.
Pol, R., Balagué, N., Ric, A., Torrents, C., Kiely, J., & Hristovski, R. (2020). Training or synergizing? Complex systems principles change the understanding of sport processes. Sports Medicine—Open, 6(28), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-020-00256-9.
Praça, G. M., Chagas, M. H., Bredt, S. G. T., Andrade, A. G. P., Custódio, I. J. O., & Rochael, M. (2020). The influence of the offside rule on players’ positional dynamics in soccer small-sided games. Science and Medicine in Football, 5(2), 144–149. https://doi.org/10.1080/24733938.2020.1819559. *.
Praça, G. M., Andrade, A. G. P., Bredt, & da Moura Moreira, S. G. T. F. A. P. E. D. (2021). Progression to the target vs. regular rules in soccer small-sided games. Science & Medicine in Football, 6(1), 66–71. *.
Raastad, O., Aune, T. K., & van den Tillaar, R. (2016). Effect of practicing soccer juggling with different sized balls upon performance, retention, and transfer to ball reception. Motor Control, 20(4), 337–349. https://doi.org/10.1123/mc.2015-0026. *.
Rampinini, E., Impellizzeri, F. M., Castagna, C., Azzalin, A., Bravo, D. F., & Wisloff, U. (2008). Effect of match-related fatigue on short-passing ability in young soccer players. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 40(5), 934–942. *.
Renshaw, I., & Chow, J.-Y. (2019). A constraint-led approach to sport and physical education pedagogy. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 24(2), 103–116. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2018.1552676.
Renshaw, I., Chow, J. Y., Davids, K., & Hammond, J. (2010). A constraints-led perspective to understanding skill acquisition and game play: a basis for integration of motor learning theory and physical education praxis? Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 15(2), 117–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408980902791586.
Renshaw, I., Araújo, D., Button, C., Chow, J. Y., Davids, K., & Moy, B. (2015). Why the constraints-led approach is not teaching games for understanding: a clarification. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 21(5), 459–480. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2015.1095870.
Ric, A., Hristovski, R., Gonçalves, B., Torres, L., Sampaio, J., & Torrents, C. (2016). Timescales for exploratory tactical behaviour in football small-sided games. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(18), 1723–1730. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2015.1136068. *.
Ric, A., Torrents, C., Goncalves, B., Torres-Ronda, L., Sampaio, J., & Hristovski, R. (2017). Dynamics of tactical behaviour in association football when manipulating players’ space of interaction. PLoS ONE, 12(7), e180773. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180773. *.
Roberts, S. J., Rudd, J. R., & Reeves, M. J. (2019). Efficacy of using non-linear pedagogy to support attacking players’ individual learning objectives in elite-youth football: A randomised cross-over trial. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38(11–12), 1454–1464. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2019.1609894. *.
Rösch, D., Hodgson, R., Peterson, L., Graf-Baumann, T., Junge, A., Chomiak, J., & Dvorak, J. (2000). Assessment and evaluation of football performance. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 28(5_suppl), 29–39. https://doi.org/10.1177/28.suppl_5.s-29.
Russell, M., Benton, D., & Kingsley, M. (2011). The effects of fatigue on soccer skills performed during a soccer match simulation. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 6(2), 221–233. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.6.2.221. *.
Saez de Villarreal, E., Suarez-Arrones, L., Requena, B., Haff, G. G., & Ferrete, C. (2015). Effects of plyometric and sprint training on physical and technical skill performance in adolescent soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(7), 1894–1903. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000000838. *.
Sanchez-Sanchez, J., Hernández, D., Casamichana, D., Martínez-Salazar, C., Ramirez-Campillo, R., & Sampaio, J. (2017). Heart rate, technical performance, and session-rpe in elite youth soccer small-sided games played with wildcard players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(10), 2678–2685. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001736. *.
Santos, S., Coutinho, D., Goncalves, B., Schöllhorn, W., Sampaio, J., & Leite, N. (2018). Differential learning as a key training approach to improve creative and tactical behavior in soccer. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 89(1), 11–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2017.1412063.
Schmidt, R. A. (1975). A schema theory of discrete motor skill learning. Psychological Review, 82(4), 225–260. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0076770.
Schöllhorn, W. I., Hegen, P., & Davids, K. (2012). The nonlinear nature of learning—A Differential learning approach. The Open Sports Sciences Journal, 5(1), 100–112. https://doi.org/10.2174/1875399X01205010100.
Schwab, S., Rein, R., & Memmert, D. (2019). “Kick it like Ronaldo”: A cross-sectional study of focus of attention effects during learning of a soccer knuckle ball free kick technique. German Journal of Exercise and Sport Research, 49(1), 91–96. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12662-018-0558-4.
Seif-Barghi, T., Kordi, R., Memari, A.-H., Mansournia, M.-A., & Jalali-Ghomi, M. (2012). The effect of an ecological imagery program on soccer performance of elite players. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 3(2), 81–89. https://doi.org/10.5812/asjsm.34703. *.
Selmi, O., Marzouki, H., Ouergui, I., BenKhalifa, W., & Bouassida, A. (2018). Influence of intense training cycle and psychometric status on technical and physiological aspects performed during the small-sided games in soccer players. Research in Sports Medicine, 26(4), 401–412. https://doi.org/10.1080/15438627.2018.1492398. *.
da Silva, D., Afonso, J., Augusto, D., Petiot, G., Martins, C., & Vasconcellos, F. (2022). Influence of pre-induced mental fatigue on tactical behaviour and performance among young elite football players. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2022.2084765. *.
Silva, P., Garganta, J., Araújo, D., Davids, K., & Aguiar, P. (2013). Shared knowledge or shared affordances? Insights from an Ecological dynamics approach to team coordination in sports. Sports Medicine, 43(9), 765–772. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0070-9.
Silva, P., Aguiar, P., Duarte, R., Davids, K., Araújo, D., & Garganta, J. (2014a). Effects of pitch size and skill level on tactical behaviours of association football players during small-sided and conditioned games. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 9(5), 993–1006. https://doi.org/10.1260/1747-95126.96.36.1993. *.
Silva, P., Duarte, R., Sampaio, J., Aguiar, P., Davids, K., Araujo, D., & Garganta, J. (2014b). Field dimension and skill level constrain team tactical behaviours in small-sided and conditioned games in football. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32(20), 1888–1896. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2014.961950. *.
Silva, P., Travassos, B., Vilar, L., Aguiar, P., Davids, K., Araujo, D., & Garganta, J. (2014c). Numerical relations and skill level constrain co-adaptive behaviors of agents in sports teams. Plos One, 9(9), e107112. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107112. *.
Sommer, M., Häger, C. K., Boraxbekk, C. J., & Rönnqvist, L. (2018). Timing training in female soccer players: effects on skilled movement performance and brain responses. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00311. *.
Tassignon, B., Verschueren, J., Baeyens, J.-P., Benjaminse, A., Gokeler, A., Serrien, B., & Clijsen, R. (2021). An exploratory meta-analytic review on the empirical evidence of Differential learning as an enhanced motor learning method. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.533033.
Torrents, C., Ric, A., Hristovski, R., Torres-Ronda, L., Vicente, E., & Sampaio, J. (2016). Emergence of exploratory, technical and tactical behavior in small-sided soccer games when manipulating the number of teammates and opponents. Plos One, 11(12), e168866. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0168866. *.
Tricco, A. C., Lillie, E., Zarin, W., O’Brien, K. K., Colquhoun, H., Levac, D., Moher, D., Peters, M. D. J., Horsley, T., Weeks, L., Hempel, S., Akl, E. A., Chang, C., McGowan, J., Stewart, L., Hartling, L., Aldcroft, A., Wilson, M. G., Garritty, C., & Straus, S. E. (2018). PRISMA extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and explanation. Annals of Internal Medicine, 169(7), 467–473. https://doi.org/10.7326/M18-0850.
UEFA (2017). UEFA women’s football across the national associations 2017. https://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/OfficialDocument/uefaorg/Women%27sfootball/02/51/60/57/2516057_DOWNLOAD.pdf. Accessed 13 January 2020.
Vaughan, J., Mallett, C. J., Potrac, P., López-Felip, M. A., & Davids, K. (2021). Football, culture, skill development and sport coaching: extending ecological approaches in athlete development using the Skilled intentionality framework. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 635420. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.635420.
Weigelt, C., Williams, A. M., Wingrove, T., & Scott, M. A. (2000). Transfer and motor skill learning in association football. Ergonomics, 43(10), 1698–1707. https://doi.org/10.1080/001401300750004104.
West, J. (2018). A review of the key demands for a football goalkeeper. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 13(6), 1215–1222. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747954118787493.
The authors thank the professor and two information scientists for their important help in developing the full search. This review is part of JS’s PhD project.
There was no direct funding for this research. During the conduction of this study, JS was supported by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation research grant (00180336).
Conflict of interest
J. Sarajärvi, R. Freitas, M. Elovaara and A. Volossovitch declare that they have no competing interests.
For this article no studies with human participants or animals were performed by any of the authors. All studies mentioned were in accordance with the ethical standards indicated in each case.
Data Availability Statement
The data mentioned in the article is available in the article/supplementary material. The study protocol and PRISMA-ScR checklist (Tricco et al., 2018) can be found in the corresponding project (osf.io/87jeb) in Open Science Framework. Other details are available upon request.
About this article
Cite this article
Sarajärvi, J., Freitas, R., Elovaara, M. et al. Skill-related studies from youth to high-performance football: a scoping review. Ger J Exerc Sport Res (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12662-023-00910-w