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Data from: General perceptual-cognitive abilities: age and position in soccer

Cite this dataset

Schumacher, Nils; Schmidt, Mike; Wellmann, Kai; Braumann, Klaus-Michael (2019). Data from: General perceptual-cognitive abilities: age and position in soccer [Dataset]. Dryad.


Various studies suggest the importance of sport-specific cognitive and perceptual abilities in soccer. However, the role of general perceptual-cognitive abilities and the relation of age respective to position have not been clarified for soccer in detail. Therefore, it was the objective of the present study to determine the relation of age and position to general perceptual-cognitive abilities. 178 highly talented male soccer players (mean age 16.2, age range 10 to 33 years) were involved. The participants performed computer-based sustained attention and anticipation (using Vienna Test System) tests. 139 subjects (mean age 16.6) took part in visual and acoustic reaction tests (using Talent Diagnostic System). The soccer players, subdivided into age and position groups, were recruited from a youth academy of a professional soccer club and played at the highest and 2nd highest national soccer competition for their age. Group differences were tested using analysis of variance. Correlations were analyzed for age and abilities. Significant correlations and group differences were found for age and sustained attention tasks. Significant differences for position groups were observed with regard to acoustic reaction time (ART). Further, we found statistical tendencies for group differences regarding the visual reaction time (VRT), indicating that midfielders outperform defenders and strikers in simple reaction tasks. Improved skills in sustained attention tasks resulted for defenders, who worked faster and more precisely in figural tasks. Regarding general anticipation tasks differences were not found. No group differences were found in basic anticipation tasks. Our study indicates that additional research is needed to further clarify the development of general perceptual-cognitive abilities and position-specific differences in the above abilities of highly talented soccer players.

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