Tactical awareness, decision making and skill in youth soccer players (under-14 years)


  • Sixto González-Víllora University of Castilla-la Mancha, Spain
  • Luis Miguel García-López University of Castilla la Mancha, Spain
  • David Gutiérrez-Díaz University of Castilla la Mancha, Spain
  • Juan Carlos Pastor-Vicedo University of Castilla la Mancha, Spain




Decision making, Sport skill, Soccer, Football, Youth players, Ecological dynamics


The purpose of this study is to assess the technical-tactical knowledge of high performance soccer players. The sport performance of sixteen 14-year-olds who play for the Spanish soccer club Albacete Balompie was analysed in a modified game as “seven-a-side match” using video assessment (Game Performance Evaluation Tool, GPET), this tool evaluates decision making and execution: control, dribbling, passing, shooting, getting free, set, marking, clearance, tackling, locking, trapping/interception, and defence help/double teaming. The players were interviewed twice to ascertain their basic knowledge. In the first interview they were asked about their knowledge of invasion games, taking soccer as a reference. In the second interview their procedural knowledge was analysed using video sequences of real game play from a “seven-a-side match”. The results revealed that players acquired game performance (decision-making and execution) before specific game knowledge. They also performed better in response selection than response execution, and showed a greater command of offensive play and individual aspects of the game, both in terms of knowledge and game situations.


Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-la Mancha. Título del proyecto subvencionado, , “La formación táctica en la edad escolar, análisis evolutivo, herramientas para su medición y desarrollo de un programa de formación”.


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How to Cite

González-Víllora, S., García-López, L. M., Gutiérrez-Díaz, D., & Pastor-Vicedo, J. C. (2013). Tactical awareness, decision making and skill in youth soccer players (under-14 years). Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 8(2), 412–426. https://doi.org/10.4100/jhse.2012.82.09



Physical Education / Children & Exercise