Talent identification tests used at the Australian Football League’s National Draft Combine assess the capacities of athletes to compete at a professional level. Tests created for the National Draft Combine are also commonly used for talent identification and athlete development in development pathways. The skills tests created by the Australian Football League required players to either handball (striking the ball with the hand) or kick to a series of 6 randomly generated targets. Assessors subjectively rate each skill execution giving a 0-5 score for each disposal. This study aimed to investigate the inter-rater reliability and validity of the skills tests at an adolescent sub-elite level. Male Australian footballers were recruited from sub-elite adolescent teams (n=121, age=15.7 ± 0.3 years, height=1.77 ± 0.07 m, mass=69.17 ± 8.08 kg). The coaches (n=7) of each team were also recruited. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using Inter-class correlations (ICC) and Limits of Agreement analysis. Both the kicking (ICC=0.96, P<0.01) and handball tests (ICC=0.89, P<0.01) demonstrated strong reliability and acceptable levels of absolute agreement. Content validity was determined by examining test scores sensitivity to laterality and distance. Concurrent validity was assessed by comparing coaches’ perceptions of skill to actual test outcomes. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) examined the main effect of laterality, with scores on the dominant hand (P=0.04) and foot (P<0.01) significantly higher compared to the non-dominant side. Follow-up univariate analysis showing significant differences at every distance in the kicking test. A poor correlation was found between coaches’ perceptions of skill and testing outcomes. The results of this study demonstrate both skill tests demonstrate acceptable inter-rater reliable. Partial content validity was confirmed for the kicking test, however further research is required to confirm validity of the handball test.


talent identification, skills test, coaches perceptions

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