Woods, C. T., Joyce, C., & Robertson, S. (2015). What are talent scouts actually identifying? Investigating the physical and technical skill match activity profiles of drafted and non-drafted U18 Australian footballers. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Early View (Online First).
Objective: To compare the physical and technical skill match activity profiles of drafted and non-drafted under 18 (U18) Australian football (AF) players.
Design: Cross-sectional observational.
Methods: In-game physical and skill variables were assessed for U18 AF players participating within the 2013 and 2014 National U18 AFL Championships. Players originated from one State Academy (n = 55). Ten games were analysed; resulting in 183 observations. Players were sub-divided into two groups; drafted / non-drafted. Microtechnology and a commercial statistical provider allowed the quantification of total distance (m), relative distance (m.min-1), high speed running distance (> 15km.hr-1), high speed running expressed as a percentage of total distance (% total), total disposals, marks, contested possessions, uncontested possessions, inside 50’s and rebound 50’s (n = 10). The effect size (d) of draft outcome on these criterion variables was calculated, with generalised estimating equations (GEE’s) used to model which of these criterion variables was associated with draft outcome.
Results: Contested possessions and inside 50’s reflected large effect size differences between groups (d = 1.01, d = 0.92, respectively). The GEE models revealed contested possessions as the strongest predictor of draft outcome, with inside 50’s being the second. Comparatively, the remaining criterion variables were not predictive of draft outcome.
Conclusions: Contested possessions and inside 50’s are the most influential in-game variables associated with draft outcome for West Australian players competing within the National U18 AFL Championships. Technically skilled players who win contested possessions and deliver the ball inside 50 may be advantageously positioned for draft success.
talent identification, talent selection, predictive modelling, GPS, notational analytics