The aim of the study was to explore whether a relationship exists between balance performance and basic soccer skills. To this end, participants (N=263) divided over three age-groups, 11-12 (GR1), 13-14 (GR2), 15-16 (GR3) years of age, performed three balance tasks (i.e., walking forward (WF) and walking backward (WB) on a balance beam, and single leg standing balance (SLB)) and three soccer tasks (i.e., kicking on target (Aim), passing (Pass) and dribbling (Dribble)). The age groups showed different task scores. In addition, significant correlations were found between WF and Aim, and WF and Dribble within GR1; between SLB and Dribble in GR2; and between WF and Dribble, WB and Dribble, WB and Aim in GR3. It is concluded that relationships between balance performance and basic soccer skill exists in youth players between 10 and 16 years of age. The prospects of using balance performance as one of the indicators for identifying young soccer talents are discussed.
- Talent development