Visual search strategy of soccer players according to different age groups

<div><p>Abstract AIMS The aim of this study was to assess the visual search strategy of soccer players from different age groups. METHODS The sample comprised 51 youth soccer players. The instrument used to collect and analyse data was the Mobile Eye. This system is used to verify gaze behaviour through visual focus. Players were grouped according to their age group: U-13 (17), U-15 (17), U-17 (17). Participants were presented with a video based test. Visual search stimuli were grouped into five categories: “player in possession of the ball”; “ball”; “teammates”; “opponent”; “space”. The number and time of fixations made by players, in each stimuli category was analysed. One-way ANOVA was performed to compare the three groups. RESULTS Results displayed significant differences in one of the categories. The “space” category displayed significant differences in the number of fixations between U-13 (74.35±12.41) compared to U-15 (58.78±14.22) and U-17 (61.88±16.44) soccer players. No other significant differences were found in other categories. CONCLUSION The U-13 players employed most of their visual search related with “space” compared with players from the U-15 and U-17 age groups. These findings are important for coaches and researchers to understand how visual search strategy change according to age group.</p></div>