Journal Article Analysis

Summary

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In their article Youth Soccer: From Science to Performance, Reilly, Richardson, Stratton and Williams talk about the interface between science and the sport of soccer. The article discusses the role pediatrics plays in soccer, especially the impact it has on the adolescent soccer players. The authors argue that sports scouting does not have a clear outline that is aimed at helping identify young talents. It is the aim of the coaches and the scouts to choose the best set of skills that the young soccer players should have. They discuss not the process of scouting, but the process of employing science in helping youthful players to develop. They also provide the information on formation and establishment of such global bodies as World Congress of Science and Football, which involve both soccer and science experts.

Context

The article provides pieces of advice, rules and regulations on how soccer training ought to be done, especially in regard to youthful players to help them enhance their talent. The article also points the fact that in the recent years, the methods of determining the fitness levels of players have increased in sophistication and accuracy. There are different types of equipment for training and measurement of fitness customized for players of different ages and physique. This therefore means that youthful players are not subjected to the use of training equipment that may harm their development as professional players.

It is really important for the coaching and medical staff of soccer clubs and the national teams to employ science in their training, especially trainings of the youth. There are numerous examples of the skilled youth players who became exhausted rather early in life, and it is a pressing problem that should be avoided by soccer managers at the early stages. The practice that most soccer managers use is that of giving youthful players less playing time as it eases their way into the first team. The danger of giving full game time to youthful players with the intensity of such leagues as the Premier League is that they may become exhausted earlier in life and hence fail to realize their full potential.

It is therefore a common practice among most managers in the developed leagues to give their youthful players less game time as compared to the elder ones. This is not discrimination, but rather an attempt to expose the youthful players less to fatigue and injuries. Given that these youthful players are always full of flair, their risk of receiving serious injuries is high. They are therefore expected to play fewer games than the rest of the members so that they learn from their senior professionals and become more experienced. It is clear that soccer needs more than just talent. It entails mastery of tactic and the experience of the game.

Health and body fitness is essential for a soccer player. Such common soccer injuries as calf and hamstring tear or the groin injury are usually avoided by proper exercise and body fitness. Other injuries are better avoided by the playing style. A person who is fully fit can play at their best level since they are able to react quickly in dangerous situations to avoid injuries. On the other hand, a person who is unfit lacks confidence and is slow to react. Therefore, one should note that though the diet of soccer players is usually similar, the ration of the youthful soccer players should be quite different. They have a higher metabolic rate than the older players do. Therefore, they should eat more energy giving foods and do much gymnastics in order to gain muscle weight since soccer is a physical game to some point.

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As a coach at a university, I interact with both teenage and adult players. I realize that the article is important as it can positively influence the decisions I make in training and concerning game tactics. Based on the biodata provided by the players, I should be able to determine the training schedules and dietary needs of each player under my tutorship. I should also think about according young players less time on the field in order to help them develop both physically and psychologically.

Critique

This journal fails to cover information about the coaches administering certain diets that are uniform to all players irrespective of age. It also fails to explain why young players are sent on loan to other clubs where they get full game. Sometimes, the intensity of these games is higher than in their parent clubs. Most senior coaches of the Barclays Premier League or even the La Liga do practice the art of sending their young players on loan to other leagues where there is less intensity in order for them to gain experience. They do understand that though a player is skillful, he lacks experience to perform in accordance with the required standards of his league. In addition, getting injured in the highly physical BPL is almost a certainty for players with flair and skills that are a common set for youthful players. There is also a likelihood of players deceiving their real age. This makes it really difficult to assess the dietary and gym requirements for the players. The youthful players usually try to impress their coaches with flair and skills that make them more vulnerable to injuries. It is essential to note that a serious injury is likely to significantly reduce the performance of an individual and therefore to reduce his return to the sport.

Experience usually deals with the psychological aspect of a player. Youthful players may be full of instincts to evade challenges but then, since soccer is a team game and the opponents have the same instincts, more experienced players usually appear smarter than just the skilled ones. Therefore, soccer players just become better with time. Experience comes with composure, better instincts and discipline. Scholars note that cases of indiscipline are more prevalent among the youthful players than the older players. In other words, a youthful player may be easily provoked to earn his matching orders or a yellow card while a mature player would keep his composure as he deals with the situation. Provocation is usually a part of the game where the opponents try hard to reduce the number of the opponents. This is common when strong teams play with weaker ones.

In conclusion, the medical staff of most soccer teams tends to emphasize the physical health and fitness of their players because players need to perform at their best level in order to get guaranteed results. They suggest giving the young players few minutes of game time for them to acquaint themselves with the pitch condition, the opponents and the crowds. In this way, they develop both physically and mentally.

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