Developmental activities and perceptions of challenge for National and Varsity women soccer players in Canada

MSL research field: 
TitleDevelopmental activities and perceptions of challenge for National and Varsity women soccer players in Canada
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHendry, DT, Williams, MA, Ford, PR, Hodges, NJ
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Start Page201
Pagination210 - 218
Date Published07/2019
KeywordsDevelopment, Expertise, Football, practice, Skill, Talent

Objectives Our aim was to assess the developmental activities that best define elite players in female soccer in one of the top nations for female soccer in the world. In addition to measurement of career practice hours in soccer and other sports, we quantified hours engaged in activities judged high in challenge. Design and Methods Adult National-team (n = 21) and lesser-skilled Varsity (n = 24) female soccer players in Canada provided career estimates of hours in soccer and other sports during childhood and adolescence. Subjective ratings of challenge were provided for each activity across development, providing an indication of practice quality. Results Both groups engaged in more coach-led soccer activities (practice, competition) than soccer play and spent the majority of their time in childhood in soccer compared to other sports. National players participated in more play that was more challenging and engaged in more moderate to high challenge practice, when compared to Varsity players. Conclusions The importance of early engagement in soccer specific developmental activities for elite female soccer players in Canada was highlighted, as previously reported in male players. However, hours in soccer play during childhood were low in both groups and were lower than estimates from male players. Although the data do not fit squarely with any one pathway, they are mostly consistent with an early specialization route.

Short TitlePsychology of Sport and Exercise
Refereed DesignationRefereed
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