Knowing what to do and doing it: Differences in self-assessed tactical skills of regional, sub-elite, and elite youth field hockey players
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To determine whether youth athletes with an "average" (regional), "high" (sub-elite), and "very high" (elite) level of performance differ with respect to their self-assessed tactical skills, 191 youth field hockey players (mean age 15.5 years, s = 1.6) completed the Tactical Skills Inventory for Sports (TACSIS) with scales for declarative ("knowing what to do") and procedural ("doing it") knowledge. Multivariate analyses of covariance with age as covariate showed that elite and sub-elite players outscored regional players on all tactical skills (P < 0.05), whereas elite players had better scores than sub-elite players on "positioning and deciding" (P < 0.05) only. The sex of the athletes had no influence on the scores (P > 0.05). With increasing level of performance, scores on declarative and procedural knowledge were higher. Close to expert performance, declarative knowledge no longer differentiated between elite and sub-elite players (P > 0.05), in contrast to an aspect of procedural knowledge (i.e. positioning and deciding), where elite players outscored sub-elite players (P < 0.05). These results may have implications for the development of talented athletes.
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