Coaches’ eye as a valid method to assess biological maturation in youth elite soccer
Consideration of maturity is recommended in the talent identification and development process. Skeletal age (SA), prediction of age of peak height velocity (APHV) and an estimation of biological maturation by coaches’ eye of 121 soccer players were compared. The SA of soccer players was 13.9 ± 1.1 years, and did not differ significantly from chronological age (CA). Agreement between the SA-CA classifications and APHV was 65.5%. Spearman rank-order correlation (rs) between maturity classifications was moderate, kappa (k) was 0.25. Agreement between SA-CA classifications and coaches’ eye was 73.9%. The rs between maturity classifications was strong, k was 0.48, which was better than the widely used APHV assessment. Therefore, estimations of experienced coaches seem to be an acceptable alternative method for classifying maturity in youth athletes.