Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A case study comparison of objective and subjective evaluation methods of physical qualities in youth soccer players

Dugdale, James H.; Sanders, Dajo; Myers, Tony; Williams, A. Mark; Hunter, Angus M.


Dajo Sanders

Tony Myers

A. Mark Williams

Angus M. Hunter


Subjective and objective assessments may be used congruently when making decisions regarding player recruitment in soccer, yet there have been few attempts to examine the level of agreement between these methods. Therefore, we compare levels of agreement between subjective and objective assessments of physical qualities associated with youth soccer performance. In total, 80 male youth soccer players (13.2 ± 1.9 years), and 12 professional coaches volunteered to participate. Players were objectively assessed using five fitness measures: Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1; Countermovement vertical jump; Functional Movement Screen™; 5/20 m sprint; alongside anthropometric measures. Additionally, coaches subjectively rated each player on the same five physical qualities using 5-point Likert scales. Inter-rater agreement between ratings from lead and assistant coaches was established for each age group. Moreover, Bayesian regression models were fitted to determine how well coach ratings were able to predict fitness test performance. Although inter-rater agreement between lead and assistant coaches was moderate-to-substantial (ω = 0.48–0.68), relationships between coaches subjective rating’s and corresponding fitness test performance were only highly related for the highest and lowest performing players. We suggest that while ratings derived from objective and subjective assessment methods may be related when attempting to differentiate between distinct populations, concerns exist when evaluating homogeneous samples using these methods. Our data highlight the benefits of using both types of measures in the talent identification process.


Dugdale, J. H., Sanders, D., Myers, T., Williams, A. M., & Hunter, A. M. (2020). A case study comparison of objective and subjective evaluation methods of physical qualities in youth soccer players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38(11-12), 1304-1312.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 30, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 13, 2020
Publication Date Jun 17, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 2, 2022
Journal Journal of Sports Sciences
Print ISSN 0264-0414
Electronic ISSN 1466-447X
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 11-12
Pages 1304-1312
Keywords Coach ratings, fitness testing, talent identification, perception, adolescent
Public URL