Practice, Instruction, and Skill Acquisition in Soccer: Challenging Tradition

Review by: William A. Harper
By Mark Williams and Nicola J. Hodges

The Big Idea

The Big Idea 

These authors celebrate growth of sport science over the years.  But their concern is that especially in the sport of soccer “sport science” is construed to mean the physiology of it all and little else.  In this research review light is thrown on the behavioural and social sciences as an example of the contribution to the larger world of the “sciences of sport.”

The subject of this study is the incredibly important scientific study of the what and how of learning soccer.  These scientists are focused on the conceptual and perceptual world of learning.  The trouble comes, they admit, when the question of evidence arises.  Measuring such functions as aerobic and anaerobic capacity and other fitness parameters or interventions is far more popular.  But simply because such measures exist and are plentiful does not mean they exhaust what we can learn and know.  As the saying goes, absence of evidence does not mean there is evidence of absence.