New sport science app changes game for youth football in Scotland

A development platform aimed at grassroots youth football clubs has launched a new tool that will bring professional sports science to local teams across the country.

By Jacob Farr
Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 2:10 pm
A game of grassroots football
A game of grassroots football

Soccer PDP, the name given to the platform, was built from scientific research conducted at the University of Stirling and provides a cost-effective and elite level academy infrastructure through the platform.The hope is that it will give clubs developing athletes the opportunity to benefit from techniques and support previously accessible only to sporting professionals.

The tool utilises a multidisciplinary approach, with the web-based software platform being used to monitor and progress the development of footballers in four key areas: skills and technique; strength and conditioning; nutrition, and psychology.

And through partnering with experts in each of these fields, the creators have developed standardised tests within each area, which are constantly refined and reviewed in line with the latest scientific theory and practice.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Dr James Dugdale, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Stirling and developer of Soccer PDP, said: “Despite grassroots clubs representing such a prominent segment of Scottish football, coaches and clubs have very limited access to science when selecting and developing players. For instance, the techniques that a club in Edinburgh use to develop a young defender may differ greatly from the techniques used by a team in Aberdeen.

“By incorporating technical, physiological, nutritional and psychological pillars into our platform, we are taking an inclusive but standardised approach to football practice. It’s about empowering coaches with the resources they need to progress their teams, and supporting players in their footballing journey.”

The academy has launched pilot projects with teams in Braehead and Bonnyrigg, which have been well-received by players and coaches.

Danny Burnett, Head coach of Bonnyrigg under 13’s, said: “What it does is give coaches useful information whether it is for development or recovery. It has been very beneficial for us to use and so long as you understand the data then it is a huge asset.“The guys at Soccer PDP are also extremely helpful if you have any issues or questions and are really approachable. They are changing the game for grassroots youth football.”

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.