Elite Football Academies are multi-million-pound organisations focused on optimising youth player athletic development and the transition to first team squad players. There are currently in excess of 50 elite football academies, including Premier League Academies, Football League Academies, and Centres of Excellence respectively. If elite youth footballers are to progress, survive, and thrive in the adult professional game, they must develop their functional athletic capacity and competence to the levels required for first team players.
Assessment of functional competence provides a foundation for the progression of athletic programs tailored to develop strength and power essential for elite level, injury-free performance and career longevity.
Dr Lara Coyne (Insight/NUI Galway/Arsenal PhD) carried out a study in conjunction with Arsenal Football Club to compare a marker-based motion capture systems, the laboratory based gold standard of biomechanical movement assessment, which uses reflective markers placed on anatomical points to infer bone movement to a novel markerless motion capture system. This new technology if deemed reliable could bridge the difficulty of quantitatively assessing movement quality in elite academy footballers and ultimately have wider scope in the general population.