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This study examined the anticipation responses of twenty skilled youth players who were assigned to either a change of direction (CODG) or small-sided games group (SSGG). Action capabilities were assessed via a countermovement vertical jump (CMVJ), 20 m sprint, 5 m acceleration and arrowhead change of direction (COD) test. Anticipation was measured via a soccer-specific anticipation test (SSAT), which required participants to anticipate the actions of an opposing player and intercept a pass. Pre- and post-intervention testing procedures were identical for both groups. Following training there was an overall improvement in CMVJ performance (p < .05, r = .52) for both training groups and this improvement was correlated with movement initiation in the SSAT (r = .61, p < .05). The novel findings of this study highlight that different training modes can potentially have a positive impact on anticipation performance. Further investigation focussing on an examination of the relationship between training, anticipation, and action capabilities in sport is warranted for the development of research and applied perspectives in expertise.
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