Comparing possession characteristics between 12, 15 and 18 a side games in junior Australian footballers

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The purpose of this investigation was to compare the effects of altering the number of players during ‘small sided games’ on the possession characteristics within a youth under10 football setting. Two modified ‘small sided game’ versions of 12 a side and 15 a side in accordance to the Australian Football League (AFL) junior match policy were used to compare against the 18 a side game used in a junior football association. Possession characteristics were coded using IPad installed with the application Dartfish Easy Tag across 4 game periods of 24 minutes for each game format. It was found that the additional players in the 18 a side version led to more tagged events on average, however, there was a decrease in the number of tagged actions per player compared to 12 a/side and 15 a/side. It was also observed that there were more possession characteristics for kicking and handballing per player during the 12 a/side and 15 a/side versions. The findings suggested that the 12 a side game version of Australian Football is more appropriate for under 10 than the 18 a side format, as it provides players with greater involvement and therefore potentially greater enjoyment, engagement, and technical game-based development. This uniquely aids player development, skill acquisition and participation levels in junior Australian footballers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • football
  • small sided
  • juniors
  • participation
  • player engagement


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