Academic performance and self-regulatory skills in elite youth soccer players

Laura Jonker, Marije T Elferink-Gemser, Tynke T Toering, James Lyons, Chris Visscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although elite athletes have been reported to be high academic achievers, many elite soccer players struggle with a stereotype of being low academic achievers. The purpose of this study was to compare the academic level (pre-university or pre-vocational) and self-regulatory skills (planning, self-monitoring, evaluation, reflection, effort, and self-efficacy) of elite youth soccer players aged 12-16 years (n = 128) with those of 164 age-matched controls (typical students). The results demonstrate that the elite youth soccer players are more often enrolled in the pre-university academic system, which means that they are high academic achievers, compared with the typical student. The elite players also report an increased use of self-regulatory skills, in particular self-monitoring, evaluation, reflection, and effort. In addition, control students in the pre-university system had more highly developed self-regulatory skills than those in the pre-vocational system, whereas no difference was observed within the soccer population. This suggests that the relatively stronger self-regulatory skills reported by the elite youth soccer players may be essential for performance at the highest levels of sport competition and in academia. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1605-1614
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • achievement
  • adolescent
  • athletes
  • case-control studies
  • child
  • educational status
  • humans
  • male
  • schools
  • self concept
  • self efficacy
  • soccer
  • social control, informal


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