This study aimed to analyze the technical and tactical aspects of young athletes during official taekwondo competitions. Fifty-nine youth taekwondo athletes (43 boys and 16 girls; age range: 10-12 years; weight category range: <l24 to >59 kg) with at least 2 years of taekwondo training consisting of three 90-minute training sessions for 3 d wk-1 participated in this study. Thirty-seven matches (three 1-minute rounds, with 1-minute rest in between) were analyzed to verify the differences (p ≤ 0.05) in offensive and defensive actions in relation to gender (male, female), match outcome (winners, nonwinners), kicking leg (front, rear), and round (first, second, third). No difference emerged for gender and match outcome.With respect to defensive actions (8.4 ± 12.0%), youth athletes engaged more frequently (p < 0.0001) in offensive actions (91.6 ± 12.0%), which showed a significant decrease (p < 0.016) from the first round (42.3 ± 21.8%) to the second (33.1 ± 14.8%) and third (24.5 ± 16.0%) ones. Kicks performed with the rear leg (94.4 ± 7.8%) occurred more frequently (p < 0.0001) than those performed with the front leg (5.6 ± 7.8%). In considering that a high level of coordination is required to perform front-leg kicks and defensive actions necessitate a high level of tactical skills, these findings might indicate a not-yet complete attainment of fundamental coordinative capabilities in 10- to 12-year-old athletes, independently of match outcome. To enhance coordination capabilities in youth athletes, coaches are recommended to structure their training including skill-ability and sport-ability drills.
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