JOURNAL ARTICLE

Technical performance and match-to-match variation in elite football teams

Hongyou Liu, Miguel-Angel Gómez, Bruno Gonçalves, Jaime Sampaio
Journal of Sports Sciences 2016, 34 (6): 509-18
26613399
Recent research suggests that match-to-match variation adds important information to performance descriptors in team sports, as it helps measure how players fine-tune their tactical behaviours and technical actions to the extreme dynamical environments. The current study aims to identify the differences in technical performance of players from strong and weak teams and to explore match-to-match variation of players' technical match performance. Performance data of all the 380 matches of season 2012-2013 in the Spanish First Division Professional Football League were analysed. Twenty-one performance-related match actions and events were chosen as variables in the analyses. Players' technical performance profiles were established by unifying count values of each action or event of each player per match into the same scale. Means of these count values of players from Top3 and Bottom3 teams were compared and plotted into radar charts. Coefficient of variation of each match action or event within a player was calculated to represent his match-to-match variation of technical performance. Differences in the variation of technical performances of players across different match contexts (team and opposition strength, match outcome and match location) were compared. All the comparisons were achieved by the magnitude-based inferences. Results showed that technical performances differed between players of strong and weak teams from different perspectives across different field positions. Furthermore, the variation of the players' technical performance is affected by the match context, with effects from team and opposition strength greater than effects from match location and match outcome.

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