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A Comparison of Individual and Unit Tactical Behaviour and Team Strategy in Professional Soccer

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Individual player and positional unit tactical behaviours were assessed and compared to team strategy within a professional soccer team. Twenty-two matches were sampled from the 2003–04 domestic season of the British Nationwide League team and notated post-event. Tactical behaviours were measured through a combination of technical and spatial indicators relating to the performance of on the ball behaviours. Chi-square analyses highlighted distinct individual and unit tactical behaviours indicative of role-specific responsibilities. Qualitative and quantitative assessment of overall team strategy indicated an attacking bias through the right side of the pitch and a corresponding defensive weakness on the left. Similarities were also observed between the tactical behaviours of individuals, their respective units and team strategy. The findings of the present study provide detailed information regarding the measurement of tactical behaviour in soccer and supply a methodology for researchers to consider more accurately the contribution of individuals and their respective units to team performance. They also suggest the demands on soccer players are multi-levelled and may lead to conflicting individual and positional roles.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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