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Situation variable effects and tactical performance in professional association football

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The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of match location (i.e. home vs. away), match status (i.e. winning vs. drawing vs. losing) and competitive season (i.e. season one vs. season two) upon tactics-related performance indicators of a professional association football team. The Noldus Observer Video Pro 4.1 behavioural measurement package (Noldus Information Technology, 2002) was employed to observe and record relevant tactical information (i.e. pass incidence and spatial distribution of pass origins upon the pitch surface) from 47 pre-recorded matches sampled from two consecutive domestic league seasons (season one = 25 matches, season two = 22 matches). Log-linear modelling procedures indicated that the occurrence of passes performed by the team varied as an interactive function of match location, match status and the competitive season. Distribution of passes across the pitch surface was also influenced by match location, match status and the competitive season but the effects were independent as opposed to interactive. The findings highlight the complex nature of football performance under differing contexts and outline the need for sports scientists and coaches working within football to consider the influence of situation variables upon tactical performance indicators. The presence of season associated effects also suggests care should be taken when extrapolating findings from one time period to another. Future research should examine alternative methods for assessing the impact of situation variables upon football performance and verify the extent to which the findings presented in the current study can be generalised to other teams and footballspecific populations (e.g. amateur, women and youths).


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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