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Behavioural comparisons of positional demands in professional soccer.


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The aim of this study was to construct valid positional performance profiles for soccer players from a professional British team. Twenty-two league and cup matches were sampled over a domestic season and observed post-event via a computerised behavioural analysis system. Using a series of performance indicators, validated by coaches and researchers, behavioural and performance profiles were constructed for the playing positions of fullback, centre back, midfield and forward. Analysis showed that although significant differences existed in the frequencies of behaviours performed between each of the playing positions some similarities were apparent when the outcomes of these behaviours were considered. Significant differences were also found within intra-positional behavioural and performance profiles. The findings suggest that while there are differing technical demands to each playing position mere analysis of mean inter-positional profiles hide the subtleties of individual player performance. The use of intra-positional profiles allows individual player strengths and weaknesses to be analysed together with some identification of specific roles. The findings are discussed with regard to team strategy, scouting and player selection.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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