Coach Mid-Season Replacement and Team Performance in Professional Soccer
The coaching carousel or turnover is an extreme but frequently occurring phenomenon in soccer. Among the reasons for firing a coach, the most common is the existence of a shock-effect: a new coach would be able to motivate the players better and therefore to improve results. Using data from the Spanish Soccer League during the seasons from 1997-1998 to 2006-2007, this paper investigates the relationship between team performance and coach change over time. The empirical analysis shows that the shock effect of a turnover has a positive impact on team performance in the short term. Results reveal no impact of coach turnover in the long term. The favourable short-term impact on team performance of a coach turnover is followed by continued gradual worsening of results. The turnover effect is non-existent when the comparison between the new coach and the old coach is done over 10, 15 or 20 matches before and after termination.
Ball Possession Strategies in Elite Soccer According to the Evolution of the Match-Score: the Influence of Situational Variables
In soccer, the ability to retain possession of the ball for prolonged periods of time has been suggested to be linked to success. The accuracy of this assertion was investigated by examining 380 matches involving Spanish League First Division teams during the 2008-2009 season. Possession of the ball, according to the status of the match (winning, drawing and losing), was recorded during the different matches using a multiple-camera match analysis system (Gecasport®). The results suggest that the best classified teams maintained a higher percentage of ball possession and that their pattern of play was more stable. The coefficient of variation, with respect to ball possession per match, was smaller for the best placed teams. Indeed, first placed F.C. Barcelona had the smallest coefficient of variation for possession time (8.4%), while bottom placed Recreativo showed the highest values with 17.1%. Linear regression analysis showed that possession strategies were influenced by situation variables. Team possession was greater when losing than when winning (p<0.01) or drawing (p<0.01), home teams enjoyed greater possession than visiting teams (p<0.01), and playing against strong opposition was associated with a reduction in time spent in possession (p<0.01). The findings indicate that strategies in soccer are influenced by situational variables and that teams alter their playing style accordingly during the match.
Performance in Team Sports: Identifying the Keys to Success in Soccer
The aim of this study was to identify specific performance indicators that discriminate the top clubs from the others based on significantly different pitch action performance in the Spanish Soccer League. All 380 games corresponding to the 2008-2009 season have been analyzed. The studied variables were divided into three groups related to goals scored (goals for, goals against, total shots, shots on goal, shooting accuracy, shots for a goal), offense (assists, crosses, offsides committed, fouls received, corners, ball possession) and defense (crosses against, offsides received, fouls committed, corners against, yellow cards, red cards). Data were analyzed performing a one-way ANOVA. Significant differences across sections of the league table were found for the following pitch actions: goals for, total shots, shots on goal, shots for a goal, assists and ball possession. The main findings of this study suggest that top teams had a higher average of goals for, total shots and shots on goal than middle and bottom teams (p<0.05). Bottom teams needed a higher number of shots for scoring a goal than the other groups of teams (p<0.05). Middle teams showed a lower value in assists and ball possession than top teams (p<0.05). In conclusion, this paper presents values that can be used as normative data to design and evaluate practices and competitions for peak performance soccer teams in a collective way.
Performance analysis in sport is used to investigate the performance of teams and players across differentsports. Research within this area, especially when focussing on the determinants of success, has grown rapidly in thelast few years. During this time, the role of a new concept, ‘situational variables’ has emerged. This term includes thedifferent game and situational conditions that may influence performance at a behavioural level. Given that soccer isdominated by strategic factors, it is reasonable to suggest that situational variables of match status (i.e. whether theteam is winning, losing or drawing), quality of opposition (strong or weak), and match location (i.e. playing at home oraway) may somehow influence the teams´ and players´ activities. These situational variables need to be analyzed indepth to understand their influence in team sports. The aim of this article was to examine the independent andinteractive effects of situational variables on physical performance in elite soccer. The view that professional soccerplayers regulate their physical efforts according to the specific demands of individual matches and periods of the game isoffered. In support of this argument results from recent studies are presented. Implications of this perspective for matchanalyst and coaches for evaluating performance are also considered.
Carlos Lago-Peñas, Joaquín Lago-Ballesteros and Ezequiel Rey
Differences in performance indicators between winning and losing teams in the UEFA Champions League
The aim of the present study was to identify performance indicators that discriminate winning teams from drawing and losing teams in the UEFA Champions League. All 288 matches played at the group stage in the 2007-2008, 2008-2009, and 2009-2010 seasons were analyzed. The game-related statistics gathered were: total shots, shots on goal, effectiveness, passes, successful passes, crosses, offsides committed and received, corners, ball possession, crosses against, fouls committed and received, corners against, yellow and red cards, venue, and quality of opposition. Data were analyzed performing a one-way ANOVA and a discriminant analysis. The results showed that winning teams had significantly higher average values that were for the following game statistics: total shots (p<0.01), shots on goal (p<0.01), effectiveness (p<0.01), passes (p<0.05), successful passes (p<0.05), and ball possession (p<0.05). Losing teams had significantly higher values in the variable yellow cards (p<0.01), and red cards (p<0.01). Discriminant analysis allowed to conclude the following: the variables that discriminate between winning, drawing and losing teams were the shots on goal, crosses, ball possession, venue and quality of opposition. Coaches and players should be aware of these different profiles in order to increase knowledge about game cognitive and motor solicitation and, therefore, to design and evaluate practices and competitions for soccer peak performance teams in a collective way.
Ezequiel Rey, Carlos Lago-Peñas, Luis Casáis and Joaquín Lago-Ballesteros
The Effect of Immediate Post-Training Active and Passive Recovery Interventions on Anaerobic Performance and Lower Limb Flexibility in Professional Soccer Players
The capacity to recover from intense training, competition and matches is considered an important determinant in soccer performance. At present, there is no consensus on the effect of post-training recovery interventions on subsequent training session. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of active (12 min submaximal running and 8 min of static stretching) and passive recovery (20 min sitting on a bench) interventions performed immediately after a training session on anaerobic performances (CMJ, 20 m sprint and Balsom agility test) and lower limb flexibility 24 h after the training. During two experimental sessions, 31 professional soccer players participated in a randomized fully controlled trial design. The first session was designed to evaluate the player's anaerobic performances and lower limb flexibility (pretest). After baseline measurements, participants performed a standardized soccer training during which heart rate and RPE were recorded to evaluate the training load. At the end of the training unit all players were randomly assigned to the active recovery group and the passive recovery group. A second experimental session was organized to obtain the posttest values. Players performed the same test, administered in the same order than in the first trial. No significant differences between groups were observed in heart rate and RPE. No significant effect due to recovery interventions was found on lower limb flexibility and anaerobic performances except CMJ that posttest value was significantly greater in the active recovery group than in the passive group (p < 0.05).
The aim of this study was to identify which variables were the best predictors of success in futsal ball possession when controlling for space and task related indicators, situational variables and the participation of the goalkeeper as a regular field player or not (5 vs. 4 or 4 vs. 4). The sample consisted of 326 situations of ball possession corresponding to 31 matches played by a team from the Spanish Futsal League during the 2010–2011, 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 seasons. Multidimensional qualitative data obtained from 10 ordered categorical variables were used. Data were analysed using chi-square analysis and multiple logistic regression analysis. Overall, the highest ball possession effectiveness was achieved when the goalkeeper participated as a regular field player (p<0.01), the duration of the ball possession was less than 10 s (p<0.01), the ball possession ended in the penalty area (p<0.01) and the defensive pressure was low (p<0.01). The information obtained on the relative effectiveness of offensive playing tactics can be used to improve team’s goal-scoring and goal preventing abilities.
Mohsen Shafizadeh, Marc Taylor and Carlos Lago Peñas
The purpose of this study was to examine the consistency of performance in successive matches for international soccer teams from Europe which qualified for the quarter final stage of EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. The eight teams that reached the quarter final stage and beyond were the sample teams for this time series analysis. The autocorrelation and cross-correlation functions were used to analyze the consistency of play and its association with the result of match in sixteen performance indicators of each team. The results of autocorrelation function showed that based on the number of consistent performance indicators, Spain and Italy demonstrated more consistency in successive matches in relation to other teams. This appears intuitive given that Spain played Italy in the final. However, it is arguable that other teams played at a higher performance levels at various parts of the competition, as opposed to performing consistently throughout the tournament. The results of the cross-correlation analysis showed that in relation to goal-related indicators, these had higher associations with the match results of Spain and France. In relation to the offensive-related indicators, France, England, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic and Spain showed a positive correlation with the match result. In relation to the defensive-related indicators, France, England, Greece and Portugal showed a positive correlation with match results. In conclusion, in an international soccer tournament, the successful teams displayed a greater degree of performance consistency across all indicators in comparison to their competitors who occasionally would show higher levels of performance in individual games, yet not consistently across the overall tournament. The authors therefore conclude that performance consistency is more significant in international tournament soccer, versus occasionally excelling in some metrics and indicators in particular games.
Javier Miñano-Espin, Luis Casáis, Carlos Lago-Peñas and Miguel Ángel Gómez-Ruano
Real Madrid was named as the best club of the 20th century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. The aim of this study was to compare if players from Real Madrid covered shorter distances than players from the opposing team. One hundred and forty-nine matches including league, cup and UEFA Champions League matches played by the Real Madrid were monitored during the 2001-2002 to the 2006-2007 seasons. Data from both teams (Real Madrid and the opponent) were recorded. Altogether, 2082 physical performance profiles were examined, 1052 from the Real Madrid and 1031 from the opposing team (Central Defenders (CD) = 536, External Defenders (ED) = 491, Central Midfielders (CM) = 544, External Midfielders (EM) = 233, and Forwards (F) = 278). Match performance data were collected using a computerized multiple-camera tracking system (Amisco Pro®, Nice, France). A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed for distances covered at different intensities (sprinting (>24.0 km/h) and high-speed running (21.1-24.0 km/h) and the number of sprints (21.1-24.0 km/h and >24.0 km/h) during games for each player sectioned under their positional roles. Players from Real Madrid covered shorter distances in high-speed running and sprint than players from the opposing team (p < 0.01). While ED did not show differences in their physical performance, CD (p < 0.05), CM (p < 0.01), EM (p < 0.01) and F (p > 0.01) from Real Madrid covered shorter distances in high-intensity running and sprint and performed less sprints than their counterparts. Finally, no differences were found in the high-intensity running and sprint distances performed by players from Real Madrid depending on the quality of the opposition.
Carlos Lago-Peñas, Ezequiel Rey, Luis Casáis and Maite Gómez-López
The purpose of this study was to establish the anthropometric and physical profiles of elite young soccer players according to their playing position, and to determine their relevance for the selection process. One hundred and fifty-six young male soccer players participated in the study. Players were classified into the following groups: Goalkeepers (n=16), Central Defenders (n=26), External Defenders (n=29), Central Midfielders (n=34), External Midfielders (n=28), and Forwards (n=23). Anthropometric variables of participants (body height, body mass, body mass index, 6 skinfolds, 4 diameters, and 3 perimeters) were measured. Participants performed the Yo-Yo test, sprint tests (30 m flat sprint and Balsom agility test) and 2 jump tests (countermovement jump and the Abalakov test). At the end of the season, the technical staff of the club selected some of the players to continue playing on the same team and the rest were not selected. The results show that heavier and taller outfield players performed better in vertical jumps and sprint tests, whereas leaner outfield players performed better in the Yo-Yo test. Fat percentage of selected players was lower than that of the non-selected ones. The rest of the body components were similar in the selected and non-selected players within each playing position. Moreover, the selected players performed slightly better than the non-selected players in the physical test, but these differences were not statistically significant.