A recent article published in the Journal of Human Kinetics (Saavedra et al., 2013) was based on a flawed methodology when calculating the home advantage values in soccer leagues. This led to incorrect calculations, false conclusions and some misleading results about home advantage in 52 soccer leagues of UEFA countries over a 10 year period. The aim of this letter was to explain these flaws and to make sure future research would not be influenced by the subsequent results and conclusions that had been presented
The purpose of this study was to quantify the home advantage in both men’s and women’s First and Second Division water polo leagues, to compare the results obtained according to sex of participants and the level of competition, and to test for possible differences in home advantage when considering the interaction between these two factors. The sample comprised four seasons from 2007-2008 to 2010-2011 for a total of 1942 games analyzed. The results showed the existence of home advantage in both men’s and women’s First and Second Divisions. After controlling for the competitive balance of each league in each season, there was a significant difference between men’s and women’s leagues, with higher home advantage for men’s leagues (58.60% compared with 53.70% for women’s leagues). There was also a significant difference between the levels of competition, with greater home advantage for the Second Division (57.95% compared with 54.35% for First Division). No significant differences in home advantage were found when considering the interaction between sex of participants and the level of competition. The results in relation to sex of participants and the level of competition are consistent with previous studies in other sports such as football or handball.
The aim of the present study was to identify the importance of floorball tactical variables to predict ball possession effectiveness, when controlling quality of opposition and game periods. The sample was composed by 1500 ball possessions, corresponding to 14 games randomly selected from the International Championships played during 2008 and 2010 (World Championship, Four nations tournament and classificatory phases for World Championship) by teams from different competition levels (HIGH, INTERMEDIATE and LOW). The effects of the predictor variables on successful ball possessions according to the three game contexts (HIGH vs. HIGH; HIGH vs. LOW; LOW vs. LOW games) were analyzed using Binomial Logistic Regressions. The results showed no interaction with the game period. In HIGH vs. HIGH games, quality of opposition showed an association with ball possession effectiveness with ending zone, offensive system, possession duration, height of shooting and defensive pressures previous to the shot. In HIGH vs. LOW games the important factors were the starting zone, possession duration, defensive pressure previous to the last pass and to the shot, technique of shooting and the number players involved in each ball possession. Finally, in LOW vs. LOW games, the results emphasized the importance of starting and ending zones, the number of passes used and the technique of shooting. In conclusion, elite floorball performance is mainly affected by quality of opposition showing different game patterns in each context that should be considered by coaches when preparing practices and competitions.
It has been previously observed that basketball free-throw (FT) shooting efficiency decreases towards the end of the game. The aim of the current study was to explore possible determinants for this distinctive pattern during close games (point differential of equal or under 2 points during the final minute of the game). A sample of shots attempted by 92 players in the Spanish professional basketball league (ACB) was collected. Several personal (age, experience, playing position and career FT percentage) and contextual (team ability, competition stage, game location, seconds remaining and score differential) variables were considered for the analysis of the data. The effects of the predictor variables on the players’ performance were analyzed according to two game contexts (FT attempted during the final minute or the last pair of FTs) using binomial logistic regression analysis. The results showed that during the final minute the only statistically significant variable was being in the center playing position (OR = 1.58), which decreased the FT shooting percentage compared to forwards and guards. In addition, the results during the last pair of FTs showed that the playing position of guards (OR = 1.70) and centers (OR = 2.22) was significant (a decrease in their FT percentage). Conversely, the score differential when tied (OR = -1.17) or losing (OR = -2.43) was significant, reflecting a lower probability of missing the shot. The results were interpreted and discussed from the viewpoints of crisis theory and the literature on choking in athletic performance.
The aim of this paper was to determine how the size of the pitch affected technical and tactical actions of the goalkeeper when playing small-sided games. The participants were 13 male youth players, including 3 goalkeepers. Three different pitch sizes were used (62 x 44 m; 50 x 35 m; 32 x 23 m). On each pitch, the players played three matches of 8 minutes, with 5-minute breaks between matches. Numerous variables were recorded and examined: defensive and offensive technical and tactical actions, opponent’s shooting zone, length and zone of the offensive action, and goal zone where the shoot was directed. An ad hoc observational tool was used. A descriptive analysis was described. The Fisher’s exact test was used when the expected distribution was below 5 or included values below 1%. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. The results showed that the technical-tactical actions of the goalkeeper differed among pitch sizes. In defensive actions, when the pitch was larger, the 1-on-1 situations took precedence, whereas when the pitch was smaller, the proportion of blocks increased. In offensive actions, the goalkeepers did not show a wide variety of actions when the pitch was larger, but when the pitch was smaller, passes with a hand or foot increased. These results show that the size should be taken into account when planning and designing tasks.
The study analysed the set-to-set variation in performance using match statistics of 146 completed main-draw matches in Australian Open and US Open 2016-2017 men’s singles. Comparisons of technical-tactical and physical performance variables were done between different sets; and the within-match coefficients of variation (CV) of these variables were contrasted between match winning and losing players. All comparisons were realized via standardized (Cohen’s d) mean differences and uncertainty in the true differences was assessed using non-clinical magnitude-based inferences. Results showed that there was possibly to very likely decreases in the serve, net and running related variables (mean difference, ±90%CL: -0.16, ±0.14 to -0.45, ±0.24, small) and an increase in the return and winner related variables (0.17, ±0.24 to 0.24, ±0.14, small) in the last sets when compared to the initial sets, indicating the influence of match fatigue and the player’s choice of match tactics and pacing strategy. Besides, winning players were revealed to have lower CV values in most of performance variables (-0.16, ±0.24 to -0.82, ±0.23, small to moderate) except for the second serve, winner, and physical performance variables (0.25, ±0.26 to 1.6, ±0.25, small to large), indicating that they would sacrifice the consistency to gain more aggressiveness and to dominate the match.
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.
Scientific literature has stated the presence of various stages in athletes sportive development, with different objectives in each one of them. This should lead coaches to different training plans according to the athlete’s formation stage. The aim of this study was to analyse training plans and identify differences in basketball objectives according to formative stages (U’12 and U’14) in boys and girls. A total of 1,976 training tasks were collected and analysed, for a total of four teams (girls and boys of U’12 and U’14 categories) during an entire season. Pedagogical variables, game phases, game situations, training means and content were studied. The results showed significant differences between genders. Girls’ teams performed more tasks on offense and technical skills. By contrast, boys’ teams performed more defensive tasks and tactical contents. The 1-on-0 and 1-on-1 were the most repeated game situations in all teams. Coaches used different training tasks according to gender and age. In male U’12 teams, drills predominated, whereas in the other categories, games predominated. For boys’ teams, the contents were tactical oriented, and for girls’ teams, the contents were oriented toward skill acquisition. Studying the pedagogical variables of the training process allowed for identification of the utility of training, assessment, and modification of this process.
Rule modifications in basketball are used to develop the sport, and FIBA changes the basketball regulations periodically and constantly in search of a more attractive game. The objectives of this study were as follows: i) to characterise and identify the technical-tactical performance indicators which discriminated the game style according to the effect of rule modifications; and ii) to analyse the persistence of these indicators according to rule modifications over time. Analyses were made of all the editions of the current competition system of the Copa Del Rey in Spanish basketball. One hundred and forty matches were analysed, starting from the 1995-96 to the 2014-15 season. Data were gathered from the official competition web page (www.acb.com) The variables analysed included rule modifications, the number of ball possessions, points scored, one, two and 3-point field goals made and attempted, total rebounds, defensive and offensive rebounds, assists, steals, turnovers, blocked shots, dunks and committed and received personal fouls, score differences, as well as one, two and 3-point field-goal percentages. Several analyses were carried out: descriptive analysis to characterise the sample; ANOVA to identify differences between periods; discriminant analysis to determine technical-tactical performance indicators which best discriminated between each competition term and rule change period; and finally autocorrelation function and cross-correlation were used to estimate the persistency of performance indicators over time. Results show that rule changes affect the way basketball is played. Nevertheless, players and coaches are the ones who determine functional behavior in basketball.