Dynamics of attacker–defender dyads in Association Football : parameters influencing decision-making

Headrick, Jonathon (2011) Dynamics of attacker–defender dyads in Association Football : parameters influencing decision-making. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Previous work on pattern-forming dynamics of team sports has investigated sub-phases of basketball and rugby union by focussing on one-versus-one (1v1) attacker-defender dyads. This body of work has identified the role of candidate control parameters, interpersonal distance and relative velocity, in predicting the outcomes of team player interactions. These two control parameters have been described as functioning in a nested relationship where relative velocity between players comes to the fore within a critical range of interpersonal distance. The critical influence of constraints on the intentionality of player behaviour has also been identified through the study of 1v1 attacker-defender dyads. This thesis draws from previous work adopting an ecological dynamics approach, which encompasses both Dynamical Systems Theory and Ecological Psychology concepts, to describe attacker-defender interactions in 1v1 dyads in association football. Twelve male youth association football players (average age 15.3 ± 0.5 yrs) performed as both attackers and defenders in 1v1 dyads in three field positions in an experimental manipulation of the proximity to goal and the role of players. Player and ball motion was tracked using TACTO 8.0 software (Fernandes & Caixinha, 2003) to produce two-dimensional (2D) trajectories of players and the ball on the ground. Significant differences were found for player-to-ball interactions depending on proximity to goal manipulations, indicating how key reference points in the environment such as the location of the goal may act as a constraint that shapes decision-making behaviour. Results also revealed that interpersonal distance and relative velocity alone were insufficient for accurately predicting the outcome of a dyad in association football. Instead, combined values of interpersonal distance, ball-to-defender distance, attacker-to-ball distance, attacker-to-ball relative velocity and relative angles were found to indicate the state of dyad outcomes.

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ID Code: 45461
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Davids, Keith & Renshaw, Ian
Keywords: Association Football, complex systems, constraints, decision-making, attacker-defender dyads, ecological dynamics, pattern-forming dynamics
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 25 Aug 2011 05:35
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2013 22:24

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