If you want to build an elite football team that wins major trophies you need to do more than count passes or tackles.
That’s the finding from a University of the Sunshine Coast study by PhD student and football coach Scott McLean examining traditional performance measures.
The results have led to an improved set of methods to describe the complexities of football performance.
Working with former Socceroo captains, English Premier League players and professional-level coaches, Mr Mclean found traditional performance measures did not provide meaningful indications of their teams’ performances.
“Something like a tackle count or metres run describes what happens in a game, but doesn’t tell us how or why,” Mr McLean said.
“We identified six new performance analysis measures: the areas of the pitch used, penetration of defensive lines, methods of gaining possession, tempo, communication, and adaptability,” he said.
“These are whole new lines of analysis. In measuring communication, for instance, we’re looking at not just the amount of talk on the pitch, but also non-verbal communications like pointing or the way they shape their body.”
Mr McLean said the participation of some of Australia’s best-known football figures had been a crucial part of the project.
“We sat down with them in interactive workshops to reach a consensus on what aspects of performance actually matter to coaches,” he said.
“What was surprising was that a lot of these things haven’t been measured at all or haven’t been measured appropriately.”
The new performance measures are now being used as part of a research partnership between USC and an A-League football club.
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