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The Contextualisation of Match Running Performance in Elite Football

Ju, W (2022) The Contextualisation of Match Running Performance in Elite Football. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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The traditional approach to quantifying football (soccer) match physical demands in isolation from tactical and technical performances has been used over the last 45 years. An integrated approach for the contextualisation of match physical performance with key tactical actions has been devised. However, scientific examinations into match physical-tactical profiles are sparse.
The aim of Study 1 (Chapter 3) was to improve the original integrated approach to quantifying match physical-tactical performances (e.g., the lack of objectivity within the coding process and limited information regarding the actual tactical purpose of the action), and then verify the validity and reliability of the newly developed integrated approach. The new integrated approach demonstrated a high degree of validity and strong inter- (κ=0.81) and almost perfect intra-observer (κ=0.94) reliability. Hence, unique high-intensity profiles of elite players/teams in relation to key tactical actions can be validly and reliably generated.
Study 2 (Chapter 4) determined differences in match physical-tactical performances between various tactical roles to provide better insights into match performance in football. Physical-tactical profiles during match-play were position-specific. Analysing positions with specific tactical roles (e.g., central defensive and attacking midfielders) was found to be more sensitive in detecting match performance of players compared to a general positional analysis (e.g., central midfielders) that could over or underestimate physical-tactical demands. This suggests that coaches and practitioners should account for specific playing styles of their players within the team when designing position- or player-specific training programmes.
The Study 3 (Chapter 5) sought to establish the physical-tactical profiles of elite football teams and individual players with special reference to final league rankings alongside technical metrics to better understand associations between success in football and match performance. Higher-ranked teams not only performed more physical-tactical activities when in possession of the ball during a competitive match (e.g., ‘Move to Receive/Exploit Space’, ‘Run with Ball’, etc.) but also demonstrated better technical performances (e.g., greater number of shots on target, passes, etc.) compared to lower-ranked teams. The contextualised data can improve our understanding of a team’s playing style according to their competitive standard.
The Study 4 (Chapter 6) analysed the physical-tactical trends of elite players and teams during peak 1-, 3- and 5-min (i.e., the most 1-, 3- and 5-min intense period of play) and the following periods during matches to provide better insights into match peak physical demands of players in relation to tactical actions and transient decrements in high-intensity running after intensified periods of play. The contextualised data showed that during the most demanding passage of play, players/teams covered the largest high-intensity distance for ‘Recovery Run’ out of possession and ‘Support Play’ in possession. After peak periods players/teams covered less high-intensity distance compared to the match average, especially when out of possession performing less high-intensity ‘Covering’ and ‘Recovery Run’ distance. However, some physical-tactical actions showed inconsistency in different time durations of the next periods with these physical-tactical data being position-specific (e.g., central offensive players covered ~80-100% less ‘Break into Box’ high-intensity distance in the next 1- and 5min periods compared to the match average with performing ~20% more during the next 3min period). Such data can help practitioners prescribe position- or player-specific drills whilst replicating peak physical-tactical demands of play and better understand transient decrements in high-intensity running after intense periods.
This research programme provides novel data through investigating match physicaltactical profiles of players and teams. The studies reported above have demonstrated much clearer insights into match performance due to the fusion of physical metrics alongside their tactical context. Therefore, it is hoped that the contextualised data from the present research programme can help coaches and applied practitioners not only better understand match demands but also apply these into training sessions more effectively.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Football; Integrated Approach; High-intensity Running; Match Performance; Physical-Tactical Data
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports > GV711 Coaching
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2022 09:44
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2022 09:45
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00017379
Supervisors: Bradley, PS and Doran, D
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17379
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