A Network Approach To Study Individual-Specific Performance Dynamics In Sports

Niklas Neumann*, Nico W. Van Yperen, Carolin Arens, Jur Brauers, Wouter Frencken, Rens Meerhoff, Ando Emerencia, Michel Brink, Koen A.P.M. Lemmink, Ruud den Hartigh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


So far, research in the field of sports performance has mostly been conducted 1) at one or a few points in time, 2) on a group level, 3) monodisciplinary, and 4) as a causal-chain of fixed predictor and outcomes variables. In the present study, however, we argue that sports performance should be approached as 1) dynamic, 2) individual-specific, 3) multidimensional, and 4) emerging from interactions between multiple factors (Den Hartigh et al., 2016; Glazier, 2017; Neumann et al., 2021; Phillips et al., 2010). The purpose of this research is to present and apply a novel analytical method, that is, (time-varying) vector-autoregressive (TV-VAR) modeling, that may capture the individual-specific dynamic networks of (changing) interactions within and between the multidimensional performance factors (Bringmann et al., 2018). Therefore, we measured important psychological (e.g., confidence, motivation) and physiological (e.g., load, recovery) variables of youth male players from a professional football club on a daily basis across one season. We assessed the temporal dynamics (i.e., autoregressive and cross-lagged effects) of those variables and visualized the findings in changing network graphs. Results show individual-specific interactions within and between the performance factors with sometimes changing effects over time. Hence, TV-VAR modeling is a suitable method to approach performance regarding the four above-stated elements. The model may further allow researchers and practitioners to know which knob to turn for which athlete and to detect when relations between variables change to explain and predict performance transitions (Hill et al., 2020; Scheffer et al., 2018).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2022
EventHeymans Symposium - Nieuwe Kerk Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 30-Mar-202230-Mar-2022


ConferenceHeymans Symposium
Internet address


  • dynamic modeling
  • time series analysis
  • networks
  • performance
  • persoanlized approach
  • research methodology
  • football


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