Inter-team behaviour in elite-standard youth soccer during small-sided games

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


INTRODUCTION Soccer is a complex game with interacting players and teams. Team members cooperate to score a goal and opponent players try to keep the opponent from scoring. Tactical team behaviour seems to interact with the opponent team behaviour during small-sided games (SSGs)[1]. The aim of this study is to determine the inter-team behaviour in elite-standard youth soccer players of two age categories during SSGs. METHODS 39 elite-standard male youth soccer players were assigned to two teams (Under 17 and Under 19) and played SSGs. Positional data (LPM-system) were collected to determine tactical performance measures of the teams (mean ± sd): centroids, stretch indices and length per width ratios (lpwratios). A running correlation method (3-s) was used to determine inter-team coordination patterns[1,2]. Correlations near 1 correspond to in-phase behaviour and correlations close to -1 correspond to anti-phase behaviour. Correlations near 0 represent unrelated coordination patterns. Differences between team’s tactical performance measures and coordination patterns are checked with an independent-samples t-test (p<0.05). RESULTS Differences between age groups were found for the lateral stretch index (Under 19 5.24 ± 0.08m; Under 17 5.03 ± 0.07m) and the lpwratio (Under 19 0.97 ± 0.03; Under 17 1.00 ± 0.04), but not for the longitudinal stretch index. Also, no differences were found for inter-team distance of the centroids between age categories. In addition, in-phase behaviour was dominant for the team centroids (>70% of the time). In-phase behaviour was less dominant, for stretch indices and lpwratios (>50% of the time). No differences were found between the age categories in these coordination patterns. DISCUSSION Differences were found for the lateral stretch index and the lpwratio between age groups, meaning that Under 19 made more use of the pitch width. In contrast, no differences existed in the coordination patterns between the teams. Both age groups were similarly attracted to a dominant in-phase behaviour and a less dominant anti-phase behaviour. These coordination patterns were determined for the total duration of SSGs. Future research should focus on the influence of ball possession and the transition of possession between teams on the dominance of coordination patterns. REFERENCES [1] Frencken W, van der Plaats J, Visscher C & Lemmink K (2013). J Syst Sci Complex, 26:85-93 [2] Corbetta D & Thelen E (1996). J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform, 22(2):502-522
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational Congress on Complex Systems in Sports and Healthy Ageing - UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 29-Oct-201431-Oct-2014


ConferenceInternational Congress on Complex Systems in Sports and Healthy Ageing

Cite this