Pass-options in elite soccer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


Introduction: Successful soccer teams demonstrate longer duration of ball possession and more passes per possession than unsuccessful teams.1,2 Also, various variables have been established that explain these differences between teams, e.g. home advantage.3 Yet, the mechanism to achieve longer passing sequences remains unclear. It can be argued that number of pass options that a player has when holding the ball might underlie this. So far, no data is available on the number of pass options per possession. Therefore, the aim of this study is identify differences in the number of pass options across positions, game halves and match outcome. Method: Position data (AMISCO Pro©) of players and ball in 21 matches of an elite German premier league club was recorded. Sample includes 2008-2009 league (n=17) and Champions League (n=4) matches. Algorithms were developed in lpmSoccer3D (Inmotio Object Tracking BV) to calculate which teammate was available to receive a pass based on all players’ running speed and ball speed. Available players were designated as ‘pass option’. Means and standard deviations were calculated for number of pass options per match and per half. Differences between positions (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, attacker), match outcome (win, draw, loss) and game half (1st, 2nd) were statistically evaluated. Results: No differences in the number of pass options between the match outcomes. The number of pass options increased significantly in the second half; the largest increase was found for attackers. Only the number of pass options of the goalkeeper differed from the other field positions. No significant interaction effects were found. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the number of pass options is not associated to match outcome, which is in line with previous studies. Nevertheless, the significant increase in the second half for all positions may hint at an altered strategy or changes in exploitation of free space for various reasons. Especially the increase for forwards may provide valuable information with respect to scoring goals. So, future research to evaluate the number of pass options prior to goals is warranted. References: 1Jones PD, James N & Mellalieu SD (2004). Possession as a performance indicator in soccer. Int J Perf An Sport, 4(1), 98-102. 2Hughes MD & Franks IM (2005). Analysis of passing sequences, shots and goals in soccer. J Sports Sci, 23(5), 509-514. 3Lago C & Martín R (2007). Determinants of possession of the ball in soccer. J Sports Sci, 25(9), 969-974.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event3rd World Conference on Science and Soccer - Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 14-May-201216-May-2012


Conference3rd World Conference on Science and Soccer
Abbreviated titleWCSS

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