Relationships Between Task Constraints, Visual Constraints, Joint Coordination and Football-Specific Performance in Talented Youth Athletes: An Ecological Dynamics Approach

Pieter Heuvelmans*, Stefano Di Paolo, Anne Benjaminse, Laura Bragonzoni, Alli Gokeler

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Individual performance in team sports is a multifactorial reflection of how well a player can cope and accomplish tasks in varied playing situations. Thus, performance analysis should not only focus on outcomes, but also on underlying mechanisms of those outcomes. We adopted principles of the ecological dynamics approach (EDA) to investigate the effect of introducing constraints on players’ joint coordination responses for a football-specific performance drill outcome. Seventeen talented youth football (soccer) players performed a football-specific drill under different conditions: basic constraints, additional defender dummies, stroboscopic glasses, and a combination of the latter two constraints. We recorded these players’ execution time, passing accuracy, and lower extremity joint kinematics. We calculated joint coordination for hip-knee, knee-ankle, and trunk-hip couplings. The added constraints negatively affected execution time and passing accuracy, and caused changes in joint coordination. Furthermore, we identified a relationship between execution time and joint coordination. This study serves as an example how the EDA can be adopted to investigate mechanisms that underlie individual performance in team sports.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages16
    JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
    Early online date10-Nov-2023
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10-Nov-2023


    • constraints
    • ecological dynamics
    • football
    • joint coordination
    • performance

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