Analysis of the Variability of the Game Space in High Performance Football: Implementation of the Generalizability Theory.
ABSTRACT: The analysis of variability in sport has shown significant growth in recent years. Also, the study of space management in the game field has not been object of research yet. The present study pretends to describe the variability in the use of strategic space in high performance football. To do this, the spatial management of the Spanish men's soccer team when it is in possession of the ball has been analyzed, during its participation in the UEFA Euro 2012 championship. Specifically, 6861 events have been collected and analyzed. Different zoning of the field have been used, and the location of the ball has been recorded in each offensive action. Using the observational methodology as a methodological filter, two types of analysis have been carried out: first, a General Linear Model was implemented to know the variability of the strategic space. Models with two, three, four and five variables have been tested. In order to estimate the degree of accuracy and generalization of the data obtained, the Generalizability Theory was implemented. Next, and in order to estimate the degree of accuracy and generalization of the data obtained, the Generalizability Theory was implemented. The results showed that the model that produces greater variability and better explanation is the four-variable model (P = 0.019; r 2 = 0.838), with the inclusion of the variables match half, rival, move initiation zone and move conclusion zone. Next, an optimization plan was implemented to know the degree of generalization with the Rival, Start Zone (SZ) and Conclusion Zone (CZ) facets. The available results indicate that it is based on an adequate research design in terms of the number of observations. The results of the present study could have a double practical application. On the one hand, the inclusion of the game's space management in training sessions will potentially conceal the true tactical intention. On the other hand, knowing the variability of the strategic space will allow to exploit areas of the optimal playing field to attack the rival team.
Project description:Throwing is a uniquely human skill that requires a high degree of coordination to successfully hit a target. Timing of ball release appears crucial as previous studies report required timing accuracies as short as 1-2ms, which however appear physiologically challenging. This study mathematically and experimentally demonstrates that humans can overcome these seemingly stringent timing requirements by shaping their hand trajectories to create extended timing windows, where ball releases achieve target hits despite temporal imprecision. Subjects practiced four task variations in a virtual environment, each with a distinct geometry of the solution space and different demands for timing. Model-based analyses of arm trajectories revealed that subjects first decreased timing error, followed by lengthening timing windows in their hand trajectories. This pattern was invariant across solution spaces, except for a control case. Hence, the exquisite skill that humans evolved for throwing is achieved by developing strategies that are less sensitive to temporal variability arising from neuromotor noise. This analysis also provides an explanation why coaches emphasize the "follow-through" in many ball sports.
Project description:The use of observational methodology in the sports context provides coaches and other sports professionals with flexible tools that adapt to their needs. In collective sports, the use of these instruments is common for the technical and tactical analysis of the game. Based on the importance of data quality in these instruments, the purpose was to design, validate, and test the reliability of a mixed observational instrument of field formats and category systems to analyze technical and tactical actions in the offense phase in soccer. The instrument collects information regarding the actions with the ball, moment of the play (start, development, and end), and contextual situation for the offensive team and for the goalkeeper. The instrument design, validation, and reliability calculation were done in four stages: (a) review of the literature, (b) design the first draft of the instrument, (c) experts' qualitative and quantitative review of the instrument, and (d) observer training test (reliability calculation). The content validity was established by 12 experts (Ph.D. in sports science or soccer coach with at least of 10 years of coaching experience). The Delphi methodology was used. Experts did a quantitative (scale 0-10) and qualitative evaluation. Experts were asked about: (a) comprehension of the criteria, categorical cores, degree of openness, and their definitions, (b) pertinence of categorical cores and degree of openness, and (c) whether to include other categorical cores or degree of openness in the observation instrument. The lowest Aiken's V index was 0.91 for the categorical core "numerical situation with opponent goalkeeper." The inter- and intra-observer reliability presented good levels of agreement. The lowest Kappa index was 0.96 for the inter-reliability in the categorical core "defensive pressing lines" and was 0.98 for the intra-reliability in the categorical core "ball height (start of ball possession)," "distance of the defensive player," "ball height (end of ball possession)," "numerical situation," and "defensive pressing lines." The coefficients of the generalizability analysis showed a high level of accuracy, validity and reliability of the instrument. The results show that the instrument allows to obtain objective, valid and reliable information about the offensive phase in soccer.
Project description:The analysis of positional data in association football allows the spatial distribution of players during matches to be described in order to improve the understanding of tactical-related constraints on the behavioural dynamics of players. The aim of this study was to identify how players' spatial restrictions affected the exploratory tactical behaviour and constrained the perceptual-motor workspace of players in possession of the ball, as well as inter-player passing interactions. Nineteen professional outfield male players were divided into two teams of 10 and 9 players, respectively. The game was played under three spatial constraints: a) players were not allowed to move out of their allocated zones, except for the player in possession of the ball; b) players were allowed to move to an adjacent zone, and; c) non-specific spatial constraints. Positional data was captured using a 5 Hz interpolated GPS tracking system and used to define the configuration states of players for each second in time. The configuration state comprised 37 categories derived from tactical actions, distance from the nearest opponent, distance from the target and movement speed. Notational analysis of players in possession of the ball allowed the mean time of ball possession and the probabilities of passing the ball between players to be calculated. The results revealed that the players' long-term exploratory behaviour decreased and their short-term exploration increased when restricting their space of interaction. Relaxing players' positional constraints seemed to increase the speed of ball flow dynamics. Allowing players to move to an adjacent sub-area increased the probabilities of interaction with the full-back during play build-up. The instability of the coordinative state defined by being free from opponents when players had the ball possession was an invariant feature under all three task constraints. By allowing players to move to adjacent sub-areas, the coordinative state became highly unstable when the distance from the target decreased. Ball location relative to the scoring zone and interpersonal distance constitute key environmental information that constrains the players' coordinative behaviour. Based on our results, dynamic overlap is presented as a good option to capture tactical performance. Moreover, the selected collective (i.e. relational) variables would allow coaches to identify the effects of training drills on teams and players' behaviour. More research is needed considering these type variables to understand how the manipulation of constraints induce a more stable or flexible dynamical structure of tactical behaviour.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The variability of throwing metrics, particularly elbow torque and ball velocity, during structured long-toss programs is unknown. HYPOTHESES:(1) Elbow torque and ball velocity would increase as throwers progressed through a structured long-toss program and (2) intrathrower reliability would be high while interthrower reliability would be variable. STUDY DESIGN:Descriptive laboratory study. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Level 3. METHODS:Sixty healthy high school and collegiate pitchers participated in a structured long-toss program while wearing a validated inertial measurement unit, which measured arm slot, arm velocity, shoulder rotation, and elbow varus torque. Ball velocity was assessed by radar gun. These metrics were compared within and between all pitchers at 90, 120, 150, and 180 ft and maximum effort mound pitching. Intra- and interthrower reliabilities were calculated for each metric at every stage of the program. RESULTS:Ball velocity significantly changed at each progressive throwing distance, but elbow torque did not. Pitching from the mound did not place more torque on the elbow than long-toss throwing from 120 ft and beyond. Intrathrower reliability was excellent (intraclass correlation coefficient >0.75) throughout the progressive long-toss program, especially on the mound. Ninety-one percent of throwers had acceptable interthrower reliability (coefficient of variation <5%) for ball velocity, whereas only 79% of throwers had acceptable interthrower reliability for elbow torque. CONCLUSION:Based on trends in elbow torque, it may be practical to incorporate pitching from the mound earlier in the program (once a player is comfortable throwing from 120 ft). Ball velocity and elbow torque do not necessarily correlate with one another, so a degree of caution should be exercised when using radar guns to estimate elbow torque. Given the variability in elbow torque between throwers, some athletes would likely benefit from an individualized throwing program. CLINICAL RELEVANCE:Increased ball velocity does not necessarily equate to increased elbow torque in long-toss. Some individuals would likely benefit from individualized long-toss programs for rehabilitation.
Project description:Reinforcement is the process by which prezygotic isolation is strengthened as a response to selection against hybridization. Most empirical support for reinforcement comes from the observation of its possible phenotypic signature: an accentuated degree of prezygotic isolation in the hybrid zone as compared to allopatry. Here, we implemented a novel approach to this question by seeking for the signature of reinforcement at the genetic level. In the house mouse, selection against hybrids and enhanced olfactory-based assortative mate preferences are observed in a hybrid zone between the two European subspecies Mus musculus musculus and M. m. domesticus, suggesting a possible recent reinforcement event. To test for the genetic signature of reinforcing selection and identify genes involved in sexual isolation, we adopted a hitchhiking mapping approach targeting genomic regions containing candidate genes for assortative mating in mice. We densely scanned these genomic regions in hybrid zone and allopatric samples using a large number of fast evolving microsatellite loci that allow the detection of recent selection events. We found a handful of loci showing the expected pattern of significant reduction in variability in populations close to the hybrid zone, showing assortative odour preference in mate choice experiments as compared to populations further away and displaying no such preference. These loci lie close to genes that we pinpoint as testable candidates for further investigation.
Project description:Spatiotemporal patterns of play can be extracted from competitive environments to design representative training tasks and underlying processes that sustain performance outcomes. To support this statement, the aims of this study were: (i) describe the collective behavioural patterns that relies upon the use of player positioning in interaction with teammates, opponents and ball positioning; (ii) and define the underlying structure among the variables through application of a factorial analysis. The sample comprised a total of 1,413 ball possession sequences, obtained from twelve elite football matches from one team (the team ended the season in the top-5 position). The dynamic position of the players (from both competing teams), as well as the ball, were captured and transformed to two-dimensional coordinates. Data included the ball possession sequences from six matches played against top opponents (TOP, the three teams classified in the first 3 places at the end of the season) and six matches against bottom opponents (BOTTOM, the three teams classified in the last 3 at the end of the season). The variables calculated for each ball possession were the following: ball position; team space in possession; game space (comprising the outfield players of both teams); position and space at the end of ball possession. Statistical comparisons were carried with magnitude-based decisions and null-hypothesis analysis and factor analysis to define the underlying structure among variables according to the considered contexts. Results showed that playing against TOP opponents, there was ~38 meters game length per ~43 meters game width with 12% of coefficient of variation (%). Ball possessions lasted for ~28 seconds and tended to end at ~83m of pitch length. Against BOTTOM opponents, a decrease in the game length with an increase in game width and in the deepest location was observed in comparison with playing against TOP opponents. The duration of ball possession increased considerable (~37 seconds), and the ball speed entropy was higher, suggesting lower levels of regularity in comparison with TOP opponents. The BOTTOM teams revealed a small EPS. The Principal Component Analysis showed a strong association of the ball speed, entropy of the ball speed and the coefficient of variation (%) of the ball speed. The EPS of the team in possession was well correlated with the game space, especially the game width facing TOP opponents. Against BOTTOM opponents, there was a strong association of ball possession duration, game width, distance covered by the ball, and length/width ratio of the ball movement. The overall approach carried out in this study may serve as the starting point to elaborate normative models of positioning behaviours measures to support the coaches' operating decisions.
Project description:Analysing molecular profiles requires the selection of classification models that can cope with the high dimensionality and variability of these data. Also, improper reference point choice and scaling pose additional challenges. Often model selection is somewhat guided by ad hoc simulations rather than by sophisticated considerations on the properties of a categorization model. Here, we derive and report four linked linear concept classes/models with distinct invariance properties for high-dimensional molecular classification. We can further show that these concept classes also form a half-order of complexity classes in terms of Vapnik-Chervonenkis dimensions, which also implies increased generalization abilities. We implemented support vector machines with these properties. Surprisingly, we were able to attain comparable or even superior generalization abilities to the standard linear one on the 27 investigated RNA-Seq and microarray datasets. Our results indicate that a priori chosen invariant models can replace ad hoc robustness analysis by interpretable and theoretically guaranteed properties in molecular categorization.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:International collaboration in science has received increasing attention given emphases on relevance, generalizability, and impact of research. Implementation science (IS) is a growing discipline that aims to translate clinical research findings into health services. Research is needed to identify efficient and effective ways to foster international collaboration in IS. Concept-mapping (CM) was utilized with a targeted sample for preliminary exploration of fostering international collaboration. Concept-mapping is a mixed-method approach (qualitative/quantitative) particularly suited for identifying essential themes and action items to facilitate planning among diverse stakeholders. We sought to identify key factors likely to facilitate productive and rewarding international collaborations in implementation research. RESULTS:We identified eleven dimensions: Strategic Planning; Practicality; Define Common Principles; Technological Tools for Collaboration; Funding; Disseminate Importance of Fostering International Collaboration in IS; Knowledge Sharing; Innovative & Adaptive Research; Training IS Researchers; Networking & Shared Identity; Facilitate Meetings. Strategic Planning and Funding were highest rated for importance and Strategic Planning and Networking and Shared Identity were rated most feasible to institute. Fostering international collaboration in IS can accelerate the efficiency, relevance, and generalizability of implementation research. Strategies should be developed and tested to improve international collaborations and engage junior and experienced investigators in collaborations advancing implementation science and practice.
Project description:This paper evaluates a novel high variability phonetic training paradigm that involves presenting spoken words in adverse conditions. The effectiveness, generalizability, and longevity of this high variability phonetic training in adverse conditions was evaluated using English phoneme contrasts in three experiments with Malaysian multilinguals. Adverse conditions were created by presenting spoken words against background multi-talker babble. In Experiment 1, the adverse condition level was set at a fixed level throughout the training and in Experiment 2 the adverse condition level was determined for each participant before training using an adaptive staircase procedure. To explore the effectiveness and sustainability of the training, phonemic discrimination ability was assessed before and immediately after training (Experiments 1 and 2) and 6 months after training (Experiment 3). Generalization of training was evaluated within and across phonemic contrasts using trained and untrained stimuli. Results revealed significant perceptual improvements after just three 20-minute training sessions and these improvements were maintained after 6 months. The training benefits also generalized from trained to untrained stimuli. Crucially, perceptual improvements were significantly larger when the adverse conditions were adapted before each training session than when it was set at a fixed level. As the training improvements observed here are markedly larger than those reported in the literature, this indicates that the individualized phonetic training regime in adaptive adverse conditions (HVPT-AAC) is highly effective at improving speech perception.
Project description:Diffusion MRI (dMRI) is a vital source of imaging data for identifying anatomical connections in the living human brain that form the substrate for information transfer between brain regions. dMRI can thus play a central role toward our understanding of brain function. The quantitative modeling and analysis of dMRI data deduces the features of neural fibers at the voxel level, such as direction and density. The modeling methods that have been developed range from deterministic to probabilistic approaches. Currently, the Ball-and-Stick model serves as a widely implemented probabilistic approach in the tractography toolbox of the popular FSL software package and FreeSurfer/TRACULA software package. However, estimation of the features of neural fibers is complex under the scenario of two crossing neural fibers, which occurs in a sizeable proportion of voxels within the brain. A Bayesian non-linear regression is adopted, comprised of a mixture of multiple non-linear components. Such models can pose a difficult statistical estimation problem computationally. To make the approach of Ball-and-Stick model more feasible and accurate, we propose a simplified version of Ball-and-Stick model that reduces parameter space dimensionality. This simplified model is vastly more efficient in the terms of computation time required in estimating parameters pertaining to two crossing neural fibers through Bayesian simulation approaches. Moreover, the performance of this new model is comparable or better in terms of bias and estimation variance as compared to existing models.