A comparison of attacking strategies that leads to goal
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study compares the attacking strategies that lead to goal scoring opportunities across elite level Men’s field hockey and association football. This study used the top eight Male Olympic hockey teams and UEFA Championship football teams (n=16) competing in seven classification matches from the London 2012 Olympics and UEFA European Championships (n=14). These matches were observed and analysed resulting in two hundred and thirty two (n=232) hockey and one hundred and fifteen (n=115) football possessions. Of these three hundred and forty seven possessions (n=347) forty (n=40) goals were scored. Details of successful possessions were recorded from the origin of possession right until an upgrade was achieved or possession was lost. For analysis and data collection purposes, the defensive half of the pitch was split into six (n=6) sections (labeled A-F), the attacking half was split into ten (n=10) sections (labeled 1-10) and the area/D was split into six (n=6) sections (labeled 1a-6a). These were done to meet the requirements of the title as they give good indications of zones of play, and they allowed data to be collected in regards of repossession points and position of entry into the attacking half and area/D. Using an apple iPad application called 'Dartfish EasyTag' the data was collected for each game and then exported into a format suitable for a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which allowed every phase of the possession to be noted on the iPad before being visually put into order on Microsoft Excel. The study revealed that successful plays were initiated by an interception (42.7%) more than any other method of repossession and found that there was a significant difference between the two sports (p=0.000). The most used method of entering the area/D was through a dribble (41.7%) however the push/pass (39.1%) was also a well used tool within both sports and, it was found that there was a significant difference in regards to the method of area/D entry was also found (p=0.000). The results showed that across the two sports the left hand side (46.4%) of the area/D was predominantly favored to gain entry into, however the right hand side was also used a considerable amount (44.1%) showing very little difference and preference between the two sports and also showing no significant difference (p=0.171). Passing patterns showed that football teams (n=5.9) used significantly more phases (p=0.000) than hockey teams (n=3.6) per possession in order to advance into an area of the pitch a scoring opportunity could be taken. The results suggest that for the game of hockey, the play requires a more direct approach and once possession is won the balls needs to get to the D as quickly as possible, where as football teams tend to look to be more patient and wait for the right opportunity to arise before committing to their attack. The results show that the dribble is the most effective way at gaining entry into the areas that are needed in order to score goals. These results give scope to further improve attacking down the right hand side of the pitch and utilizing the simple push/pass in order to make the most of the movement of the ball in gaining metres up the pitch into better goal scoring opportunities.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCE
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