A technical analysis of elite male soccer players by position and success
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Since the early work of Reep and Benjamin (1968), many aspects of association football have been utilised by researchers within notational analysis. Several researchers (Reilly and Holmes, 1983; Luhtanen, 1988; Dufour, 1993) have however identified the lack of literature existing detailing the exact technical demands with regard to their relative successful performance between specific positions of play. The purpose of the investigation was to deliver such a technical analysis of playing positions within elite level International football at the European Championships 2004. The data were gathered by a specifically designed notation system which collected qualitative data based on the relative successful execution of techniques performed, post event. Players were grouped into positional classes as goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders or strikers. A comparison was also made between the technical distributions of both a successful and unsuccessful team. The Chi Squared statistical test was used to compare differences between the frequency distributions and the differences in technical ratings between positions and the successful and unsuccessful teams. Significance was accepted at the (p<0.05) level (Vincent, 1999). Significant differences (p<0.05) were found between the frequency distributions of all 3 outfield positions, but no significant differences (p>0.05) were found between the accumulated means of technique ratings across all of the performance indicators. Individual variable analysis however showed significant differences (p<0.05) occurred between specific performance indicators across positions. No significant differences (p>0.05) were discovered between either the frequency distribution or the technical rating of outfield players between successful and unsuccessful teams. A significant difference (p<0.05) was however apparent between the frequency distribution of goalkeepers actions between successful and unsuccessful teams. The study implicates that coaches must be selective of which players play within certain positions and that training sessions must be accurate to the specific needs of individuals and their position within a team.
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