Effect of score-line and team quality on hockey performance
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Whilst there is much conjecture about the supposed differences in the way that athletes and teams play when losing, drawing or winning within a game, little research has objectively investigated such claims. Indeed despite hockey’s popularity and exposure – it is competed at both the Olympic and Commonwealth games - no studies have investigated the effect of score-line upon team performance. 28 matches from the 2012 Olympic men’s hockey competition were analysed. Teams were classified as being either top six or bottom six depending upon their final competition standing. A computerised system using SportsCode was created in order to collect match events. The main findings were that the top six teams were significantly (p < 0.05) affected by score-line for possession lengths of one to three passes, percentage of long passes, total circle entries, passes in the pre-offensive quarter and possession won in the pre-defensive quarter. The bottom six teams were significantly (p < 0.05) affected by score-line for possession lengths of one to three, four to six, seven to nine and 10-12 passes, complete pass percentage, incomplete pass percentage, percentage of passes sideways, aerials, circle and total 25 entries and possession lost in the pre-defensive quarter. All teams played a significantly higher percentage of their passes forwards when behind than when level (p < 0.0175), attempted significantly fewer aerials when behind or level than when ahead (p < 0.0175) and achieved significantly more total 25 entries when behind than when level (p < 0.0175) or ahead (p < 0.0175). Based upon the way teams play under each score-line state, training drills could be devised to work on the strengths and weaknesses, simulate score-lines, or act as a framework for the analysis of forthcoming opponents. Additionally it may permit coaches and players to make better tactical and strategic decisions in game that could improve the chance of winning.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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