Technical skills of midfield players in elite male football
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Existing notational analysis conducted with association football has primarily focused upon quantitatively analysing tactical aspects of performance and until recent years there has been a scarcity of studies qualitatively analysing technical aspects of performance (Grehaigne et al., 2001). The proposed study is an extension of an innovative data gathering system in which Hughes and Probert (2006), answered the demands outlined by previous researchers. The system analysed the exact technical requirements of each position, (creating positional profiles) and also analysed qualitatively how the technical requirements where completed, (creating player profiles of how technically well they complete skills). The proposed study focuses upon comparing the technical ability of successful and unsuccessful teams of the 2006 World Cup’s central midfield units. Six matches from each group were analysed using a post event hand notation system, in which technique, outcome, time and pitch position were recorded. The findings of the present study revealed significant differences in favour of both the successful and unsuccessful groups. The successful group displayed a superiority in technical ability in receiving the ball, tackling, crossing the ball and dribbling. Indicating characteristics of a successful performance. The unsuccessful group displayed a significant superiority in technical ability when tackling in the defending third of the pitch, heading the ball, shooting and free kicks. The findings of a statistical significance need to be treated with caution due to the low frequencies of actions observed and the insensitivity of the statistical tests. Although significant differences were not found in a variety of the observed skills, differences in technical ability have been suggested, which at an elite level may be the difference between success and failure. The technical abilities of the central midfield unit have an impact upon the outcome of a match, the extent of this impact has been suggested within the present study, however further investigations will need to be carried out to better understand the impact.
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