Hewitt, A., Greenham, G. & Norton, K. (2016). Game style in soccer: What is it and can we quantify it?. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport,16(1), 355-372. United Kingdom: Cardiff Metropolitan University. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/24748668.2016.11868892
Game style is a term commonly used by coaches, sports scientists, performance analysts and media to refer to patterns of play in team sports. Despite these pervasive references there is not a definition for game style and consequently there has never been any attempt to measure game style. Recently there has been momentum to investigate team sports as dynamical systems and to understand how players interact in various contextual environments and circumstances. These interactions, particularly successful, dominant or recurrent patterns, are likely to be important in forming a game style or at least play a part in our perceptions of a game style. This article proposes an initial framework of variables that can be measured and used to describe game style. The framework is based on metrics within five key moments of play: (1) Established Attack, (2) Transition from Attack to Defense, (3) Established Defense, (4) Transition from Defense to Attack, and (5) Set Pieces. These metrics have practical applications for coaches and practitioners when evaluating efforts to create or compare game styles. More importantly, however, they may allow performance analysts to categorise and monitor game styles over time, across leagues and age groups, and provide a deeper understanding of dynamic interactions in invasion-based field sports.
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