The Influence of Scoring Targets and Outer-Floaters on Attacking and Defending Team Dispersion, Shape and Creation of Space During Small-Sided Soccer Games

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Julen Castellano, Pedro Silva, Oidui Usabiaga, Daniel Barreira

The effect of altered game formats on team performances during soccer practice can be harnessed by coaches to stimulate specific tactical behaviours. The aim of the present study was to analyse the influence of using (i) small goals [SG], (ii) goalkeepers [7G] and (iii) floaters [7GF] on the dispersion, shape and available space of teams during small-sided games (SSGs). Twenty-four male soccer players were distributed into four teams composed of five players, two goalkeepers and two floaters that performed six SSG bouts of 6 min, interspersed with 6 min of passive recovery. Offensive and defensive phases were also analysed separately in order to verify the preservation of basic principles of attacking (teams more stretched to create free space) and defending (teams more compact to tie-up space) during SSGs. The variables used to characterize the collective behaviour were: length [L], width [W], team shape [Sh], and team separateness [TS]. Results revealed that the teams showed different collective behaviours depending on SSG format and a playing phase: a) L and W were higher in attack than in defence in all SSGs; b) team shapes were more elongated in defence in all SSGs except SG; c) the space separating players from their closest opponents (TS) was shorter in 7G; and d) SG and 7GF elicited greater defensive openness due to increased team width. The results suggest that manipulating task constraints, such as goal size, presence or absence of goalkeepers and floaters can be harnessed by coaches to shape distinct team tactical behaviours in SSGs while preserving the basic principles of attacking and defending.
DOI: 10.1515/hukin-2015-0178
Key words
task constraints, tactical behaviours, GPS device, team sports, coaching

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