SMALL-SIDED GAMES IN FOOTBALL. ARE ADAPTATIONS THE SAME FOR PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS AND AMATEURS?
Small-sided games (SSG) are very common training tasks for any team.
Technical staff increasingly consider the player’s orientation as a determining characteristic in obtaining a positional advantage during a match. Optimal orientation to correspond with specific situations can be taught and learned during training.
Recent studies in team sports have focused on tactical analysis using player positioning, obtained both by optical tracking and by GPS; but, as far as we know, data regarding a player’s orientation have not yet been provided or analyzed from a quantitative point of view.
We have designed and implemented a sequential function for the field of sports analysis and technology, represented in Figure 1, which predicts the orientation of all players on the playing field through the use of a panoramic video.
Our function first splits the panoramic video into frames. Then, for each frame, it cuts out the players and for each cut-out it estimates the player’s 2D pose (skeleton) using an Artificial Intelligence technique, Machine Learning, which allows it to process information through the use of examples.
Once the 2D pose has been estimated, an orientation proposal is made for the trimming of that frame using another Artificial Intelligence technique. As a final step in our function, we combine a player’s orientations over a series of time intervals in order to create a more consistent orientation.
Incorporating the orientation of each player during the match would generate multiple benefits to improve current space-time analyses such as space control, pass probability, defensive pressure and other models that depend on players’ movement and positioning over time.
Our proposal has been evaluated both visually and numerically against a portable tracking system (RealTrack System), the data of which has already been validated.
Figure 2 shows the visual evaluation. The orientation of a random frame of six selected players (one center-back, one midfielder and one forward per team) is displayed. The green arrow corresponds to the orientation of the tracking device and the yellow arrow corresponds to the orientation predicted by our function.
In order to analyze numerically, we calculated, per minute, the number of meters that each player travels looking forward, backward and sideways. The graphs in Figure 3 show the differences between the two data sources.
The advantages of obtaining the orientation through the panoramic video instead of from the tracking device are that players do not have to carry any device on them, you can obtain the orientation of rival players and you can obtain the orientation of previously played matches where there was only video.
This type of analysis could help coaching staff identify player shortcomings in terms of body orientation relative to their position, or difficulties in the team’s ability to have more fluidity in the game.
Sports Analysis and Technology, FC Barcelona
Mental abilities, although not yet fully appreciated, are already considered a relevant part of performance. But their importance could go beyond that: Do they also influence the injury risk, including recurrence, once the player returns to play?
Although several studies have tried to evaluate the characteristics of the risk of injury in handball players, they have been unable to reach sufficiently reliable conclusions. A new study of all the FC Barcelona handball categories has attempted to shed more light on the subject.
Although there are several studies on this topic, many of them have analyzed these demands by looking at just a few variables or using very broad timeframes. A new study completed by physical trainers from F.C. Barcelona has analyzed several of these details more closely.
An article published in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine —in which members of the club’s medical services participated— now suggests to consider the detailed structure of the area affected, and treating the extracellular matrix as an essential player in the prognosis of the injury.
In this article, Tim Gabbett and his team provide a user-friendly guide for practitioners when describing the general purpose of load management to coaches.
For the first time, it has been demonstrated that it does not take months of training to significantly improve both muscle volume and strength; instead, two weeks of an appropriate exercise are enough.
Training using eccentric exercises is important to prevent possible damage. However, intensive training can also cause muscle damage, so it is critical to be vigilant in order to keep injury risk to an absolute minimum.
Cardiovascular endurance manifests as a moderator of the load result to which the athlete is exposed.