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The art of anticipation

The ability to anticipate opponent movement is essential for any speed-based sport. When fast reactions are required, if the player waits to see the ball trajectory, it will be too late. So, the art of anticipation consists of foreseeing ball trajectory from the postural cues and movements of the opponent. It is to correctly predict the direction of the game. What stands out in athletes who have the ability to frequently anticipate is their intelligence and game vision, and even their age. It seems that they think several seconds ahead compared to the rest. These kinds of interventions have been qualified by the scientific literature as acting ‘on the border of impossible’. It is about an ability that today, in elite sports, is utterly decisive.

What is a good result in the first leg of the knock-out stage? The advantage of playing the second leg home

The same question comes up when approaching the end of the season and the knock-out stage starts to decide which team goes to the next round. Is it better to play the second leg home? Some coaches and players do prefer this. They think it is easier to change a bad result when being supported by the spectators. Others prefer playing home first to get a positive result that makes them feel confident for the second leg.

Creating the patterns of play that win matches

Football analytics isn’t just about numbers. It is about creating the patterns of play that win matches. Here, we look at how coaches can work with data scientists to do exactly that.

The evolution of physical and technical performance in LaLiga in the last ten years

As in so many other daily life activities, football also evolves. The combination of factors such as the modification of the game’s tactics and rules, use of new technologies, professionalisation of sports, or improvement in the players’ preparation has caused changes in the way of playing.

Matches without an audience. Did the advantage of being a home team disappear in football?

The health crisis caused by the COVID-19 has changed the daily lives of millions of people worldwide. Football is not away from this paralysis. After several months without matches, the competition returned and some changes were made: the players’ number for each game was extended, and the maximum number of substitutions was increased up to 5. Nevertheless, the biggest news is that the competition started to be held without an audience in the grandstands. What is the effect of playing behind closed doors? Is the field factor less critical when there are no fans pushing home teams?

The risks of returning to play in elite football after an injury

Professional football carries a high risk of injury, especially during matches. The injury rate is 7 times higher compared to training.1 In this context, having all the players healthy and ready to compete is one of the main preparation goals in top-level football. The monthly financial cost of an injury to a player from a team that participates in the Champions League is 500,000€.

Evelina Cabrera, a Barça Universitas student revolutionizing the women football scene

Meet Evelina Cabrera, a former professional football player, a current football coach and trainer, an activist transforming women’s football in Latin America, and in her spare time, a Barça Universitas student. We caught up with Evelina to talk about her studies, her on-going and future projects, and her views on the current and future situation of women’s football.

Paco Seirul·lo’s proposal to design a training session in team sports

The construction of the training session must start from a selection by the trainer of the objective to be achieved by the players. The aim is to build the session in a practical way, proposing exercises that generate learning conditions that allow athletes to improve themselves.

3 Do’s to become a better football coach.

As a coach your aim is to win matches, correct? You want your players to perform their best, don’t you? You need the team to play as if it was one entity, are we talking your language?

What does the way in which we celebrate a goal tell us?

Celebrating a goal is an excellent time to check the mental health of a team.1 Immediately after scoring a goal, the player and the team that has scored become the centre of attention of the audience and the media. The actions that football players do in those seconds of joy allow assessing a team’s internal functioning and checking cohesion among the players.