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Spatial-temporal metrics to assess collective behavior in football: a systematic review and assessment of research quality and applicability.

Corsie, Martn; Craig, Thomas; Swinton, Paul Alan; Buchanan, Neil


Martn Corsie

Neil Buchanan


Extensive research has been conducted to investigate collective behaviour of football players using spatial-temporal data. The purpose of this systematic review was to synthesise and evaluate the applicability of this research by reviewing information presented in previous studies and its capacity to clearly describe the analysis approaches and practical applications of findings. Eighty-five studies were included in the review with approaches assigned to 4 categories of metrics (1: spaces; 2: distances; 3) position; 4: numerical relations) and 2 analysis methods (predictability and synchronisation). The review identified that authors descriptions of metrics generally focussed on operationalised definitions and provided limited translation to game scenarios or coaching strategies. Similarly, a substantive percentage of studies (22%) did provide any practical applications, and where these were provided, they were generally broad and provided limited actionable information that could be used directly by practitioners to inform training. Where specific applications were provided these were consistent with a dynamic systems perspective of collective behaviour and focused on organismic, environmental and task constraints that could be manipulated. The findings of the present review highlight the innovative practices of the research base and identify several areas for development to increase understanding and uptake in practice.


CORSIE, M., CRAIG, T., SWINTON, P.A. and BUCHANAN, N. 2021. Spatial-temporal metrics to assess collective behaviour in football: a systematic review and assessment of research quality and applicability. Journal of athletic enhancement [online], 10(8). Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 20, 2021
Online Publication Date May 31, 2021
Publication Date Aug 31, 2021
Deposit Date May 27, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 27, 2022
Journal Journal of athletic enhancement
Electronic ISSN 2324-9080
Publisher SciTechnol
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 8
Keywords Dynamic systems; Predictability; Synchronisation; Constraints based
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The citation for this article lists the volume as 10 and issue 8, however on the publisher's website it is found in volume 10, issue 4.


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