The effect of substitutions on team tactical behavior in professional soccer

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Player substitutions are one of the main options for the coach to change tactical behavior of his team. Purpose: The present study therefore investigates the effect of player substitutions on tactical behavior in high-performance soccer using positional data. Method: The sample consisted of 659 substitutions from 234 matches played in the German Bundesliga during the season 2016–2017. Substitutions were classified either as neutral (n = 485), defensive (n = 45), or offensive (n = 129) according to the player’s roles. The teams’ tactical behavior before and after each substitution was analyzed using team centroid, inter-team centroid distance, team length and width, length per width (LpW) ratio, stretch index, and space control for the whole pitch and for each third as the dependent variables. Results: The linear mixed model analysis showed different effects for neutral, defensive, and offensive substitutions. Teams displayed significantly lower stretch index after defensive substitutions. LpW ratio increased with neutral and offensive substitutions, while inter-team distance decreased. The position of the team centroid, space control in the middle third and in the attacking third were also greater following an offensive substitution. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that player substitutions effectively change tactical behavior of teams. Soccer coaches should perform more offensive substitutions to elicit a higher defensive pressure and improve goal-scoring opportunities, especially due to greater space control in the attacking third. In contrast, defensive substitutions can be used to increase defensive effectiveness through increases in team compactness.
OriginalspracheEnglisch
ZeitschriftResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Seitenumfang9
ISSN0270-1367
DOIs
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung. - 15.10.2020

ID: 5597865

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