Contextual effects on the free kick performance: a case study with a Portuguese professional soccer team
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of match status and quality of opposition on performance and subsequent success of free kicks in matches of a Portuguese professional soccer team. 2. METHODS The sample consisted of 89 free kicks, marked in the offensive field, in ten matches of the Portuguese Professional Soccer League and Portugal Cup 2009/2010 played by the observed team. The free kicks were classified as ‘successful’, ‘unsuccessful’ and ‘neutral’, according to the development of the play, from the free kick to the end of ball possession. To facilitate the analysis, the playing field was divided into four equal parts: the defensive zone (DZ), defensive midfielder zone (DMZ), offensive midfielder zone (OMZ), and offensive zone (OZ).