ABSTRACT

The need for accurate and objective feedback has been well researched and documented (e.g. Franks et al., 1983). Notation systems have been utilised in a number of sports (Downey, 1973; Reilly and Thomas, 1976; Sanderson, 1983). The development of the microcomputer has led to rapid, objective 'easy-to-use' systems that can produce large amounts of data post-event (Franks et al., 1983; Franks and Goodman, 1986; Hughes, 1985a; 1985b). Recent work on soccer by Church and Hughes(1987) reported elsewhere at this Congress, demonstrated that Liverpool F.C. in the 1986 season played in the same pattern whether winning or losing. Different teams may therefore have their own unique pattern of play. There is some debate within the game about the significance of the observation that the majority of goals are scored from three-pass attacking moves. Although this statistic is a result of an analysis of attacking moves only, its interpretation has promoted a particular style of play (Reep and Benjamin, 1968). This study set out to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful teams by examining the main characteristics of their play when in possession of the ball.