Biology of Sport
eISSN: 2083-1862
ISSN: 0860-021X
Biology of Sport
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vol. 39
Review paper

Reference values for collective tactical behaviours based on positional data in professional football matches: a systematic review

Markel Rico-González
1, 2
José Pino-Ortega
2, 3
Julen Castellano
1, 4
José M. Oliva-Lozano
Asier Los Arcos
1, 4

Department of Physical Education and Sport, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
BIOVETMED & SPORTSCI Research group, Department of Physical activity and Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences,University of Murcia, San Javier Murcia, Spain
Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Murcia, San Javier, Spain
Society, Sports and Physical Exercise Research Group (GIKAFIT), Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Education and Sport, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Health Research Centre, University of Almería, Almería, Spain
Biol Sport. 2022;39(1):101–114.
Online publish date: 2021/03/06
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Match collective tactical behaviours can be used as a reference to design and select training strategies to improve individual and team performance in professional football. The aim of the systematic review was to cluster the collective tactical variables used to highlight and compare male soccer teams’ collective behaviour during professional official matches, providing reference values for each of them. A systematic review of relevant articles was carried out using three electronic databases (PubMed, SPORTdiscus and Web of Science). From a total of 1,187 studies initially found, 13 original articles were included in the qualitative synthesis. The articles found concerned studies carried out on the Spanish, Portuguese, English and Brazilian 1st divisions and during the European UEFA Champions League. The team length and width ranged from 31 to 46 m and from 35 to 48 m, respectively. The distance from a defending team’s goalkeeper to the nearest teammate ranged from 9 ± 6 to 30 ± 7 m, the goal line-recovery location from 27 to 37 m, and the opponent’s goal line from 42 to 50 m. The stretch index ranged from 7 to 16 m. Mean team area was ~900 m2 and the area of the pitch which included all outfield players divided by the 20 outfield players ranged from 79 ± 15 to 94 ± 16 m2 . All studies provided greater distance and area values during the team-possession phase in comparison to the non-possession one. The ball location on the pitch determined the collective tactical behaviour of the teams. The differences between halves in the distance and area values were contradictory. Further studies should assess the effect of the interaction between the contextual factors on the collective tactical behaviour to obtain more accurate references. This could help football coaches in the design of suitable training tasks to optimize tactical performance.

Soccer, Absolute values, Positioning, Tactic, Competition

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