CAN JOKER PLAYERS FAVOR THE EXPLORATORY BEHAVIOUR IN FOOTBALL SMALL-SIDED GAMES?

Angel Ric, Robert Hristovski & Carlota Torrents

Football coaches usually introduce joker players during training drill. Common drills used in football are small-sided games (SSG) in order to reproduce the game but reducing the number of players, space and play time from the real match. This is a largely under-explored type of training method especially with respect to the question of its contribution in improving the tactical problem-solving skills and behaviour in players. The aim of this study was to preliminary identify how joker players may influence the exploratory efficiency of player’s tactical behaviour during SSG. To analyse it some simulations were created by systematically mixing experimentally obtained sequences of action configurations (patterns) with different time length performed during SSG developed under imbalanced conditions. Results confirmed that the timescale of tens of second is an optimal range on which the use of joker players can enlarge the breath of exploration of football players. This research provides a new rationale for involving joker players in practice task design.

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