AFFORDANCE-BASED DECISIONS GUIDE TEAM SYNERGIES DURING MATCH PERFORMANCE

Duarte Araújo, Pedro Silva, João Paulo Ramos

Performance of expert teams is distinguished from lower skill team performance by achievement of high levels of task outcomes, with effective and adaptive interactions between team members. Team performance analysis has gained prominence in the last decade. One variant, notational analysis has been used to objectively audit the behaviours of performers during different sub-phases of play, providing additional information to practitioners to improve future sports performance. Recently, there have been criticisms of these methods, arguing the need for a sound theoretical rationale to explain performance behaviours, rather than simply document outcomes. These artificially articulated performance parameters are recorded in a discrete sequential fashion and fail to appropriately explain performances outcomes. Recently, ecological dynamics has been used to understand behaviour at the performer- environment scale by analysing the emergent patterns of coordination under constraints. Specific constraints like the players’ individual characteristics, strategy and coaching, may impact on the functional and goal-directed synergies formed by players during performance. However, these informational constraints merely shape the perception of shared affordances available for players, which underpin the assembly of interpersonal synergies expressed in collective actions. These group processes form synergies, where their properties can be used to inform the meaning of variables like team centre, team dispersion, team synchrony, labour division, and team communication. These team variables have revealed that effective teams tend to be tightly synchronised in their movements when they are successful. Developments in methods of analysis of expert team performance can benefit from a theoretical approach that situates and traces relevant team processes. Here we suggest ecological dynamics is an alternative to more conventional operational methods of performance analysis that merely document performance statistics.

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