Showing the Coach What He Can't See: Graphical Passing Networks as a Method of Soccer Team Analysis
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CitationKandaswamy, Suriya. 2020. Showing the Coach What He Can't See: Graphical Passing Networks as a Method of Soccer Team Analysis. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard College.
AbstractDespite being the most popular sport in the world, soccer has a relatively under- developed analysis space compared to some other sports. The low-scoring and passing-based nature of soccer makes it incredibly complex, but also makes it possible to characterize a team’s match activity as a passing network in the form of a math- ematical graph. We use passing networks and metrics developed for characterizing graphs in order to describe a soccer team’s performance overall and with respect to individual players by drawing analogies between graphs and passing relationships. Many of these metrics make it possible to compare a team’s performance between two different networks with respect to ball movement and strength of possession in terms of visual representations and quantifiable relationships. Contextualizing graphical differences between passing networks allows us to determine the effect of opponent and match features on team decision-making during the game. The most significant finding from this research is that a team’s ability to control ball flow and possession is significantly affected by an opposing team’s tactical choices, such as formation or halftime changes to formation, and these changes are both able to be visualized and measurable using a graph theoretical approach.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364740
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