The best football players have great awareness of their surroundings, even before receiving the ball. I started studying SCANNING in 1997. Since then, we have filmed & analyzed more than 250 professional players and 200 elite youth players. What have we learned? Thread 1/15.
We have produced 10 scientific publications on scanning in football, another 25 unpublished student theses/dissertations, and have discussed results with hundreds of players and coaches. Overall conclusion: The best players look at the game, others look (more) at the ball. 2/15
A player scans when temporarily directing face/eyes away from the ball, to prepare actions with the ball. High scan frequency (scans per second) is linked with higher pass completion and more progressive passes. Result holds across match situations. frontiersin.org/articles/10.33… 3/15
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is currently football’s number 1 penalty shooter disruptor. How? Here’s a brief historical & scientific analysis of 5 goalkeeper disruption techniques for penalty kicks, ending with Martinez’ “master class” last Saturday. Thread (1/10).
(1) Visual distraction technique. Goalkeepers sometimes engage in erratic movements to disturb the visual field of the shooter, command attention, and create disorder. Study shows players are 10% less likely to score when faced with distraction tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.10… (2/10)
Historically, visual distraction has been creatively and successfully used on many big occasions: Grobbelar’s wobbly knees (A), Dudek on the line (B), Krul warming up in the 18-yard box (C), & Everson taking a reverse knee (D). Key is being asymmetrical or unpredictable. (3/10)
11 seconds. Marcus Rashford. Nobody has EVER stood that long prior to a kick in a big tournament penalty shootout (for 45 years)! What does time spent standing still after the referee’s whistle say about performing under pressure? Thread about time, penalties, and Rashford (1/9)
Historically, quick is linked to misses; players sometimes seek relief from pressure and rush to the detriment of shot quality (sciencedirect.com/science/articl…). The 3 shootouts BEFORE the final support this; those who scored took considerably more time than those who missed (2/9)
This was reversed in the extraordinary penalty shootout in the final. ENG and ITA players who missed their penalties took unusually long time to start moving after the referee’s signal (on average), and noticeably longer than players who scored. Why the changed pattern? (3/9)
How do you control yourself under extreme pressure? Our research shows: football players who start their penalty kick run-up quickly have less probability of scoring than those who wait a few seconds. Thread with evidence from Copa America/Euros (1/4) researchgate.net/publication/22…
Players who scored their kicks in the 2021 Copa America penalty shootouts took on average 2.5 seconds to start after the referee’s whistle, while those who missed took 1.4 seconds. Paraguay’s Angel Romero (goal) with the longest wait: 6.3 seconds (2/4)
Players who scored in the Euros took on average 2.5 seconds to react to the whistle, those who missed took 0.9 seconds. Pogba & Belotti (goals) both waited 6.5 seconds. Notable players in a rush, who missed: Mbappé, Sergio Busquets, Rodri, and Morata – all below 0.5 seconds (3/4)
The penalty shootout in football is the essence of performing under pressure. I spent 5 years of my life studying the Psychology of this event. Here's what I learned, which can also help understanding it in the current Euros/Copa America. Thread based on 10 of our studies. (1/13)
We analyzed videos of EVERY SINGLE SHOOTOUT in the World Cup, Euro, and Champions League from 1976 to today, interviewed 25 players who were there, and personally tested predictions in practice with 15 elite teams. The unsurprising conclusion: This is a psychological game! (2/13)
Players in the World Cup, Euros, and Copa America miss more shots when pressure is high (late in the shootout), have lower shooting skill (defenders), are older than 23 yrs (younger players score more), and are fatigued (played 120 min). (3/13) Article: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17127587/