Science and Soccer

By Thomas Reilly; A. Mark Williams | Go to book overview

8

Biomechanics applied to soccer skills

Adrian Lees

Introduction

Sports biomechanics offers methods by which the very fast actions which occur in sport can be recorded and analysed in detail. There are various reasons for doing this. One is to understand the general mechanical effectiveness of the movement, another is the detailed description of the skill, yet another is an analysis of the factors underlying successful performance. An important application of sports biomechanics within any sport, and soccer in particular, is the definition and understanding of skills. This can help in the coaching process and as a result enhance the learning and performance of those skills.

There are a wide range of skills which form the foundation of soccer performance. Those which have been the subject of biomechanical analysis are the more technical ones which are concerned directly with scoring. For example in soccer, shooting at goal is an aspect of kicking and is the means by which goals are scored. Similarly, heading the ball and throwing-in can be important elements of attacking play, while goalkeeping skills are important in preventing goals.

Other skills are important in the game but have received much less attention in terms of biomechanical analysis. For example, kicking actions such as passing and trapping the ball, tackling, falling behaviour, jumping, running, sprinting, starting, stopping and changing direction are all important skills in soccer but have received little detailed analysis. The skills in other codes of football have similarly received little attention in terms of biomechanical analysis.

This chapter looks at those skills in which biomechanics has been successfully applied in order to gain an insight into their mechanical characteristics.


8.1Kicking

Kicking is without doubt the most widely studied skill in soccer. Although there are many variations of this skill due to ball type, ball speed and position, nature and intent of kick, the variant which has been most widely reported in the literature is the maximum velocity instep kick of a stationary ball. Essentially this corresponds to the penalty kick in soccer.

The mature form of the kicking skill has been described by Wickstrom (1975). It is characterized by placement of the supporting leg at the side and slightly behind the stationary ball. The kicking leg is first taken backwards and the leg flexes at the knee. The forward motion is initiated by rotating around the hip of the supporting leg and by bringing the kicking leg thigh forwards. The leg is still flexing at the knee at this stage. Once this initial action has taken place, the thigh begins to decelerate until it is essentially motionless at ball contact. During this deceleration, the shank vigorously extends about the knee to almost full

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Science and Soccer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • 1 - Introduction to Science and Soccer 1
  • Part 1 - Biology and Soccer 7
  • 2 - Functional Anatomy 9
  • 3 - Fitness Assessment 21
  • 4 - Physiology of Training 47
  • 5 - Motion Analysis and Physiological Demands 59
  • 6 - Nutrition 73
  • 7 - Different Populations 96
  • Part 2 - Biomechanics and Soccer Medicine 107
  • 8 - Biomechanics Applied to Soccer Skills 109
  • References 118
  • 9 - The Biomechanics of Soccer Surfaces and Equipment 120
  • 10 - Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation 136
  • 11 - Psychology and Injury in Soccer 148
  • 12 - Environmental Stress 165
  • Part 3 - Behavioural Science and Soccer 185
  • 13 - Coaching Science and Soccer 187
  • 14 - Skill Acquisition 198
  • 15 - Stress, Performance and Motivation Theory 214
  • References 227
  • 16 - Soccer Violence 230
  • Part 4 - Match Analysis 243
  • 17 - Notational Analysis 245
  • 18 - The Science of Match Analysis 265
  • 19 - Information Technology 276
  • References 283
  • Part 5 - Growth and Adolescence 285
  • 20 - Growth and Maturity Status of Young Soccer Players 287
  • 21 - Identifying Talented Players 307
  • Index 327
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