September 16, 2010

Welcome to The Science of Soccer

Welcome to The Science of Soccer! I'm a university researcher and long-time soccer player who has managed to combine these two passions at last. To introduce myself, I thought I'd post the bit from the 'Who We Are' page of the website that talks about who I am and what my aims in this work are. 



Here it is:

Historically, studies of performance are primarily based on athletic traits, such as sprinting times in Olympic athletes or swimming speed in fish. Quite simply, these performance traits are commonly studied because they are simple to measure. However, I believe that athleticism gives us only part of the picture for understanding what makes an individual successful in team sports. My research takes what, I think, is a more comprehensive approach for understanding human performance by incorporating analyses of skill.

Look at any professional soccer player in a game scenario, and you can see that skill is important to performance. Skill is appreciated by athletic coaches and players, but has not been satisfactorily studied in an evidence-based, scientific context. I am committed to bringing a scientific approach to understanding the basis of soccer performance.

At the heart of my philosophy to soccer research is the idea that if you want to improve an individual’s performance then you must first begin by measuring it, and this includes measuring an individual's skill. Only by measuring performance can you begin to assess whether a specific training regime is an effective tool for player development or an individual has unambiguously improved. Without using an evidence-based approach for identifying the best and most effective tools for training, then the development of players is simply left to pseudo-science and conjecture. I believe that those countries with the best talent development strategies that have been refined through scientific assessment will be those that dominate world football in 20 yrs time. My hope is that Australia will take the lead in such evidence-based soccer science.

If you're interested in discussing my research into soccer performance further, please contact me at the School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia 4072 on +61 7 3365 2773 or at r.wilson@uq.edu.au.

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