Showing posts with label Cutting Edge Research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cutting Edge Research. Show all posts

February 07, 2012

Where's all the football in football science?

Robbie's latest and greatest on the football website fourfourtwo (click here):

"In the last 20 years, we’ve witnessed a revolution in sports science and technology – identifying and fine-tuning almost every aspect of the modern footballer. But to me there’s something missing. Where’s the football in all this football science? ... "


October 19, 2011

In The Conversation, October 2011

And just in case you haven't been following our latest and greatest soccer research, here's a piece we wrote for The Conversation - including a review of the biggest dive in history!

October 06, 2011

Tackling the Problem of Diving in Football

Some consider it an art form, others cheating. Whatever your thoughts, diving by soccer players is one of the most controversial and despised actions in sport. Diving represents a deliberate attempt to deceive the referee, with players falling – even rolling around - to suggest they’ve been illegally fouled. Diving has long been a source of embarrassment for the world’s most popular sport, yet even football’s governing body (FIFA) has had little success at stamping out this behaviour.

University of Queensland PhD student Gwendolyn David, along with her supervisor Dr Robbie Wilson and other UQ colleagues have taken a fresh look at diving behaviour in an attempt to identify the mechanisms that can be used to control it.

In a study published this week in the prestigious open-access journal, PLOS One [] these researchers explored the behaviour of soccer players and referees in the context of animal signalling theory. “Theory predicts that deceptive behaviour should occur only when the prospective benefits outweigh the costs and when the risk of detection is low,” says Ms David. “So we expected that deception would be driven by the potential payoffs and would be limited by punishment.”

David undertook a play-by-play examination of 60 matches across six high-profile professional leagues to see when and where players faked fouls, and when they were likely to get away with it (or not). She found that – as predicted - diving occurred most often when the potential payoff was greater: namely, in the offensive side of the field and when the two teams had tied scores.

But the most exciting result came from looking between the leagues. “We found that players dived more often in leagues where referees were more likely to reward dives with a free-kick or penalty,” says Dr Wilson.

This means that when referees don’t detect or punish diving then dives are more common. “The most effective means of controlling deception, whether it’s a footballer or an animal, is via punishment. But, of the more than 2800 falls we observed and the 169 dives, we never once saw a diving player punished,” says David.

“Our results clearly show that reducing deception in sports like soccer is largely up to the referee and governing bodies. Players will try to deceive referees when the benefits are high, but better detection and administration of punishment may help reduce its prevalence” says Dr Wilson.
“Some progressive professional leagues, such as the Australian A-League and American MLS, have already started handing down punishments for players found guilty of diving. This is the best way to decrease the incentive for diving,” said Dr Robbie Wilson.
For more information on the study or for interviews, please contact Dr Robbie Wilson (Senior Researcher) at +61 458204962 or [email protected]. For other information on this research group’s work see the lab website:

May 29, 2011

Round 12 UQFC vs Redlands Highlights

More UQ highlights!

Round 12 UQFC vs Redlands (Premier)
Round 12 UQFC vs Redlands (Reserves)

February 10, 2011

Diving in Salt Lake City

Recently Robbie (and some of the students in the lab) attended the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At the conference, Robbie presented some research on the dishonest diving behaviour of soccer players under different conditions. Specifically, the study focused on when diving pays off - versus

January 31, 2011

Testing Player Skill in Coventry City Football Academy

Recently, Robbie was in Coventry (UK) for a week working with Dr. Rob James from Coventry University. Robbie and Rob have been long-time collaborators in the area of performance ... and this time their work took them to the Coventry City Football Academy.

They tested several

October 12, 2010

Measuring Individual Performance in a Team Context

Let’s do a quick test:

Name one player from Manchester United.
Was it Wayne Rooney?

And one for Barcelona.
Was it Lionel Messi?

And, finally, how about a player from the Socceroos?
Was it Harry Kewell?

You get the point. Teams almost always have a ‘face,’

September 30, 2010

Managing Player Training Load and Match Fitness with GPS Technology

Professional soccer players are often glamourised in the media – clubs spend a lot of money on them for what’s sometimes seen as 90 minutes of occasional work. But that’s far from the reality. Many European club players will play up to 60 – 70 games a year in various competitions, championships, and national teams. Games are energetically demanding and physically rough. Outside of games, players must maintain their fitness – and avoid injury.

Injuries cost clubs millions of dollars every year, and one of the greatest contributors to soccer injury is fatigue. This is not the same sort of fatigue we all feel
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