Implicit and explicit coordination mechanisms in youth football: temporal adaptations in team cognition and correlations to team performance

Blaser, Marc; Seiler, Roland (28 November 2017). Implicit and explicit coordination mechanisms in youth football: temporal adaptations in team cognition and correlations to team performance. In: BASES-FEPSAC Conference 2017. Nottingham UK. 28.-29.11.2017.

Members of a sport team ideally coordinate their actions in a way, that the desired outcome is reached as efficient as possible (Eccles and Tenenbaum, 2004, Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 26, 542-560). However, flowing and efficient team action or plays without any coordination errors (e.g. bad pass) are differently coined in sport teams. Particularly in interactive team sports (e.g. football) which are characterised by highly complex, dynamic and uncertain situations, it is an advantage to share a common understanding concerning potential future actions. Otherwise, team members have to communicate (e.g. verbally) their thoughts and ideas what might be impossible due to time pressure and cognitive costs. The aim of the study was twofold: Firstly, we were interested how common understanding (implicit coordination mechanism) and verbal communication (explicit coordination mechanism) develop over time and practice and secondly, how the more appropriate implicit mechanism is related with team performance variables. With institutional ethics approval, 32 under 18 and under 21 youth football players (male, mean age: 17.8 ± 1.1) performed a football task in teams of two. The task consisted of passing and running elements that are common in football. After a training phase and before two testing phases, players evaluated their actions and the actions of their assigned teammates regarding action type, location, and timing. Out of these evaluations, an accordance index of common understanding was computed. Furthermore, verbal communication during the task was recorded and the whole task itself was videotaped. Team performance variables consisted of time to finish the task, fluidity (e.g. direct passing) and frequency of errors. Results show on one hand that common understanding significantly increased over time and practice (η2 = .56, P = .001). On the other hand, verbal communication was reduced, but not on a significant level (η2 = .13, P = .164). Furthermore, no significant correlations were found with quantitative team performance variables (e.g. time). Nonetheless, accordance index was significantly correlated with qualitative team performance measures (e.g. fluidity-error-coefficient; R2 = .261, P = .043). The preliminary results indicate a link between implicit and explicit coordination mechanisms: when common understanding increases, verbal communication decreases. Additionally, the correlation between common understanding and team performance is only apparent when qualitative aspects are considered. Further investigation is needed to uncover the oblique relations.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Science II

UniBE Contributor:

Blaser, Marc Andreas and Seiler, Roland


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Marc Andreas Blaser

Date Deposited:

30 Jan 2018 14:42

Last Modified:

20 Feb 2018 08:36


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