Zonal playfield attributes – A stochastic approach to subjective passing affordances in football

Steiner, Silvan; Scherer, Marco (18 February 2016). Zonal playfield attributes – A stochastic approach to subjective passing affordances in football (Unpublished). In: 8th Annual SGS/4S-Conference. Bern, Switzerland. 18.-19.02.2016.

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According to the ecological view, coordination establishes byvirtueof social context. Affordances thought of as situational opportunities to interact are assumed to represent the guiding principles underlying decisions involved in interpersonal coordination. It’s generally agreed that affordances are not an objective part of the (social) environment but that they depend on the constructive perception of involved subjects. Theory and empirical data hold that cognitive operations enabling domain-specific efficacy beliefs are involved in the perception of affordances. The aim of the present study was to test the effects of these cognitive concepts in the subjective construction of local affordances and their influence on decision making in football.

71 football players (M = 24.3 years, SD = 3.3, 21 % women) from different divisions participated in the study. Participants were presented scenarios of offensive game situations. They were asked to take the perspective of the person on the ball and to indicate where they would pass the ball from within each situation. The participants stated their decisions in two conditions with different game score (1:0 vs. 0:1). The playing fields of all scenarios were then divided into ten zones. For each zone, participants were asked to rate their confidence in being able to pass the ball there (self-efficacy), the likelihood of the group staying in ball possession if the ball were passed into the zone (group-efficacy I), the likelihood of the ball being covered safely by a team member (pass control / group-efficacy II), and whether a pass would establish a better initial position to attack the opponents’ goal (offensive convenience). Answers were reported on visual analog scales ranging from 1 to 10. Data were analyzed specifying general linear models for binomially distributed data (Mplus). Maximum likelihood with non-normality robust standard errors was chosen to estimate parameters.

Analyses showed that zone- and domain-specific efficacy beliefs significantly affected passing decisions. Because of collinearity with self-efficacy and group-efficacy I, group-efficacy II was excluded from the models to ease interpretation of the results. Generally, zones with high values in the subjective ratings had a higher probability to be chosen as passing destination (βself-efficacy = 0.133, p < .001, OR = 1.142; βgroup-efficacy I = 0.128, p < .001, OR = 1.137; βoffensive convenience = 0.057, p < .01, OR = 1.059). There were, however, characteristic differences in the two score conditions. While group-efficacy I was the only significant predictor in condition 1 (βgroup-efficacy I = 0.379, p < .001), only self-efficacy and offensive convenience contributed to passing decisions in condition 2 (βself-efficacy = 0.135, p < .01; βoffensive convenience = 0.120, p < .001).

The results indicate that subjectively distinct attributes projected to playfield zones affect passing decisions. The study proposes a probabilistic alternative to Lewin’s (1951) hodological and deterministic field theory and enables insight into how dimensions of the psychological landscape afford passing behavior. Being part of a team, this psychological landscape is not only constituted by probabilities that refer to the potential and consequences of individual behavior, but also to that of the group system of which individuals are part of. Hence, in regulating action decisions in group settings, informers are extended to aspects referring to the group-level.

Lewin, K. (1951). In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Field theory in social sciences: Selected theoretical papers by Kurt Lewin. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Steiner, Silvan


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




Silvan Steiner

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2016 13:39

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:54





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