How the “rapport de forces” evolves in a soccer match: the dynamics of collective decisions in a complex system

Jean-Francis Greihaine, Paul Godbout, Zeineb Zerai


This article discusses the contribution of dynamics to the study of complex systems with regards to performance analysis in soccer. Evaluation tools are presented to better understand how the “rapport de forces” evolves with perturbations of play, contraction / expansion phases of game play, and possession of the ball. It is hypothesized that application of these tools and models may enable researchers and trainers to efficiently analyze configurations of play and identify those that appear to be critical for success. All things considered, nothing may be fundamentally understood about team sports if one does not shift from a spatial to temporal reference system. It makes it possible to bring to light the system’s evolving trends. This way, it is possible to understand how players produce functional behaviors or answers to momentary configurations of play, whatever their complexity.

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Copyright (c) 1970 Jean-Francis Greihaine, Paul Godbout, Zeineb Zerai