LaLiga Mediacoach

Analysing LaLiga Teams’ Footballing Minds

April 27, 2020

It’s common to see coaches pointing to their heads with their finger during matches, urging their players to think. But pushing a team to think as a collective is a different proposition altogether.

This challenge was recently taken up by the creators of Mediacoach, the real-time analytics platform available to all LaLiga clubs.

A group of researchers presented a study at the most recent OptaPro Forum in London which analyses how a team thinks as a group. This study was led by Javier M. Buldú and which featured the collaboration of LaLiga’s sporting investigations department and the Mediacoach team.

The idea was to compare footballers to neurons and analyse how the different players interrelate through passes just like a neuronal synapse. The result is a unique and deep level of insight that can help Spanish professional clubs to take performances to the next level.

Assessing passing style
Identifying patterns in a team’s own play or in that of an opponent can clearly help to boost collective performance. In the following graphic, for example, the ‘mind map’ of Quique Setién’s FC Barcelona is compared to that of José Bordalás’ Getafe CF from their meeting in the 24th round of the 2019/20 LaLiga Santander season, when FC Barcelona won the match 2-1.

In this graphic, the average position of the players is shown as well as the passing map. Greater thickness or colour represents a greater number of passes, but the analysis must also focus on the types of passes as well as the quantity. By introducing further indicators of style, it’s possible to have an even clearer vision of how a team thinks…

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LaLiga Mediacoach