Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Soccer as an Art

Followers of soccer frequently criticize the game as lacking creativity and flair. Some critics may go so far as to blame use of scientific methods by soccer teams for lack of entertainment. Underlying these points is the fact that soccer at top level has an obligation to entertain the viewing public but financial rewards to the players depend on their securing victory. Consequently fear of failure to win may motivate players to err on the side of caution and emphasize defence rather than attack. The negative emphasis on preventing the opposition from playing to its strength may leave the ‘fans’ disenchanted.

The coach and trainer may use scientific information to avoid errors and to maximizethe chances of preparing the team well. The style of play and choice of tactics are judgements made by the coach on the basis of the best available information about his own team, the opposition and the playing conditions. The scientific support may be utilized to guide the right course for the practitioner and so in no sense is science taking over control of the game.

The professional soccer player is comparable with the actor in that hours of practice or rehearsal underpin the preparation for public performance. The expertise of the player or actor is judged largely on a subjective basis by a critical audience or attendance of the public event.

Español: Diego Armando Maradona, en el partido...

That soccer itself is an art rather than a science is exemplified by the craft of great players like Johann Cruyff or Brazil’s Romario, the guile of Diego Maradona or Franco Baresi. The game is aleatory and is partly determined by chance. This uncertainty of outcome is part of its appeal.

A scientific approach towards preparation for play can nevertheless enhance the enjoyment of both players and spectators. It can achieve this by enabling the team to play to its potential. This realization of possibilities can apply to the recreational player participating for pleasure, or the professional playing for material reward. It can apply to the parents gaining satisfaction from watching talented offspring at play or to the home supporter whose zeal may border on prejudice. It is this microcosm that is subjected to scientific scrutiny in the chapters that follow.
Science and Soccer
By: Thomas Reilly
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