How defense performance affects the outcome of matches in elite futsal
Purpose: To identify and explain the link between futsal players’ situational efficiency in the defense phase and game outcome.
Methods: 111 elite futsal players (age 25.5 [4.7] y, start of training 16.9 [4.8] y, experience in playing competitively 5.2 [4.1] y from all 10 clubs of the 1st Croatian Minifootball Division took part in the research and were observed in all 45 games in the first half of the 2020/2021 season. The respondent sample is based on players who met the criteria of 600 seconds successive play. Therefore 90.24% of players were included in the study (11.1 [1.66] per club). With situational efficiency, the used pattern, defined as the game’s outcome, is the club’s competitive performance, goal difference. Predictor variables notated during the game as performance indicators are defense phase variables: knocking the ball away, taking away the ball and intercepting the ball, all with regard to the outcome: successful/failed.
Results: The results show a significant correlation between futsal players’ situational efficiency in defense phase and the game outcome. The correlation between predictor variables and the criteria variable of club competitive performance, goal difference in this research is a significant 0.40 (P = 0.02). Of all things determining goal difference in every game, in this case with 6 predictor variables, is explained with 16%.
Conclusions: Performance indicators in the defense phase, whose manifestation leads to a positive result, are unsuccessful ball interception and a successful action of knocking the ball away. This helps to conclude that the preparation of players with regards to efficient ball possession by reading the ball passing and intercepting the ball and temporarily stopping the opponent’s offense by knocking away the ball is of great importance because its quality can be link to performance.
Key words: situational efficiency, knocking the ball away, taking the ball away, intercepting the ball