Linking Practice and Theory – Complex Systems in Sport Barcelona

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Here are my notes relating to what I spoke about in my part of the talk and presentation given at the Complex Systems in Sports Congress at Camp Nou Barcelona recently.

  • There is increasing acceptance that individual differences among learners need to be accounted for when we plan our training sessions and coaching interventions (Chow & Atencio, 2012).


  • Nonlinear pedagogy is particularly appealing in that it underpins a learner centred approach and the emergence of skills (Renshaw., 2013) Founded on the manipulation of individual, task and environmental constraints that impinge on young learners as they try to satisfy these constraints to facilitate information-movement couplings


  • We want to develop players with a better understand in the game rather than just of the game. We can achieve this through the deliberate designing IN of key affordances with which learners can interact during practice (Chow et al, 2016).


  • Football interactions are the players means to utilise affordances in the environment.


  • Viewed as a unified complex phenomena Football interactions in youth football, how players coordinate their behaviour in the game with the behaviour of others (social coordination) is an interacting, complex and emerging behaviour that can be considered as an adaptive function and can be captured in the term football interactions (O’Sullivan, Hörtin). Football Interactions (dribble, pass, running off the ball, tackling, closing space….)include all the interactions between the parts of a system. They are complex in the sense that they are the accomplishment of all the (sub) systems involved up to the point of perceiving and acting in the environment. Football interactions are always dependent on circumstances, are historical, cultural, situational and are the players means to utilise affordances on the environment.


  • The concept of football interactions applied in a nonlinear pedagogy can elucidate a more complete picture of the player-environment system and give us an understanding as to how we can design learning environments in youth football.

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