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J Sports Sci. 2012;30(13):1447-54. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2012.712716. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Practice task design in team sports: representativeness enhanced by increasing opportunities for action.

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Department of Sport Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Convento de S. António, Covilhã 6200-001, Portugal.


This study investigated effects of manipulating the number of action possibilities in a futsal passing task to understand the representativeness of practice tasks designs. Eight male senior futsal players performed a passing task in which uncertainty on passing direction for the player in possession of the ball was increased in four conditions and compared with passing data from a competitive match. Performance during a passing task and competitive futsal performance was compared using ball speed and passing accuracy data. Ball speed data were analysed by approximate entropy (ApEn) to capture their regularity in each of the four conditions and during competitive performance. Significantly high levels of regularity were observed in predetermined passes in comparison with emergent passes (i.e., passes with high number of possibilities for action). Similar results for ball speed regularity were observed between practice tasks with a high number of possibilities for action (i.e., emergent passes) and competitive performance. Similar results were observed for passing accuracy in practice tasks with a high number of possibilities for action compared to competitive performance. Increases in the number of action possibilities during practice improved action fidelity of tasks in relation to competitive performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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