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Improving football skills using data-mining

Using positional data to determine which tactics lead to a successful attack? Rens Meerhoff, researcher at the Sports Data Center of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), has been using data-mining to analyse football tactics for several years. In Friesch Dagblad he explains the importance of using data in football.

Positional data

Together with scientists in the Netherlands and Brazil, Meerhoff is working on the project ‘The secret of playing football: Brazil versus the Netherlands’. This project uses positional data, which provides information on the positions of the players and the ball at any moment in the game. Using this data, he is trying to find football tactics that are most successful to reach the penalty area.

Live data analysis

The data is now mainly used to support and confirm what football experts are saying. Meerhoff thinks that this could be different ten years from now: ‘Eventually the staff may receive realtime information to work with. Based on this live data, the trainer can get a signal that something needs to happen.’

The full interview (in Dutch) is available on the website of Friesch Dagblad.

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