Team sport is a type of sport that involves players from opposing sides competing against each other to achieve a goal. This goal often entails facilitating the movement of a ball or other similar object according to specific rules. Some examples of team sports include basketball, soccer, rugby and handball. Team sports are popular and can help to improve an individual’s fitness levels. They can also help to build social and mental wellbeing and reduce stress.
Team sports require a lot of time and effort to prepare for and participate in, which can be a challenge for individuals who may have other responsibilities in their lives. However, the rewards of playing a team sport can be tremendous, including increased motivation and improved health and wellbeing. This is especially true for young children and adolescents who can benefit from the positive effects of team sport on their physical, cognitive and emotional development.
A number of different tracking systems can be used to provide data on an athlete’s performance during training and matches. Practitioners are besieged by metrics derived from such technology and it is important that these are carefully selected for use in particular sports. An appropriate approach to this process requires a critical thinking process, with a dose of healthy scepticism and awareness of relevant theoretical frameworks where possible.
The following considerations are highlighted for a range of team sports:
Basketball is an intermittent field sport with an emphasis on high-speed running, accelerations and decelerations. The size of the playing area, positional characteristics, game rules and timing structure are unique to this sport and are likely to influence its suitability for tracking system-derived metrics. For example, it could be argued that measuring absolute high-speed running (HSR) is not appropriate for a player in basketball because the court’s dimensions limit its utility.
Ice hockey is an intermittent collision sport that combines high-intensity bouts of skating with rapid changes in speed and direction and technical demands, such as puck control and evading defenders. It is characterised by its unique timing structure, which includes multiple stoppages and commercial breaks. This may limit the application of GPS or optical tracking in competitive settings, although it is possible that these technologies have their place in a coach’s toolkit for training purposes.
Netball is a complex and dynamic intermittent sport, with a range of skill-based actions and frequent scoring. It is a highly technical sport that offers opportunity for the layering of tracking data on top of rich contextual information, such as behavioural measures of psychological flow and a systemic approach to analysing elite netball. These considerations are highlighted to illustrate the importance of a holistic and context-driven approach to metric selection and the value of overlaid information. This is particularly important in a sporting environment where stakeholders (e.g., coaches) need simple, actionable feedback and timely insights. This will help to avoid a detrimental gap between available information and its impact in applied sport settings.