Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Tactics-based water polo training

Salvatore Napolitano, Daniela Tursi, Pio Alfredo Di Tore, Gaetano Raiola



Notational analysis quantifies the technical and tactical playing aspects of a game through game-related statistics based mainly on frequencies and effectiveness percentages (Lozovina et al., 2004). Several studies applied the notational analysis technique to water polo (Argudo et al., 2007; Hughes et al., 2006). This work concerns the assessment of tactical aspects in high performance water polo trough performance analysis. The analysis was conducted on 9 matches of the Italian Serie A1 Women's Water Polo played by Volturno. Tactical patterns suggested by the coach were compared with tactical patterns implemented during the game and to actions outcome, in order to acquire elements useful to create a codified tactic system. The results showed a positive correlation between the compliance of tactical patterns implemented during playing with patterns designed by the coach and the final outcome of the action. The data recruitment has been entrusted to the performance analysis, conducted by a team of performance analysts, coaches and statisticians. The video analysis of matches was conducted using the Dartfish TeamPro software. The measurement involved the following technical and tactical parameters: frequency of occurrence of actions, time duration, average number of players involved and passes, frequency of occurrence of turnovers, and frequency of occurrence of number, result, position and type of conclusions. The assessment of compliance for the tactical patterns has prescribed by the coach with the tactical patterns implemented in training session, based on previously determined parameters. The performance analysis was performed to evaluate parameters as frequency of occurrence of actions, time duration, number, result, position and type of shots in relation to tactical patterns, and an evaluation table was constructed by combining the Boolean evaluation of the coach on the compliance of patterns with the action final outcome. The results show a positive and statistically significant correlation coefficient between tactical compliance and action outcome. The result showed a significant correlation between the tactical patterns compliance and offensive effectiveness. This correlation confirmed the need of developing a common methodology for teaching and training water polo through tactics.




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