Current Students Projects
Perceptual and Cognitive Training (Adam Beavan BSc Honours, Canada)
When watching elite football, there are many occasions when the players display moments of sporting brilliance. For example, the ‘no look pass’ is one of many examples of how athletes demonstrate their exceptional ability to monitor the activities and positions of multiple players simultaneously. Moreover, success in team-sports requires the athletes to understand how those positions will change over time, and even predict what their opponents' next moves will be. These abilities can be attributed to the athlete’s high levels of experience and how well they can ‘read the game’. Since 1965, psychologists have attempted to examine what perceptual-cognitive abilities expert athletes possess in order to achieve such a skill. Yet despite the large body of literature, the question of whether training these abilities transfers to in-game performance remains. Therefore, the doctoral project aims to address this question, and attempt to strengthen the link between improvements in both perceptual-cognitive skills and transfer these skills to in-game performance. The project is conducted in cooperation with the German Football-Federation as well as TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Football club, and designed as a joint degree in cooperation with the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
Infectious diseases in football (Monica Duarte Munoz, Physician, Msc, Mexico)
Football players undergo transient modifications in immune function after training or a playing. To date, the clinical impact of said modifications has not yet been clearly established. However, they may signify impairment in immune function that might render football players prone to infectious diseases, which in turn cause a decrease in performance and, more importantly, time loss. Although most research has focused on injuries, infections are the second most important cause of time loss in football. Moreover, training or playing during an infectious episode can have catastrophic consequences (e.g. myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy).
Therefore, it is important to determine the magnitude of the alterations occurring in immune function in football players as well as their potential clinical repercussions. This doctoral project aims to identify the impact of football training and gameplay on the immune system and whether or not this can translate to an increase in the risk of infectious illnesses.
Development of an automatic system for match and atraining analysis (Mat Herold, BSc, MSc, USA)
Investigate the applicability of using machine learning for coaches and analysts in professional football. Machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to detect meaningful patterns based on positional data, is a relatively new concept in football and little is known about its usefulness to identify performance metrics that determine match outcome. Concurrently, a demand has been identified to further understand offensive principles in order to create more goal-scoring chances. Through combining the work of data scientists with coaches and match analysts, the aim is to discover where machine learning can improve upon the applied knowledge and practices related to attacking play. The project is conducted in cooperation with the German Football-Federation.
Physiological Profiling of Female Football (Ross Julian BSc MSc, England)
In recent years, the level of professionalism and participation within female football has rapidly increased. With the game no longer in its infancy; there has been an increase in both the interest afforded to, and scientific research in, many aspects of female football. Presently, the majority of research has been conducted on the physical characteristics, physiological responses to training and match play and, more extensively injuries in female football. However, unaccounted for in many of these studies are the physiological properties which are independent for females and therefore accuracy and practicality of the results may be effected.
Therefore, the doctoral project in the realms of physiological profiling in female football, explores these unique occurrences which are individual to females. The main outcome investigates whether the different stages and, the fluctuation of hormones (with corresponding changes in physiological response) throughout the menstrual cycle impacts physical football performance and whether this can be managed.
Individualising Fatigue & Recovery in Football (Denny Noor BSc Honours, Australia)
In elite football, the assessment of current player fatigue status is a critical task aimed at fine-tuning training prescriptions that balance training load and sufficient rest, in order to maximize player adaptation and/or performance. At present, research concerning this topic has fixated primarily on identifying valid and reliable surrogate measures of fatigue, without any definitive solution. Additionally, growing awareness of the need to consider player individuality when assessing fatigue status has been recommended. However, no clear individualized monitoring approach has yet to be proposed, with current fatigue diagnostics predominantly based on group means and main effects that provide only arbitrary standards or normal ranges for fatigue markers.
Therefore, the intent of the doctoral project will be to explore an individualized approach to fatigue monitoring in football. With the primary research aim to provide a valid and reliable determination of fatigue status in football players, using selected fatigue-related parameters that are longitudinally examined in order to establish individual-based reference ranges and thresholds. The project is designed as a joint degree in cooperation with the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
Muscle Injuries in Football (Ida Bo Steendahl BSc MSc, Denmark)
Within both professional and amateur football, muscle injuries continues to be a problem, with an unacceptably high rate of recurrent injuries. Within prevention research, there are a few different facets to consider. For muscle injuries, the main aspects focus on epidemiology, primary and secondary prevention. Epidemiology is an important factor, since the first step to achieve a prevention strategy, is to clearly define the problem. Primary prevention covers the actions taken to prevent muscle injuries in the first place, and secondary prevention regards the processes following an injury up until return to play and any further precautions taken to prevent re-injury. This doctoral project will therefore have a multifaceted approach incorporating all three aspects, while aiming to bridge the gap between the scientific literature and the applied settings of football. The project is conducted in cooperation with the German Football-Federation.
Mental Fatigue in Football (Chris Thompson BSc PgCert, England)
The physiological, technical and skill demands of elite football have been found to be very high, resulting in training and match induced fatigue. However, the vast majority of the literature has only investigated the effects of physiological related fatigue. “Fatigue” is a broad, subjective personal feeling and can be experienced both physically and mentally. Mental fatigue is an additional feeling of fatigue which is typically experienced following periods of intense cognitive exposure (i.e. high job workloads). Whilst research in mental fatigue dates back to 1891, only in recent years has this phenomenon been tested in football performance, with little still known on the subject. The current PhD study looks to investigate the cause of mental fatigue in elite football players, the effects of mental fatigue on football match play and interventions that may reduce the effects of mental fatigue. The project is conducted in cooperation with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Football club, and designed as a joint degree in cooperation with the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.