Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

Individual Ball Possession in Soccer

Video average time a soccer player has the ball

Technological innovations in sports have led to an abundance of data, creating new challenges for analysis. In soccer, traditional performance indicators are often limited in their usefulness. Recent advances have focused on developing more intelligent performance indicators that model interactions between teams or players, use network approaches, or employ machine learning techniques. Another emerging approach is to analyze ball possession on an individual level.

Ball possession is a fundamental concept in soccer performance analysis. Successful teams not only have a greater share of ball possession but also longer periods of possession. However, possessing the ball does not guarantee success, as teams may adapt their tactics depending on the game situation. Ball possession is influenced by contextual factors such as the venue, opponent quality, tactical configuration, and current score.

While ball possession data is commonly collected at the team level, there is a lack of studies on individual ball possession. This paper aims to fill that gap by describing how individual ball possession data can be collected and evaluated. The methods presented here are validated using manually collected reference data.

Collecting and Evaluating Individual Ball Possession

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The paper presents computational models for calculating various types of ball possession at the individual level. These models can be used by scientific research groups analyzing tactics, as well as by coaches and analysts looking to improve their performance analysis capabilities.


Applications of the Models

The models for individual ball possession have several applications. They can help analyze tactics, identify player strengths and weaknesses, and provide insights into player decision-making on the field. The data can also be used to evaluate player performance and inform training processes.



Q: How is individual ball possession different from team ball possession?
A: While team ball possession measures the overall share and duration of possession, individual ball possession focuses on tracking which player has the ball at any given time.

Q: What are the benefits of analyzing individual ball possession?
A: Analyzing individual ball possession allows for a more detailed understanding of player performance, decision-making, and the impact of possession on tactics.

Q: How can the models for individual ball possession be applied in practice?
A: Coaches and analysts can use the models to gain insights into player performance, make tactical adjustments, and develop individualized training programs.


This paper introduces a new approach to analyzing individual ball possession in soccer. By collecting and evaluating data at the individual level, researchers, coaches, and analysts can gain a deeper understanding of player performance and its impact on team tactics. The presented models provide valuable insights for improving performance analysis capabilities and enhancing training processes.

For more information about soccer performance analysis, visit Pesstatsdatabase.

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Individual Ball Possession in Soccer