Is It Possible to Predict an Athlete’s Behavior? The Use of Polar Coordinates to Identify Key Patterns in Taekwondo
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonMenescardi, C., Falco, C., Estevan, I., Ros, C., Morales-Sánchez, V., & Hernández-Mendo, A. (2019). Is it possible to predict an athlete’s behavior? The use of polar coordinates to identify key patterns in taekwondo. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01232
Match analysts and sport psychologists can help elite athletes develop planned competition strategies from a technical-tactical perspective by analyzing of previous performances. The aim of this study was to analyze the behavioral patterns used to score points in the 2012 London Olympic Games by a mixed observational methodology and polar coordinate analysis. This analysis is a representation of four quadrants of the relationships between focal behavior [i.e., scoring, (SC)] and conditioned behaviors as key factors in taekwondo before and after focal behavior of two lags (-2, +2). A total of 151 combats, with a total of 24,940 actions were analyzed by the Taekwondo Observational Tool, which consists of 24 categories grouped into seven criteria (tactics, techniques, kicking zone, laterality, kicking leg, guard, and score). Our analysis confirms 49 significant associations (21 in females and 28 in males) between different types of scoring actions (SC1: to the trunk, SC2: to the trunk with a previous spin, SC3: to the head and SC4: to the head with a previous spin) and a variety of technical-tactical aspects. Females SC1 after cut, direct attacks with circular techniques to the chest, with back right leg; SC2 after direct attacks to the head, and SC3 after cuts, posterior counterattacks with the back leg. Males SC1 after spin anticipate counterattack with back leg and dodges, SC2 after simultaneous counterattacks (SCAs) to the head, SC3 after cuts and posterior counterattacks with back leg while SC4 after blocks and SCAs in close guard with the forward right leg. The observed relationships provide objective data regarding successful behavioral patterns, and are important for coaches and psychologists to train and develop psychological strategies to prepare athletes. For instance, they can be used to individualize training sessions, including visualization of specific combat situations. Coaches and psychologists could use these findings for specific tasks related to technical-tactical improvement of scoring effectiveness or defensive strategies against these specific actions.