Dance and Football Analysing Movement

Screens with video data, position data and results by means of neuronal networks from the World Cup final 2006
Screens with video data, position data and results by means of neuronal networks from the World Cup final 2006 | Photo (detail): Daniel Memmert, Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln / Institut für Kognitions- und Sportspielforschung

Football analyses are very much en vogue. Matches can even be propelled into the art firmament by means of kinetography, the dance notation system created by Rudolf von Laban.

In the twelve-part video installation Deep Play, Harun Farocki’s homage to the football world championship in Germany for the documenta 12 in Kassel, dance and football encountered one another with kinetographic recordings of the world championship final 2006 by a dance expert and with sport-scientific graphics and animations. Movement research is a priority theme for sport and dance scientists.

For his research into the home advantage, the sport psychologist Bernd Strauß from the University of Münster used international data from 684,162 games from 196 FIFA countries.
Daniel Memmert, head of the Institut für Kognitions- und Sportspielforschung  (Institute for Cognition and Sport Research) at the German Sport University in Cologne, together with his colleague Jürgen Perl from the University of Mainz, developed the computer programme Soccer. By recording directly on the PC, one is spared the laborious, six to eight-hour handwritten analysis of a 90-minute game from video to paper.

Typical football-specific formations and patterns are extracted from video data and/or position data by means of neuronal networks Typical football-specific formations and patterns are extracted from video data and/or position data by means of neuronal networks | Photo: Daniel Memmert, Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln / Institut für Kognitions- und Sportspielforschung The notation of dance pieces serves, like musical scores, primarily as a memory prop for the reproduction and preservation of a choreography. Choreographies are recorded in written form in two notations, kinetography and choreology, both of which can only be read by experts. William Forsythe’s Motion Bank, which is still in the test phase, is based on computer technology. At a symposium in the University of Bern in 2010, dance experts complained about the lack of uniform methods for artistic analyses. For art knows (almost) no rules. At the Institut für Tanz und Bewegungskultur (Institute for Dance and Movement Culture) at the German Sport University in Cologne, Denise Temme does, however, teach “Composition Analyses”. And Josephine Felger has examined the interaction between movement and music in two diverse choreographies.

A new power in the football empire

In the “combat sport” football, however, sport-scientific insights can influence the development of a team and of players. Posture, sprint speed, running performance, stamina, penalty tactics and many statistic details can, as it were, be measured with one click. During a match four screens are connected to Daniel Memmert’s PC. In this way the development of the game and positions, actions and reactions, tactical weaknesses and the mistakes of both teams can be registered parallel to one another and alternatives can be suggested to the trainers. Sport scientists have emerged as a new power in the realms of the football empire.

Daniel Memmert with the Institut's cognitive tests: it is assumed that creativity, for example, is connected to the work memory and attention span Daniel Memmert with the Institut's cognitive tests: it is assumed that creativity, for example, is connected to the work memory and attention span | Photo: Daniel Memmert, Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln / Institut für Kognitions- und Sportspielforschung Daniel Memmert has four trainer’s licenses. Since 2008, with the financial support of the German Research Foundation, the 43-year-old has been conducting research into the simulation and analysis of creativity with artificial neural networks.

Neural networks are connections of various nerve cells in the nervous system that have a functional interconnection. Artificial neural networks are already being used in industry and have been developed for various kinds of sport, too. In football they make it possible to recognise patterns or to carry out simulations in order to optimise creative processes or to minimise happenstance.

From street kicker to football millionaire

Just like prima ballerinas or musicians, stars such as David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mario Götze and Neymar have to practise for some 10,000 hours in order to have a chance of getting into the top league. Until a few years ago, far too little attention was paid in dance as well as in competitive sport to the basis needed for a professional career. Nowadays, both dance instructors and sports officials preach that playing comes before practice. Child-like creativity and intuition should be aroused as a precondition. For it is in this purely playful phase that talent often reveals itself. A passion emerges – to be a footballer or dancer and nothing else.

Too little account has also been taken of psyche and cognition in the movement arts – according to both sport psychologists and dance pedagogues like Martin Puttke, who with DANAMOS has developed a new, more natural method of classical ballet training, which is intended to promote independent thought and individual creativity. The rigid canon of 450 poses is essentially reduced to the seven basic human movements. In football sport psychologists talk of “self-efficacy” which is to be supported. This refers to the ideal mixture of creativity, initiative and self-confidence. That each match is decided in the head has long been a truism.

An amazing number of facts can be proved statistically. Teams in red jerseys – not only FC Bayern München – have most often won international championships and cups.  Blue has never won the German championship trophy. Wearing their champions-league jerseys in the Bundesliga was no use to the Dortmund BVB players in ending their negative sequence in the league. Luck, both good and bad, will always play a role in the game. But that is what makes up the magic of this German national sport – also for experts such as Daniel Memmert, Jürgen Perl and Bernd Strauß.
 

Literature

Daniel Memmert, Bernd Strauss, Daniel Theweleit: “Der Fußball. Die Wahrheit”. Süddeutsche Zeitung Edition 2013

Bernd Strauß, Dennis Riedl et al: “The Global Home Advantage in Soccer: Status, Developments and Causes”, WWU Münster 2014

Josephine Fenger: „Auftritt der Schatten. Tendenzen der Tanzanalyse“. epodium Verlag, München 2009