Feedback in soccer, A Decision/Action Model for Soccer – Pt 7


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“For a player to be skillful in football he needs information of three kinds. The first would be concerned with his objective-what it is he is wanting to achieve… Secondly, he needs information from his own performance with regard to the job that he has decided to do…
Thirdly, the player requires some knowledge of the results of his actions so that any corrections that are necessary may be made. The writer has found that the cybernetic approach to learning provides an adequate base for the explanation and understanding of skilled behavior.
Eric Worthington – Learning & Teaching Soccer Skills

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Feedback in soccer, A Decision/Action Model for Soccer – Pt 7

  1. 1. A Decision/Action Model for Soccer – Pt 7 Feedback in soccer A cybernetic approach“For a player to be skillful in football he needs information of three kinds. The first wouldbe concerned with his objective-what it is he is wanting to achieve… Secondly, he needsinformation from his own performance with regard to the job that he has decided to do…Thirdly, the player requires some knowledge of the results of his actions so that anycorrections that are necessary may be made. The writer has found that the cyberneticapproach to learning provides an adequate base for the explanation and understandingof skilled behavior.Eric Worthington – Learning & Teaching Soccer Skills 1
  2. 2. Basic cyberneticsCybernetics; “the art of steersmanship"; "deals with all forms of behavior in sofar as they are regular, or determinate, or reproducible"; "offers a method forthe scientific treatment of the system in which complexity is outstanding and tooimportant to be ignored.”W. Ross Ashby“the essential goal of cybernetics is to understand and define the functions andprocesses of systems that have goals and that participate in circular, causalchains that move from action to sensing to comparison with desired goal, andagain to action. Studies in cybernetics provide a means for examining the designand function of any system, including social systems such as businessmanagement and organizational learning, including for the purpose of makingthem more efficient and effective.”WikipediaTogether, feed forward and feedback are necessary to create “circular, causalchains.” 2
  3. 3. Feed forward Principa Cybernetica Web“In a system where a transformation occurs, there are inputs and outputs. Theinputs are the result of the environments influence on the system, and theoutputs are the influence of the system on the environment. Input and outputare separated by a duration of time, as in before and after, or past andpresent.” [2] F e e d f o r w a r d -> 3
  4. 4. Feedback Principa Cybernetica Web“In every feedback loop, as the name suggests, information about the result ofa transformation or an action is sent back to the input of the system in the formof input data.” [2] F e e d f o r w a r d ->Systems are nested and dynamically interconnected through channels of feedforward and feedback. The relationships between a system other systems is inconstant flux. 4
  5. 5. Feedback Principa Cybernetica Web F e e d f o r w a r d ->Feedback; Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary.  “the return to the input of a part of the output of a machine, system, or process”  “the partial reversion of the effects of a process to its source or to a preceding stage”  “the transmission of evaluative or corrective information about an action, event, or process to the original or controlling source.” 5
  6. 6. Defining positive and negative feedback Principa Cybernetica Web“If these new data facilitate and accelerate the transformation in the samedirection as the preceding results, they are positive feedback - their effects arecumulative. If the new data produce a result in the opposite direction toprevious results, they are negative feedback - their effects stabilize the system.In the first case there is exponential growth or decline; in the second there ismaintenance of the equilibrium.” [2] F e e d f o r w a r d -> F e e d f o r w a r d -> 6
  7. 7. End result of positive feedback Principa Cybernetica Web“Positive feedback leads to divergent behavior: indefinite expansion or explosion(a running away toward infinity) or total blocking of activities (a running awaytoward zero). Each plus involves another plus; there is a snowball effect. Theexamples are numerous: chain reaction, population explosion, industrialexpansion, capital invested at compound interest, inflation, proliferation ofcancer cells. However, when minus leads to another minus, events come to astandstill. Typical examples are bankruptcy and economic depression.” [2]“In either case a positive feedback loop left to itself can lead only to thedestruction of the system, through explosion or through the blocking of all itsfunctions. The wild behavior of positive loops - a veritable death wish - must becontrolled by negative loops. This control is essential for a system to maintainitself in the course of time.” [2] 7
  8. 8. End result of negative feedback Principa Cybernetica Web – [modified for soccer]“Negative feedback leads to adaptive, or goal-seeking behavior: sustaining thesame level, temperature, concentration, speed, direction. In some cases the goalis self-determined and is preserved in the face of evolution: the system hasproduced its own purpose... In other cases man [i.e. the coach as a largersystem] has determined the goals of the systems [i.e. players, lines, style]. [2]In a negative loop every variation toward a plus triggers a correction toward theminus, and vice versa. There is tight control; the system oscillates around an idealequilibrium that it never attains. A thermostat or a water tank equipped with afloat are simple examples of regulation by negative feedback.” [2] 8
  9. 9. Worthington’s cybernetic model“Cybernetic theory emphasizes the similarity between human behavior and thefeedback mechanisms found in modern self-controlling devices.” [4] Worthington’s human control system 9
  10. 10. Cybernetic models that pertain to soccerBoyd’s OODA loop Teaching Games for Understanding Franklin’s LIDA model KNVB - TIC 10
  11. 11. Balancing command and control in learning When does giving feedback become giving instructions?Learning “requires a regular environment, an adequate opportunity to practice, and rapidand unequivocal feedback about the correctness of thoughts and actions. When theseconditions are fulfilled, skill eventually* develops, and the intuitive judgments and choicesthat quickly come to mind will mostly be accurate. All this is the work of System 1, whichmeans it occurs automatically and fast. A marker of skilled performance is the ability to dealwith vast amounts of information swiftly and efficiently.” [3] HoweverFeedback is constrained by a systems shared (the collective subsystems) experience.Resilient systems (prepared and ready) have the ability to rapidly (fast and frugal) adjust towicked problems. Rigid, ill prepared systems are limited in the number and variety ofresponses they have available. The former builds snowmobiles faster than the opponentwhile the later keeps using the only tool it knows, usually a hammer. [2]*Timescales. When a system gets stuck in a positive feedback loop a larger system mayhave to intervene. The larger system can provide instruction which broadens its experiencebase or changes its goals. This is when command has to exert its authority to thesubordinate members.  “At some point you have to set things right” Graham Ramsay. Command realizes that the control system has run out of resources and requires leadership. 11
  12. 12. Worthington on cybernetics and soccer“To complete the description of the player referred to earlier (slide1), hemonitors the whole approach to the kick to his colleague. The internal andexternal feedback loops transmit all the selected information that is beingattended to by the senses. As far as the external feedback is concerned, theinformation may show that the pass needs to be placed ahead of the colleagueand with not too much power. His eventual kick is drawn from his store ofexperience of such actions and the internal feedback loop continues to provideinformation… The output is concluded but still the external feedback istransmitting information to be retained by way of the memory of the centralprocessing system.” [4]Players have to attend i.e. monitor more then the ball. Teammates andopponents are also first level concerns. The more players can block out lowerlevel noise the more attention they can pay to these high level issues. Thisbalance between blocking out noise and attending to real issues is at the heartof training. 12
  13. 13. Feedback in soccer A qualitative view – feedback is more than a directionA qualitative view of feedback stresses how an individual interacts with theelements of the game; the artifacts, teammates and opponents. Separatelyfeedback comes to a player as;  Individual feedback, me and the artifacts. Artifacts are those elements that do not create or convey intent but demand attention. The ball is the biggest factor but others like the field, weather and so on play a role.  Cooperative feedback, me and teammates. This feedback deals with the level and sophistication of the Teambuilding elements. How quickly a player can recognize and utilize authority structures to match the changing realities.  Competitive feedback, me and a goal. Feedback that informs a player how he or she is doing in regards to achieving a result against resistance, product focused. The goal may or may not include an active opponent.These three types of feedback overlap each other creating the diagram on slide14. 13
  14. 14. Feedback in soccer A qualitative view – feedback is more than a directionTogether individual, cooperative and competitive feedback create the sweet spot at ‘a’.Activities that include cooperation, competition and individual accountability along with theelements of the game provide a realistic environment for learning. These activities build upfrom a base of 2v2 soccer like games. By starting here players have to work with a teammate,contend with an opponent as well as the artifacts. When this combine in a results driven game“rapid and unequivocal feedback (individual, cooperative, competitive) about the correctnessof thoughts and actions” [3] is freely available. When proper coaching is added, learningoccurs. 14
  15. 15. SummaryCybernetics is the study of open, self-regulating systems. These systems use feedback as acontrol mechanism. In order to maintain control (moving towards a goal) the flow offeedback must be continuous and as accurate as possible i.e. it’s “rapid and unequivocal” innature.In order to maintain this state the system has to take in at least as much, or more,information then it puts out. Failure to do this will, over time, starve the system and lead toits collapse.The Second Law of Thermodynamics drives this relationship. As the system moves throughtime (feeds forward) it creates waste. The system always loses information(energy/opportunities) during processing, the simple cost of doing business.Players must “pay attention.” Paying attention includes attending to feedback in order toadjust goals and behavior. Models which stress too many details can become bogged downin them. Fast-and frugal models, like the four main moments, 1st, 2nd, 3rd attacker/defender,individual, cooperative and competitive feedback use chunking to speed up the learningprocess. These models structure orientation at the global level which allows the system tofocus on local issues. 15
  16. 16. Selected references1. BOYD, J. 1976, Destruction and Creation ( de ROSNAY, J. Jan. 6 1997, Feedback – Principia Cybernetica Web ( KAHNEMAN, D. 2011, Thinking Fast and Slow (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux).4. WORTHINGTON, E. 1974, Learning and Teaching Soccer Skills (North Hollywood, Ca: Hal Leighton Printing). 16
  17. 17. Thank you “I’ll live or die by my own ideas.” Johan CruyffPresentation created February 2013 by Larry Paul, Peoria Arizona.All references are available as stated.All content is the responsibility of the author.For questions or to inquire how to arrange a consultation or workshop on this topic or the others in the series you can contact me at, subject line;decision/action model.For more information visit the bettersoccermorefun channel on YouTube. 17