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# Heuristics in soccer-A Decision/action model pt.4

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This presentation looks at how heuristics help to frame coaching points. Fast and frugal strategies for action and decision making

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### Heuristics in soccer-A Decision/action model pt.4

1. 1. A Decision/Action Model for Soccer – Pt 4 Using heuristics as coaching points What’s inside the adaptive toolbox“What is a heuristic? In essence it’s a rule of thumb. The important part isto understand that it is a strategy, a tool, that helps you to survive in anuncertain world.”Gerd Gigerenzer - YouTubeStrategies in the adaptive toolbox are fast and frugal. Fast refers to therelative ease of computation the strategies entail… Frugal refers to the verylimited amount of information these startegies need.Daniel Goldstein et al. [6] 1
2. 2. The origin and function of the adaptive toolbox“The notion of an adaptive toolbox provides a framework for nonoptimizing visionsof bounded rationality, emphasizing psychological plausibility, domain specificity,and ecological rationality. Heuristics in the adaptive toolbox are modeled on theactual cognitive abilities a species has rather than on the imaginary powers ofomniscient demons. They are designed for specific goals – domain specific ratherthan domain general – which enable them to make fast, frugal, andcomputationally cheap decisions. Heuristics are composed from building blocksthat guide search, stop search, and make decisions. Heuristics that are matched toparticular environmental structures allow agents to be ecologically rational. Thestudy of ecological rationality involves analyzing the structure of environments, thestructure of heuristics, and the match between them.” [6]“The function of the adaptive toolbox is, thus, to provide strategies – cognitive,emotional, and social – that help to handle a multitude of goals by makingdecisions quickly, frugally, accurately, or, if not possible, not at all. The function ofthe adaptive toolbox is not to guarantee consistency or solve differential equationsto optimize some function.” [6] 2
3. 3. Heuristics in soccerHeuristics in soccer;  Are short cuts related to a specific goal, task, objective or strategy within the game.  They enable rapid decisions and actions by reducing the number of options for consideration and the time needed for computation.  They result in short, simple and general actions.  They can be combined into a series and loosely coupled coalitions to create more complex, i.e. specific and longer lasting actions.  They are limited by the player/s experience with the situation and environmental affordances.Heuristics are recognized as either simple implicit patterns, i.e. a wall pass, an attackerchecking in then out, short-short-long, eye contact at a free kick or as explicit phrasesof up to six words, i.e. turn, time, man-on, get your head up, play the way you face,their corner-our counter, straight run-diagonal ball and so on. [3,5,6,13,21]Historically, heuristics were learned informally on the field as feedback and guidancefrom older, more experienced players or as coaching points by experts in formalizedmodels. The former represents the situated learning style and oral culture between anapprentice and a journeyman. [1,12,26] The later a standardized curriculum approach.[22,23,24] In both cases, the player learns by solving real problems in a large world. [4,5,6] 3
4. 4. How heuristics combine as a serial process for planning and actionIndividual heuristics are limited in what they can accomplish. They are simple, general andblind to any other heuristic. This is what allows them to be loosely coupled togethercreating complex and adaptable action plans. [6]The degree of complexity is a combination of what the environment affords and whichheuristics are available. For example, a defender watches a long ball played out to herimmediate opponent. [1,2,6] The heuristics for action might be; [16]  Move while the balls in flight.  Intercept if possible.  If not, tackle as the ball arrives.  Can’t tackle, get close.  If poor control, tackle.  If not, contain.  Limit options, exert control.Each heuristic is a straightforward ‘what to do’ action goal. It’s dependent on the previousone, sets the stage for the next, has a stopping and decision point which is determined bychanges in the environments, i.e. if a tackle had been made the heuristics for a safe pass orcounter would have been called up. This is an example of loose coupling.Serial strings like these connect short term goals and actions. [13,28] 4
5. 5. How heuristics combine as coalitions for robust decision/actionsEach ‘what to do’ heuristic needs one or more ‘how to do it’ heuristics. These are the tools theplayer uses to achieve each of the ‘what’ mini-goals in the series. Examples of these ‘how’heuristics are;  How do I work with others? [14]  How can I create/reduce friction? [25]  How do I outwit the opponent? [15]  How do I adjust the Tempo? [17]  How do I influence the flow? [17]A coalition of heuristics is a combination of simple what and how’s. Together the boundariesare loose and vague. What becomes how, how morphs into what and back while differentones come in and go out. The difference between what one chooses to do, the aspirationallevel, and how they intend to do it is important. It marks the distinction between the ends andthe means, the goal and the process. Both ends and means face the ecological constraints oflimited time and energy. Those limitations flip the what/how relationship between heuristicswithin a series or coalition. [1,6] Example; breathing is what you do, how is an unconsciousprocess. Now, how long can you hold your breath before how becomes the new what?Moving on is more important then optimizing the process. [6] A coalition should only includethe tools necessary to achieve the mini-goal but still be robust enough to adapt to change andsurprise. That’s the fine line which ensures the fast and frugal benefits of the adaptive toolbox. 5
6. 6. Heuristics in the main moments It’s all about the use of the ballIn possession: Opponents in possession:  Free up the ball. The ball should  Corral the ball. Limit the options have as large a field for selection as available to it. Restrict it’s freedom. possible.  Blind the ball. Force the balls vision  Give the ball eye’s. What can it see? down, back, into the stands, Is it a good view forward? someplace safe.  Give the ball a plan. If you don’t have a plan give the ball to a  Dictate the plan to the ball. Only allow it what you want it to have. teammate, they might, or test the Taking the initiative away from the opponents to see what happens. Don’t waste time, don’t kill the opponents, or at least limiting it by game, don’t over think and never being proactive is an on-going goal surrender the initiative. defenders. 6
7. 7. Heuristics in Schwerpunkt Why goals are scored [8]Most goals are scored when two or more of these reasons happen together or one rightafter another.Lack of pressure on the ball.  The first attacker is free to set the agenda.Lack of support.  Defenders should play with numbers up. A spare player should support the first defender.Failure to track players down.  Lack of concentration, miscommunication, a mismatch between players or opportunistic attackers.Giving the ball away.  A crime of commission or omission.Set plays.  Defenders cannot pressurize the player taking the restart and the attackers can rehearse a plan.Not all goals result from these ‘errors’. The opponents deserve credit when it’s due.Clausewitz shows us how danger, fear, uncertain information, internal strife, chance,outside constraints, an active opponent and a mismatch between ends and meanscontribute to the problem. [25] Why goals are scored, i.e. what happened, maybe the resultof the opponents just being better, faster, quicker or a lucky break. 7
8. 8. Heuristics in concentration When is it likely to fail [8]Concentration falters at predictable times or when a player has an internal focusof attention.When the ball changes hands.  Tackles and interceptions result in an immediate switch in the main moments. In a heartbeat responsibilities are reversed and the current plan no longer works.When there’s a stoppage in play.  The referees whistle brings everything to a halt. However, unlike the ball changing hands, in most cases there’s a delay in restarting the game and possession might not change. The delay gap relieves tension, breaks action and forces players to emotionally reboot.When players become fatigued.  One of the elements of friction. [25]When a player is preoccupied.  The six year old that needs a potty break; a player who is intimidated by an opponent or the level of play; a player who can’t let go of a bad call; a puppet player and their parent master. Preoccupation interferes with concentration on an external task. It fosters a noisy cognitive environment that contributes to the Fog of War. [25] He or she is in, at the least, a partially isolated state. Until they can fully reenter the world and resume interactions they are are of limited use to themselves or the team. 8
9. 9. Heuristics in influence What effect do you want to have on the opponentCapabilities are the tools and resources that are available for use. If the capabilities don’thave the desired effect on the opponent effort is wasted and time is lost. Effect equalsinfluence and is dependent on the level of fingerspitzengefühl. [18] The main mentaleffects are to confuse, mislead or surprise the opponent. [15]Deceive them.  “convince them we are going to do something other than what we are really going to do in order to induce him to act in a manner prejudicial to his own interests. The intent is to give the enemy a clear picture of the situation, but the wrong picture”.Confuse them.  “act in such a way that they don’t not know what to expect. Because they don’t know what to expect, they must prepare for numerous possibilities and cannot prepare adequately for any one”. This is an example of Cheng ch’i.Blindside them.  “deny them any knowledge of impending action. They are not deceived or confused as to our intentions but are completely ignorant of them”. Blind side runs, unseen second defenders and players who wear the cloak of invisibility are the ones who can surprise.The player’s ‘on the ball,’ those in the spotlight of attention, can confuse and deceiveopponents. Player’s ‘off of the ball,’ those out of the spotlight can to, as well surprisethem. These players have the option of choosing when to move from the darkness intothe spotlight. 9
10. 10. Strategies for selecting heuristics Imitation and Take the BestImitation works in a stable environment. Go along with successful group/averagebehavior, an even more successful outlier or disruptive behavior (the wrong crowdmodel). Unstable or unpredictable environments make imitation very difficult as thenorm and outliers are unclear. Note; imitation is not value free. It can create groupthink, mediocrity, solve problems or create even bigger ones. [6]Take the Best chooses between two alternatives based on the first cue thatdiscriminates between them. For example; you are going to pass the ball to either Aor B. You can reach both players1, both are open2, a pass to A puts four defendersout of the game while one to B puts two out3. With this strategy you pass to A. Thethird cue, number of opponents played out, determined the choice. Note; Take theBest assumes some level of experience because players will need to search and selecttwo targets/ideas for comparison and be able to process through a short checklist forthe higher valued option. If both alternatives are equal two new targets have to becompared or a new strategy employed. [6] 10
11. 11. Strategies for selecting heuristics Recognition and Take the FirstWhen selecting between two targets or ideas the Recognition heuristic depends onmissing knowledge. “If one of two objects is recognized and the other is not, theninfer that the recognized object has the higher value with respect to the criterion” andchoose it. Example; a player who recognizes what one teammate is about to do andis unsure about another should cooperate with the first. [6]Take the First. “Experts, such as pilots, firefighters, and chess players, have a simplestrategy at their disposal: when face with a problem to solve, often the best course ofaction to take is the first (or only) one that comes to mind. (This strategy has beendescribed as the recognition-primed decision model)… [11] Take the first is argued tobe effective because… options are not random but may come to mind in order ofquality. Take the first is less successful in domains where the decision maker is notan expert or in completely novel situations within a domain of expertise.” [6]  Expertise is relative to the decision maker and the environment. An eight year old can be an expert compared to other eight year olds. 11
12. 12. How can strategies and heuristics be learned Actions have consequences and provide feedbackFor any of these heuristics and strategies to be learned “requires a regularenvironment, an adequate opportunity to practice, and rapid and unequivocalfeedback about the correctness of thoughts and actions. When these conditions arefulfilled, skill eventually develops, and the intuitive judgments and choices that quicklycome to mind will mostly be accurate. All this is the work of System 1, which means itoccurs automatically and fast. A marker of skilled performance is the ability to dealwith vast amounts of information swiftly and efficiently.” [9]“Experience does not translate directly into expertise if the domain is dynamic,feedback is inadequate, and the number and variety of experiences is too small.” [11]Consequence; the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier. MerriamWebster On Line DictionaryFeedback; a) the return to the input of a part of the output of a system, or process:b) the transmission of evaluative or corrective information about an action, event, orprocess to the original or controlling source. Merriam Webster On Line Dictionary 12
13. 13. How can strategies and heuristics be learnedConsequences of their actions have to be meaningful, the feedback fast and clear The relationship between consequences and feedback to learning can be seen in this matrix. The best learning space is in the upper left, the worst is the lower right. Consequences are outcome based and emotionally driven. If players don’t care, no matter what, consequences will be small. Here, it’s the level of attachment to the end product of an action that matters and serves as the measure. Internal motivation is the driver for quality. [6] Quality feedback has two parts. First, it’s the ‘return’ to the source some awareness of their action. It’s a reflective, inner looking process. Input from an outside source, i.e. a coach can contribute to noise. Second, the return must be “rapid and unequivocal.” [9] To delay reflection or to have ambiguous standards adds to noise. Few players will remember or care about a missed tackle last week and praise for a shot that goes out for a [6] throw-in only muddies the water for future efforts. 13
14. 14. How can strategies and heuristics be taught Thinking fast and frugally requires living in a fast and frugal worldTeaching heuristics starts with experience, the training environment. Concrete, realisticexamples that have been lived provide the material for reflection.  Ability appropriate small sided games provide a large number of consequential situations and minimal noise. The games should be outcome based, there are winners and losers. Winning and losing can be measured by internal actions and not just the end result. Each players level of motivation can be subjectively observed in real time.  The games should be long enough to develop tension and create enough examples while short enough not to run out of gas and become inconsequential. These can be organized around a ‘cup format’ where teams rotate, a ‘festival format’ where players switch teams or as ‘winners stay’ where the out team can be questioned as the following slides show.Fast and frugal answers can solve simple and deterministic problems while jury riggingrandom problems. They maybe a part of the solution to wicked problems but won’t getnear the actual solution. [19]  This has to do with the solution space of the problem. The first three have room for only one answer, the last is uncertain. Heuristic strategies like Imitation, Recognition, Take the Best or Take the First can solve single solution problems with minimal information and computation. This is not an optimal answer strategy but a close enough one to keep moving in a dynamic environment. 14