Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Investigative Trends in Understanding Penalty-Kick Performance in Association Football: An Ecological Dynamics Perspective

  • José E. Lopes
  • Duarte Araújo
  • Keith Davids
Current Opinion


There have been different approaches to studying penalty-kick performance in association football and in this paper we synthesize key findings within an ecological dynamics theoretical framework. According to this theoretical perspective, information is the cornerstone for understanding the dynamics of action regulation in penalty-kick performance. Research suggests that investigators need to identify the information sources that are most relevant to penalty-kick performance. An important task is to understand how constraints can channel (i.e. change, emphasize or mask) information sources used to regulate upcoming actions and how the influence of these constraints is expressed in players’ behavioural dynamics. Due to the broad range of constraints influencing penalty-kick performance, it is recommended that future research adopts an interdisciplinary focus on performance assessment to overcome the current lack of representativeness in penalty-kick experimental designs. Such an approach would serve to capture the information-based control of action of both players as components of this dyadic system in competitive sport.


Task Constraint Biophysical Variable Representative Design Association Football Dyadic System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by a grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (SFRH/BD/60520/2009), awarded to the first author. All authors have no relevant conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • José E. Lopes
    • 1
  • Duarte Araújo
    • 1
  • Keith Davids
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.SpertLab, Laboratório de Perícia no Desporto, CIPER, Faculdade de Motricidade HumanaUniversidade de LisboaCruz Quebrada-DafundoPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for Sports Engineering ResearchSheffield Hallam UniversitySouth YorkshireUK
  3. 3.School of Exercise and Nutrition ScienceQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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