By Alexandre Oboeuf, Emmanuel Fernandes, Loïc Lecroisey, Agnès D’Arripe, Alexis Duployé, Luc Collard
How can communication in team sports be defined? This apparently simple question is in fact highly complex. Using the Condorcet pairwise comparison method, this paper considers the responses of 250 players and 50 team sports coaches on the subject of communication. The responses confirm the vagueness surrounding the idea of communication. Indeed, of six descriptive terms shown to the players and coaches, all were selected. Nevertheless, the majority of players and coaches believed that the terms “verbal communications” and “passes” best defined communication within team sports. Glaring omissions by the majority of respondents were the motor signals (calls for the ball, dummy moves and various runs, replacements, etc.) used on the field. Although knowing full well how to play the game, players and coaches were unable to identify what principles underlie how they play the game and drive their behavior. Heuristically, this work provides interesting avenues toward defining the concept of communication in team sports. It may also lead to new forms of training in team sports.