Constructing Spaces and Times for Tactical Analysis in Football
A possible objective in analyzing trajectories of multiple simultaneously moving objects, such as football players during a game, is to extract and understand the general patterns of coordinated movement in different classes of situations as they develop. For achieving this objective, we propose an approach that includes a combination of query techniques for flexible selection of episodes of situation development, a method for dynamic aggregation of data from selected groups of episodes, and a data structure for representing the aggregates that enables their exploration and use in further analysis. The aggregation, which is meant to abstract general movement patterns, involves construction of new time-homomorphic reference systems owing to iterative application of aggregation operators to a sequence of data selections. As similar patterns may occur at different spatial locations, we also propose constructing new spatial reference systems for aligning and matching movements irrespective of their absolute locations. The approach was tested in application to tracking data from two Bundesliga games of the 2018/2019 season. It enabled detection of interesting and meaningful general patterns of team behaviors in three classes of situations defined by football experts. The experts found the approach and the underlying concepts worth implementing in tools for football analysts.