study is specifically concerned with the effect of a-six week simulation game
training on breakaways in football among football academy players in Lagos
state. Twenty-eight (n = 28) participants were selected through purposive
random sampling from two football academies in Lagos state.Pretest posttest
experimental and control groups research design was used for this study. Data
on goals scored was collected from 22 participants during a pretest of 12
matches, 10 minutes each and a posttest of 12 matches, 10 minutes each.
Participants in the experimental groups A (n =3), B (n = 4) and C (n = 3) were
respectively trained during 12 sessions of simulation game training. A control
group (n = 12) did not receive any training or instructions. Data collected was analyzed using analysis of
variance to test the four hypotheses formulated in the study at 0.05 level of
significance.The result of the findings showed that goal scoring ratio improved
in the experimental groups between pre- and post-session compared to the
control group. The players’ subjective responses, rated after pre and post
sessions, were collected using a self-developed simulation game training
questionnaire. It showed that they supported the effect of simulation game
training on performance.On the basis of the result of this research, it can be
concluded that simulation game training has a significant effect on the goal
conversion ratio of players in one-on-one situations in football. This study
hopes to assist football players at all levels, coaches, sports psychologists,
athlete trainers and others in the development of football players who can
convert breakaways to goals.
simulation, game, training, breakaways, football, avatar.
Title page i
Table of Content vii
List of Tables x
Background to the Study 1
Statement of problem 4
Purpose of the study 5
Research questions 5
Research hypotheses 5
Significance of the study 5
Limitation of study 6
Definition of key terms 7
TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
History of simulation games 9
Commercial-off-the-shelf video games 10
Demands of soccer 11
Video games: sports video games 12
Mental models and information
Model matching and videogame
Game content design and manipulation 16
Models and modelling in game design 20
Role of failure 21
Potential benefits and negative
impacts of playing video games 22
Video games and cognition 24
Mirror neuron theory 25
Soccer expertise and gamification 26
Cognitive development space 28
Decision making in football and
video games 29
Reaction time and speed accuracy 30
Perceptual skills 31
Video games and relaxation 32
Video games and video analysis 32
Learning through games 35
Research design 36
Population of the study 36
Sample and sampling techniques 37
Research Instrument 37
Research Procedure 38
Data analysis 39
Pilot study 40
FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULT PRESENTATION
Demographic characteristics of
respondents from experimental group 41
Testing of hypotheses 42
Discussion of findings 51
FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Suggestions for Further Research 54
OF TABLES AND FIGURES
Table 1 37
Table 2 39
Table 3 41
Table 4 42
Tables 5 42
Tables 6 44
Tables 7 44
Tables 8 46
Tables 9 46
Tables 10 48
Tables 11 48
Tables 12 50
Figures 1 43
Figures 2 45
Figures 3 47
Figures 4 49
to the study
Football is one of the most popular
sports in the world played by many people, be they children or adults. In the
streets of Lagos-Nigeria, children try to play the game of football using any
spherical objects, older people talk about football matches that have been
played or would be played, and young people discuss football players and
matches. According to Haugaasen and Jordet (2012) in Freitas, Dias and Fonseca
(2013) soccer is without doubt one of the most popular sports in the world,
engaging millions and even billions of people worldwide as players, spectators
and Television viewers. A survey by the Fédération Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA) in 2006 reported that 265 million people regularly play
soccer (FIFA, 2007), making soccer one of the most highly participated sports
in the world. This global access to soccer requires an optimal performance from
all players, to coaches and significant others, particularly, soccer players
(Freitas et al., 2013).
Football, also called association
football or soccer, game in which two teams of 11 players, using any part of
their bodies except their hands and arms, try to maneuver the ball into the
opposing team’s goal (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016). Association Football: the
game controlled by FIFA and organised in accordance with the Laws of the Game
(FIFA, 2008). Football (soccer) is a team sport played between two teams of
eleven players, and is widely considered to be the most popular sport in the
world today (Onagbiye, 2009). Football is a fast paced sport that is very
demanding. It is demanding both physically and psychologically. Players have to
make short burst of runs, employ muscles with so much intensity to perform a
Okeke (2009) as cited in Babikkoi,
Razak, and Sulaiman (2012) observes that soccer in Nigeria has captivated the
minds of the young and the young at heart. Sport competition has become so
important in today’s society that extremely lofty expectations by others are
placed on competing athletes regardless of competitors’ abilities, reasons for
participation, and skill levels (Aufenanger, 2005). In the game of soccer or
football, players manipulate space and time in order to score goals and to
prevent their opponents from scoring (Burcak, 2015). Without strong technical
skills, players will not be able to score goals (LA84 foundation, 2012).
Fundamental techniques like passing, dribbling, heading, shooting and
collecting are very important for all players, these techniques must develop
and continually refine for the player to reach the desired performance level
(Burcak 2015). These fundamental techniques are geared towards putting the ball
behind the opponent’s goal. In a football match, goal is the pinnacle of the
game (Leite, 2013). Goal scoring requires good technical skills and confidence
beyond good ball control, shooting ability, balance and the ability to change
direction quickly, a good finisher must be able to pull the trigger at the
right time (LA84 foundation, 2012). Goal scoring is the aim of a breakaway
situation. Breakaway is a one-on-one situation in which the goalkeeper is the
last player between the attacker and the goal (LA84 foundation, 2012). On close encounters, such as breakaways, a
finisher is facing the opponent's goalkeeper in a one on one confrontation. Breakaways
can come from counter attacks, organized attacks or from stopped play resulting
in a goal (Leite, 2013).
Simulation games are models or
representation of real life in three-dimension interactive computer
applications. Simulation game according to Encarta Dictionaries refers to a
computer game that simulates a real activity such as flying. Video games that
simulate sports have become so realistic that some athletes use them to train
(Coakley, 2008). Silberman (2010) stated that sports video games was a source
of entertainment, but research has shown that sport video games are beginning
to be used by some elite athletes to improve performance. Contemporary sport
games are becoming more and more like simulations or models of real sporting
events. The aim of simulation game is to re-create reality so that individuals
can participate and in the process enjoy themselves and in some constructive
cases they learn. Video games engage players in goal-directed actions within
compelling virtual environments, they help players develop those mental models,
or simulations of experience, in a more concrete and embodied sense than
through mental imagery alone (Silberman, 2010).
Mental state of a player has a great
part to play in his performance just as technical and tactical skills (Najah,
& Rejeb 2015). The goal of sports psychology is to help soccer players and
teams perform at their best by increasing their mental skills to excel in
practice and games (Hitzelberger & Cohn, 2011). Adewunmi (2005) buttressed
the point that pre-match readiness and mental training are some of the factors
that can influence athletes’ performance because they make their mental state
stable and improve performance. The objectives of improved performance in
skills and tactics in football players is the goal of many schools and football
academies. Goals and objectives such as these are very encouraging, but at the
heart of it lies absence of structures that can realise these goals. Present
day football has gone scientific, but here in Nigeria we have continued to use
the old methods of training. Our young players are developed on the skills they
provide without imparting to them the skills and techniques they need. It is
more of concentrating on the talents possessed by players than on the development
of a player who can compete with other talented players. There is an obvious
absence of technology application to our game as it is used in developed
countries. There is a resistance to the adoption of new methods of training.
Our coaches and football administrators over the years have failed to realise
the importance of sports technology in training.While developed countries are
putting so much into providing excellent facilities, equipment and conducive
environment for athletes, developing countries seem to lag behind in the
provision of these amenities and expect their players or athletes to excel in
the international arena (Awomah, Okakah & Arainwu, 2015).
The over-emphasis on coaching
physical skills as against mental skills or psychological skills results in
under-developed players. We may not be able to replicate the achievements of
national teams of Germany (Germany spent eight years preparing a team that won
the world cup in 2014). But the situation of sports in Nigeria is that, we want
to achieve success immediately. For this reason, coaches are under pressure to
deliver as soon as they can hence ignoring the importance of psychological
Many Nigerian football clubs in the
Nigeria Professional Football League who have feeder teams focus more on the
physical training. These clubs should at least be the breeding ground for the
development of another Rashidi Yekini, Austin Jay Jay Okocha or another Finidi
George. These were exceptional Nigerian footballers who were known for their
talents, although as younger players they were not exposed to a proper
developmental programme. If they had been trained by a team of football experts
in Psychology, Nutrition, Biomechanics, and then the football coaches they
would have become world best footballers. Nigerian Players, especially
attackers, lack composure, confidence, decision making and awareness when
running towards the goal in a counterattack. This shows in the number of goals
that our strikers can score every season. While their counterparts from other
countries are scoring goals in double digits in the first half of the league,
our players barely manage to score nine goals. Nigerian players many at times
fail to convert crucial one on one situations with the goalkeeper resulting in
their teams being knocked out of a competition, or struggling to go to penalty
shootouts. In a FIFA Confederations cup match between Nigeria and Spain in
2013, Gambo Mohammed, a Kano Pillars striker, missed a breakaway chance after
receiving a very good pass from Ahmed Musa. Mohammed took a shot that went wide
off the goal. Mohammed could have scored the goal if he was calm, composed,
confident in his abilities, and if he was thinking fast. If he had scored
against Casillas, the Spanish goalkeeper, in the virtual world, it may have
helped him to score again against Casillas in the real world.
An explanation for the apparent
disconnect between formal or traditional training and the target of our
attention is that young players of today are different from their predecessors.
They would appreciate innovative and enjoyable learning scenario which would
also enhance performance. Hence, the goal is to discover a technology that has
been abandoned due to its perceived danger but which has the potential of
bringing about success following its effective use. A technology that would
enhance the goal conversion ratio of young players in one on one situations.
The primary focus of this study therefore, will be on the effect of simulation
game training on breakaways in football among football academy players in Lagos
It has been observed over the years
that Nigerian attackers fail to score many goals when presented with opportunities,
compared to their colleagues from European and South American countries. This
is as a result of poor decision making skills, lack of concentration and
absence of information processing abilities. In a match between Etoile du Sahel
Football club and Enyimba International in 2016, Mfon Udoh - Enyimba’s striker
- failed to score from a breakaway in the closing stages of the second leg tie.
If he had scored, Enyimba won’t have needed penalty shootouts to qualify for
the next round.
The players in Nigeria are not
exposed to modern technologies for developing physical, cognitive and
perceptual skills, used in other developed parts of the world. For this reason
there are players who can just do enough on the football field but not up to
their capacity. Players do not have the information processing abilities that
many players in Europe have because of the absence of modern training methods
Although many Nigerian children play
simulation games, it has not been used as a tool to enhance sports performance
rather it has been condemned as a waste of time. Many within the mass media,
parent groups, politicians and even some academics, do not view video games in
any positive light as they argue that video games lead to a generation that is
antisocial, over-weight, unhealthy, and aggressive (Crawford & Gosling,
2009). The players’ failure to use technologies like the simulation video games
might result in the development of Players who cannot convert breakaway
opportunities to goals because they lack the necessary cognitive and perceptual
skills.This study is on the effect of simulation games training on converting
breakaway situations in football to goals among football academy players in
of the study
The purpose of this study was to
determine the effect of simulation games training on breakaways in football.
The researcher strove to determine the effect simulation games will have on
football players in one-on-one situations with goalkeepers with a view to
guiding them in converting presented chances to goals.
1. Will training with player’s avatar
have effect on breakaway situations in football?
2. Will training with a pre-determined
avatar have effect on breakaway situations in football?
3. Will free training have effect on
breakaway situations in football?
4. Will simulation game training have
effect on the experimental groups compared to the control group?
The following hypotheses were tested
in this study:
1. Training with player’s avatar will
not have significant effect on breakaway situations in football.
2. Training with a pre-determined
avatar will not have significant effect on breakaway situations in football.
3. Free training will not have
significant effect on breakaway situations in football.
4. Simulation game training will not
have effect on the experimental groups compared to the control group.
of the study
The study will be of significance to
football coaches and grassroots football development programme of the Nigeria Football
Federation in the application of structured modern footballer training
technology to the training and development of young footballers. It would be of
benefit in the talent development programme of the federation. It will also be
of significance in the development of young players in Nigeria who can compete
against their peers in other parts of the world without our having any recourse
to using over-aged players to prosecute major international youth competitions.
In the long run we will have players (especially attackers) who can contest
with the best in the world in terms of number of goals scored every season.
This study would encourage the application of science to football in Nigeria.
It will benefit young strikers in
their quest to become top goal scorers thereby increasing their availability
for transfers to football clubs in Nigeria and in Europe. The local clubs would
appreciate the application of psychology of football to their teams. The goal
ratio of Nigerian football strikers would increase as they would apply decision
making skills in one on one situations with goalkeepers. It will serve as a
baseline study for those who may wish to carry out research on simulation game
The study was delimited to:
1. Two football academies in Lagos
-Real Planet Football club and Golden Football club.
2. Two Research Assistants who are
academy coaches guided the participants and gave them instructions during the
matches. Two other research assistants helped in video recording, setting up
video games and other basic activities.
3. Simulation game training.
4. The soccer players of the two
football academies:Real Planet Football club and Golden Football club.
The researcher encountered time
constraint due to time table of the clubs. The absence of two players from
training activities affected the study. The availability of power supply also
affected the study since the researcher made use of computer games. Researcher
solved this by renting a mobile game centre, although it was very expensive.
of key terms
Avatar: this is the
created virtual self of the player that bears all his physical characteristics.
avatars: all the
virtual athletes in the sports video game that represent the real life
training: this is
simply playing matches on the sports video game without any instructions from
game: this refers
to computer games that are interactive, combine sound and graphics, played by
making images move on a screen.
Breakaway: a one-on-one situation in which the
goalkeeper is the last player between the attacker and the goal.
VGPs: Video game players.
NVGPs: Non-Video game players.
Interactive computer application: a computer software application that allows the user to
control the three-dimension graphics it displays on the monitor.
athletes’ video games:
sports video games that feature professional athletes, example: Marco Reus,
Anthony Martial and Eden Hazard are professional players who will be featured
in Electronic Art’s FIFA 17.
Sports: institutionalized physical
activities that are governed by rules and demand physical exertion from its
participants, whose participation is rewarded either intrinsically or extrinsically.
Los Angeles 84 sports promotion organization in the United States of America.
Innovator in youth sports and coaching, providing financial support to
organizations providing youth sports opportunities.
Fédération Internationale de
16 disc: a sports
video game disc that is inserted into a console or Personal Computer.
ESA: Entertainment Software Association
is an organisation that provides information on developments in the video game
Massively Multi-media Online Role
Commercial-Off-The-Shelf video games
feature real-life sports athletes.
National Association for Stock Car
Three-Dimension Multiple Object
Tracking application for training memory, attention and decision making skills.
shot: this is
kicking the ball over the goal keeper when he comes out of his lines.
keeper: it involves
faking a shot that beats the goal keeper by leaving him rooted in his spot in
order for player to have a clear sight at goal.
a pass to an open man after drawing
goalkeeper to yourself.
the shot: shooting to
either bottom corners of the post just when the goalkeeper is about to leave
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