1st Edition

Team Sports Training The Complexity Model

By Javier Sainz Copyright 2020
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    214 Pages
    by Routledge

    Team Sports Training: The Complexity Model presents a novel approach to team sports training, examining football (soccer), rugby union, field hockey, basketball, handball and futsal through the paradigm of complexity.

    Under a traditional prism, these sports have been analysed using a deterministic perspective, where the constituent dimensions of the sportsmen were independently examined and treated in isolation. It was expected that the body worked as a perfect machine and, once all the components were maximised, the sportsmen improved their performance. If the same closed recipe was applied to all of the players who formed part of the squad, the global team performance was expected to be enhanced.

    As much as these reductionist models seem coherent, when contrasted in practice we see that the reality of team sports is far more different from the closed conditions in which they were idealised. Team sports contain variable, heterogeneous and non-linear constraints which require the development of a different logic to organise their training.

    During the last few years, ecological psychology, the dynamical systems theory or the constraints-led approach have opened interesting fields of research from which many conceptual foundations can be applied to team sports. Based on this contemporary framework, the current book presents the study of the players and the teams as complex systems, using coordination dynamics to explain the emergence of the self-organisation episodes that characterise them. In addition, this thinking line provides the reader with the ability to apply all of these innovative concepts to their practical training scenarios. Altogether, it is intended to challenge the reader to re-think their training strategy and to develop an original theory and practice of training specific to team sports.


    1. The reductionist paradigm in team sports

    2. Towards a new theory and practice of training for team sports: The complex alternative

    3. Coordination dynamics

    4. Intrapersonal coordination (The individual play)

    5. Interpersonal coordination (The collective play)

    6. Design of training tasks in team sports

    7. Training strategies for team sports


    Javier Mallo (PhD in Sports and Physical Activity Sciences and BSc in Physiotherapy) has worked as a fitness coach for Real Madrid CF, with previous experiences at Manchester City FC and Atletico de Madrid, among other football teams, since 2013. He has complemented his practical experience in professional football with the publication of books, presentations in international congresses and lecturing in the Technical University of Madrid (Spain), providing theoretical tools to develop an alternative approach to the training of football.