Discovering Frequently Recurring Movement Sequences in Team-Sport Athlete Spatiotemporal Data


Athlete external load is typically analysed from predetermined movement thresholds. The combination of movement sequences and differences in these movements between playing positions is also currently unknown. This study developed a method to discover the frequently recurring movement sequences across playing position during matches. The external load of 12 international female netball athletes was collected by a local positioning system during four national-level matches. Velocity, acceleration and angular velocity were calculated from positional (X, Y) data, clustered via one-dimensional k-means and assigned a unique alphabetic label. Combinations of velocity, acceleration and angular velocity movement were compared using the Levenshtein distance and similarities computed by the longest common substring problem. The contribution of each movement sequence, according to playing position and relative to the wider data set, was then calculated via the Minkowski distance. A total of 10 frequently recurring combinations of movement were discovered, regardless of playing position. Only the wing attack, goal attack and goal defence playing positions are closely related. We developed a technique to discover the movement sequences, according to playing position, performed by elite netballers. This methodology can be extended to discover the frequently recurring movements within other team sports and across levels of competition.

In Journal of Sports Sciences