Foul or dive? Motor contributions to judging ambiguous foul situations in football

P.G. Renden, S. Kerstens, R.R.D. Oudejans, R. Canal Bruland

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Football (soccer) referees frequently face situations in which they have to distinguish dives and fouls. Yet, little is known about the contributing factors that characterise the ability to judge these ambiguous situations correctly. To this end, in the current article we tested the hypothesis that motor experience of observers contributes to the visual identification of deceptive actions. Thereto, we asked skilled football referees, skilled football players, wheelchair bounded football fans (thus with limited motor experience) and novices to judge whether potential tackle situations in football were either fouls or dives. Results revealed that the referees (accuracy 72.2%, s=6.2) and players (accuracy 72.0%, s=6.4) were better at discriminating fouls and dives than the fans (accuracy 61.1%, s=7.2) and the novices (accuracy 57.4%, s=7.0) (P < 0.001). The results seem to point to an added value of motor experience in detecting deceptive movements. © 2014 Copyright European College of Sport Science.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S221-S227
    JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
    Issue numberS1
    Early online date31 May 2012
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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