Web-based training improves on-field offside decision-making performance

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Abstract

Objective:

The present study examined to what extent off-field offside decision-making training transfers to real-life offside situations.

Design/methods:

Eighteen Belgian assistant referees were included in the experiment. Ten assistant referees (i.e., training group) were exposed to a pre- and posttest and, in between, four off-field offside training sessions via a web-based training protocol. The remaining eight assistant referees participated in the control group and only completed the pre- and posttest. During both test sessions, which were conducted separately for each group, both an on- and off-field offside decision-making test was completed.

Results:

First, an increase in response accuracy and a decrease in flag errors were observed for the training group from pre- to posttest in both the on- and off-field offside test. Second, only the training group improved in the recall and recognition accuracy of the position of the receiving attacker at the moment of the pass.

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates that perceptual-cognitive skill training results in a positive and direct transfer to on-field offside decisions. Therefore, the structure and the content of the current training intervention mimics the perceptual difficulties of real-match situations and can help the assistant referees to mediate and enhance their offside decision-making skills, both on- and off-field.

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