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Engineering 9516 Similitude, Modelling and Data Analysis

Term Paper

APPLICATION OF DESIGN OF EXPERIMENTS FOR HITTING THE

CROSSBAR.
Vahit Saydam1
1. Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, NL,

Abstract: Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The ultimate aim of this game is to score a goal.
In other words, to kick the ball and be as accurate as possible in finding the goal. Thus, being able to hit
the target is regarded as pure talent among soccer players. In this study, Design of Experiment (DOE)
method is applied using Design Expert software to show factors that have significant effect on hitting the
target. The target is specified as the crossbar of the goal. Two-level factorial design involving three factors
and a response is conducted. The experimental results present that all the factors; distance, strike angle
and foot are significant. The highest rate for hitting the crossbar is achieved when the ball is kicked using
right foot at short distance with 90 strike angle.

Keyword: Soccer, Crossbar, Design of Experiment, Two-level Factorial, Design Expert

1.

INTRODUCTION

Although soccer is not as popular as basketball, baseball or hockey in North America, it is played by 250
million players in over 150 countries worldwide. Soccer can be described as a sport played between two
teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each
end. (Wikipedia,2015) . The team that scores more by getting the ball into the opposing goal wins the game.
When foul is committed near the opposing goal by opposing team, free-kick is awarded. Free-kicks are
good opportunities for scoring a goal. The key point is to strike the ball accurately and strongly while taking
free-kicks. Otherwise, it will be an easy save by a goalkeeper. Therefore, this experimental study focuses
on hitting the crossbar as a target and identifying the effects of various factors.

Figure 3. Sketch of the experimental setup

2. PROCEDURES OF EXPERIMENT

Design of experiments provides many methods that can be utilized depending on the application. There
are several steps involved in the design of experiments. Guidelines for designing experiments
(Montgomery, 1976) are listed as follows;

2.1 Recognition of and Statement of The Problem

This experimental study examines the free-kick performance of a soccer player (fig.1).

Table 1. Factors and levels

Factor
Distance(m)
Strike angle()
Foot

Type
Numerical
Numerical
Categorical

Low level
15
0
Right

High level
30
90
Left

The factors of the experiment are chosen based on the experience of the soccer player. Foot used to kick
the ball is the most important factor. Using the strong foot when taking free-kicks makes a huge difference
in hitting the target. Therefore, this factor is categorically defined as right and left foot. Distance to the goal
is also a factor to be considered. The power of the strike and the path of the ball when it is kicked depend
on the distance. The shorter distance is determined to be 15 m while the long distance is set to 30 m away

from the center of the goal. Another factor that needs to be taken into account is strike angle. Most
professional soccer players have their own way of striking the ball with different angles. The strike angles
chosen as 0 and 90 are shown along with the free-kick spots in figure 3.

2.3 Selection of Response Variable

The response variable is the number of shots taken out of five free-kicks that hit the crossbar. The response
values vary between five and zero.

2.4. Choice of Experimental Design

Prior knowledge of the physical phenomena and intuition play a major role in choosing the experimental
design. Considering the number of factors and their levels, it is assumed that Two-Level Factorial design is
the most suitable model. As stated in Design and Analysis of Experiments book by Montgomery, the linear
response due to having two-level is often a reasonable assumption when we are just starting to study the
process or system .Two level factorial design allows us to analyze the main effect of individual factors
and interaction effect between the factors.

2.5 Performing Experiment

In this study, experiment has two numerical factors namely, distance to the goal and strike angle and a
categorical factor which is defined as foot used to kick the ball. The experiment was done on the soccer
field located on campus (fig 2). The distance from the center of the goal was measured using measuring
tape and then the free-kick spots were specified. The condition of the field was muddy and slippery due to
the heavy rain the day before the experiment. Before each free-kick, five steps were taken to ensure the
speed gain and power for the shot. Doing this enabled the free-kicker to concentrate fully on hitting the
crossbar regardless of the distance. Five free-kicks were taken for each run in succession. The run
sequence provided by the Design Expert software was followed during the experiment.

Although it was predicted that linear response is expected, the center points were added to the experiment
in order to ensure that there is no curvature effect. However, adding center points doubled the number of
runs due to the presence of categorical factor. There were sixteen runs including center points in total. The
experimental data is shown in Table 2

Run

Distance

1
2
3
4

30
15
15
30

Strike
Angle
90
0
90
90

Foot
Right
Right
Right
Left

crossbar
2
3
4
1

5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

22.5
22.5
30
30
15
22.5
15
22.5
22.5
22.5
22.5
22.5

45
45
0
0
90
45
0
45
45
45
45
45

Right
Left
Right
Left
Left
Right
Left
Right
Right
Left
Left
Left

3
1
2
0
3
3
2
3
2
2
1
1

2.6.1 Anova table and significant factors

In this section, the experimental results are evaluated using Design Expert software. 23 factorial design with
eight center points for right and left foot is picked. The data are analysed through the plots and tables taken
from Design Expert software.

Firstly, Anova table is created and following results are obtained. Any term whose p-value is less than 0.05
is considered as significant. It is seen that our model is significant at significance level of 0.05. According
to the table, all the factors A-distance, B-angle and C-foot are found to be significant. Curvature effect and
lack of fit seem to be insignificant.

Table 3. Anova table

Source
Model
A-Distance
B-Angle
C-Foot
Curvature
Residual
Lack of Fit
Pure Error
Cor Total

Sum of
Squares
14.8125
6.125
1.125
3.125
0.125
2
0.5
1.5
16.9375

df
3
1
1
1
2
10
4
6
15

Mean
Square
4.9375
6.125
1.125
3.125
0.0625
0.2
0.125
0.25

F
Value
24.6875
30.625
5.625
15.625
0.3125

p-value
Prob > F
< 0.0001
0.0002
0.0392
0.0027
0.7385

not significant

0.5

0.7383

not significant

significant

Std. Dev.
Mean
C.V. %
PRESS

0.420813
2.0625
20.40304
3.480816

R-Squared
Pred R-Squared

0.874539
0.843173
0.794491
18.41674

R-squared value is 0.874539 which is close to 1 indicating a relatively higher validity of the predicted
response while adjusted and predicted R-squared values are in a reasonable agreement. Signal to noise
ratio defined as adequate precision value, 18.41674, is greater than 4 indicating adequate model
discrimination.

2.6.2. Evaluation of the adequacy of the model

At this stage, it is required to ensure the adequacy of the model. Therefore, the assumptions of normal
distribution, constant variance and independence of the model are checked through the plots given.

Figure 7. Box- Cox Plot

Figure 4 shows the normality of the results. It is seen that all experimental results are near the straight line
which indicates no violation for normal distribution assumption. In figure 5, response values are scattered

randomly rather than megaphone pattern within the interval. This confirms the constant variance
assumption. Residuals vs Run plot (fig. 6) also illustrates the response values that do not follow any pattern
with no outliers. The randomization and independence of response values are vitally important for the
model. According to the Box-Cox plot (fig. 7), no transformation is suggested.

Overall, there seems to be nothing unusual with the plots. Thus, the adequacy of the model is satisfied.

2.6.3 Regression equation for prediction

The linear models for both right and left foot are obtained in terms of actual factors as follows;

Right foot

Left foot
003*(Angle)

2.7 Discussions of Results

2.7.1 Effects of distance to the goal, strike angle and foot used to kick the ball

Figure 10. Effect of foot

Since the interaction effects are not significant, the main effect plots are drawn. It is clear from the figure 8
that the average of the number of free-kicks taken at 15 m away from the goal is greater than that of the
free-kicks taken at 30 m. As expected, the number of hitting the crossbar increases as free-kicks are taken
closer to the goal. Figure 9 shows that the free-kicks taken at 90, in other words, when player is positioned
himself parallel to the goal lead to slightly higher number of hits in comparison with the ones taken at 0.
This can be attributed to the players general preference when he takes free-kicks. Foot that is used to take
free-kicks is the most crucial point. Free-kicks taken by using right foot result in higher number of hits when
compared with the ones taken by left foot. Despite the players ability to use both feet during a game, it is

seen that using strong foot while taking free-kicks makes a huge difference in accuracy and for this
experiment number of shots that hit the crossbar.

The points that can be seen in the effect graphs other than the points from which lines are drawn represent
the center point response values. It is seen that these points are not far from the linearity lines. This
indicates the insignificant curvature effect.

3. VALIDATION OF THE MODEL

What has been done so far only shows the interpretation of the model developed. However, the ultimate
judgement is to validate the model by doing follow-up runs and ensure that model gives satisfactory results
under the experimental conditions that have not been used before. 

Figure 11. Cube plot

The cube plot above illustrates that the highest rate of free-kicks taken out of five that hit the crossbar is
achieved when free-kick is taken at 15 m away from the goal with 90 strike angle using right foot whereas
the lowest rate is obtained for the free-kicks taken at 30 m with 0 strike angle using left foot.

In order to validate the model, five free-kicks are taken for the experimental conditions that have never been
used. The results are shown below.

Table 4. Validation runs

Try

Target

1
2

3
2

A
Distance
(m)
25
20

B
Strike
angle()

D
Foot

Desirability

60
75

Right
Left

1
1

Score

2
1

Table 4 presents the follow up runs. The targeted response values provided by the model could not be
achieved for the specified experimental conditions. This can be attributed to the fact that the weather
conditions (particularly gust of wind) had an enormous influence on the response. It affected the number of
crossbar hits negatively.

4. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In this study, experimental procedures are strictly followed. Fundamental requisites such as randomization,
normality assumption, independence of the factors are satisfied. The Two-level factorial design is fitted to
model. Linear models for categorical factors are created. The main effects are found to be significant
whereas interaction effects are insignificant. Follow-up runs are done to validate the model. However, it
seems that the model developed does not predict the real response correctly. This phenomena is referred
to the changed weather conditions.

If this experiment were to be repeated, improvement would be achieved by doing the following things. Since
the runs of the experiments took a long time, blocking could be implemented in order to divide runs into
blocks. This would be an ideal situation considering number of free-kicks taken for each run. Increasing
the number of free- kicks per run could be beneficial in terms of consistency of the experiment. This would
provide more replicates which in turn, leads to smaller error of estimate.

In choosing the factors at the beginning of the experiment, wind speed and direction could have been
included. Follow up runs showed the undeniable importance of wind factor. While the experiment was
carried out, the spots where free-kicks were taken gradually became more slippery and muddy. This may
have had an influence on the outcome of runs towards the end of the experiment. Therefore different spots
on the field with various distances could have been used in order to obtain better assessment for the
accuracy of soccer player. However, this would have increased the number of runs dramatically. Another
suggestion is that less center points could be used to reduce the number of runs and save time.

To summarize, this paper studies the free-kick accuracy performance of a soccer player. It provides a good
insight into the factors and its effects on the performance. This study also presents the design of
experiments methods usefulness in even non-technical area. It is seen that design of experiment methods
which in this case two-level factorial design plays a key role in understanding the fundamental of the subject
that is being dealt with.

5. REFERENCES

1. Montgomery, D.C. 1976. Design and Analysis of Experiments. John Wiley and Sons, New York, United
States of America

2. Lye, L. 2015. ENGI 9516: Similitude, Modeling and Data Analysis - Course Notes. Memorial University