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Design of experiments, factorial design
Soccer experiment

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Term Paper

CROSSBAR.

Vahit Saydam1

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

Canada

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.

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.

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;

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

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.

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.

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 [1].Two level factorial design allows us to analyze the main effect of individual factors

and interaction effect between the factors.

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

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.

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

Adj R-Squared

Pred R-Squared

Adeq Precision

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.

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 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.

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

Right foot

Left foot

003*(Angle)

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

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.

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. [2]

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.

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.

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

of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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