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Passing the ball


Date: Friday 8 April 2022

Time: 09.30 – 10.40

Location: Zoom

Analysis of passing the ball in three team sports. With researchers from Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Title: "Passing the ball: the basic block of intersubjectivity in team sports"

Roman Matvienko & Christian Greiffenhagen
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Kennedy Bakircioglu
Kennedy about to pass the ball. Foto: Stefan Holm

Passing the ball is a basic technical skill and dominant mode of playing in ball and/or goal team sports such as football, basketball, handball, rugby, hockey, etc. Passing allows players to preserve possession of the ball and gain tactical advantage in a game.

Passing minimally involves two players: a ball carrier who passes the ball and a receiver who receives the ball. However, the ball carrier and receiver are not operating in a vacuum, but in the presence of opponents. Ball carriers have to take the movement of opponents into account when producing a timely pass. Furthermore, since passing is done ‘for everyone to see’, opponents can also see what ball carriers are doing and try to intercept a pass. Conversely, ball carriers are analysing the movements of opponents, which can lead them to abandon a pass.

Using publicly available data from three team sports (rugby, football, and basketball) we adopt an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective to analyse the sequential order of passing. We present fragments that show ‘looking’ (the mutual gaze coordination between ball carrier and receiver), ‘timing’ (the ball carrier taking into account the position of the opponents when producing a pass), ‘intercepting’ (the opponent anticipating the ball carrier’s passing action), and ‘abandoning’ (the ball carrier withdrawing from passing in light of what the opponent is doing).

Join us via the following Zoom link: