Complex Systems in Sport Research Group - SGR 1637



Athletes, as well as sport teams and sport clubs, are complex systems which can present a quite simple but also a very complex behaviour. In general all sport related phenomena are often qualified as complex because they are hard to be understood within the framework of one simple underlying theory. Actually, the integrative and multivariate nature of biological and sociobiological systems is a trivial but disturbing fact for any scientist striving to capture the big picture. At the first glance, it would seem that complex biological systems, unable to satisfy the aims of general scientific theories should be fragmented with the aim to find highly specialized explanations at different levels and domains (as it is predominantly done through reductionist approaches). Nevertheless, the collective (or cooperative) effects that characterize sport related phenomena can be successfully studied by searching the behavior of collective variables which capture the coherent, coordinated behavior of system’s component processes.

What happens when we ski, swim, jump, compete against another team or collaborate with teammates? Suppose a recognized intricate coordination of functions. The complex systems science allows the study of the coordinated behavior emerging from the interaction between the components of diverse systems acting at different domains (social, physiologic, psychological, etc.). The complex systems approach changes the extant comprehension of many sport related phenomena and give the chance to understand some still unsolved questions. The repercussions on sport practice (policy and management strategies, teaching and training interventions, etc.) are obviously derived from this change of perspective.

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