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Power law distributions in pattern dynamics of attacker-defender dyads in the team sport of Rugby Union: Phenomena in a region of self-organized criticality?
Volume: 11, Issue 2
In the region of self-organized criticality (SOC) interdependency between multi-agent system components exists and slight changes in near-neighbor interactions can break the balance of equally poised options leading to transitions in system order. In this region, frequency of events of differing magnitudes exhibits a power law distribution. The aim of this paper was to investigate whether a power law distribution characterized attacker-defender interactions in team sports. For this purpose we observed attacker and defender in a dyadic sub-phase of rugby union near the try line. Videogrammetry was used to capture players’ motion over time as player locations were digitized. Power laws were calculated for the rate of change of players’ relative position. Data revealed that three emergent patterns from dyadic system interactions (i.e., try; unsuccessful tackle; effective tackle) displayed a power law distribution. Results suggested that pattern forming dynamics dyads in rugby union exhibited SOC. It was concluded that rugby union dyads evolve in SOC regions suggesting that players’ decisions and actions are governed by local interactions rules.