Factors influencing player engagement with Performance Analysis in a New Zealand national league football club

Stuart Moffatt
31January 2020


Moffatt, S.G. (2020). Factors influencing player engagement with Performance Analysis in a New Zealand national league football club. (A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree Master of Applied Science (Exercise and Health) at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand) [PDF 1.05MB]


Player engagement is an important pedagogical factor for measuring qualitative athlete learning. However, literature is scarce on player engagement with Performance Analysis (PA) in football. The term player engagement is used within and between PA research as though there is common understanding of the definition. Researchers within PA in football have highlighted the tendency within the canon towards stand-alone definitions and nondiscipline wide isolated variables which make cross comparison between studies difficult. In this context a definition of player engagement is pertinent. Since coaches and players can be understood to share a similar pedagogical relationship to teachers and students, it is recognised that an understanding of learner engagement can be sought from the corresponding education literature. In the education canon there are considerable numbers of research papers attempting to define student engagement. While an exact definition remains complex, there is agreement that student engagement can be considered the quality of the effort students afford to their learning. In applied practice there is value in comparing the perceptions of teachers and students as to what engages learners. This holistic approach recognises the importance of engaged pedagogues to the quality of learning. This thesis comprises three studies; one using autoethnographic data from a reflective diary of an assistant coach/analyst, the other two use data from the verbatim transcripts from players’ and head coaches’ focus groups. Qualitative content analysis identified factors  influencing player engagement from the perspectives of the participants within the three studies. The results showed that from the perspective of the assistant coach/analyst, player engagement is influenced by the PA delivery style. The qualitative content analysis of the player’s responses indicates that players’ expectations and preferences are a major contributing factor to player engagement. From the head coaches’ perspectives, the main factor influencing player engagement is the ability to impart a concise message.

Key words: Player engagement; Performance Analysis; Football; Soccer; Autoethnographic reflection; Focus Groups; Qualitative Content Analysis.

This research was supervised by Codi Ramsey and Simon Middlemas.


This thesis is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence CC BY-NC 4.0 International.