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How Habits Shape Football (And Why They Matter To You)

Paul Grech Tuesday, October 22, 2013 , ,
There are very few teams who can do what Barcelona have; keeping the sympathy and support of the neutrals despite dominating Spanish and, to an extent, European football.  Few seem to begrudge their success and, if anything, many cheer them on.  If someone other than my team has to win, then I’d rather it is Barcelona.

The reason for that lies in the way that they play the game.  The verve, creativity and fluidity of their movement is as spellbinding for those watching as it is to the defenders who are trying to stop them from scoring.  

Look closer, however, and you start noticing something strange; that their play seems to follow a very rigid pattern.  The six-seconds rule – press in order to try to win back possession for six second after losing it and if that doesn’t happen, retreat back to your half of the pitch – is perhaps the most famous such pattern but there are others.  

The rest of this piece, which was hugely inspired by Charles Duhigg’s excellent book ‘The Power of Habit', can be found on Blueprint for Football.


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