The use of performance indicators in performance analysis

J Sports Sci. 2002 Oct;20(10):739-54. doi: 10.1080/026404102320675602.


The aims of this paper are to examine the application of performance indicators in different sports and, using the different structural definitions of games, to make general recommendations about the use and application of these indicators. Formal games are classified into three categories: net and wall games, invasion games, and striking and fielding games. The different types of sports are also sub-categorized by the rules of scoring and ending the respective matches. These classes are analysed further, to enable definition of useful performance indicators and to examine similarities and differences in the analysis of the different categories of game. The indices of performance are sub-categorized into general match indicators, tactical indicators, technical indicators and biomechanical indicators. Different research examples and the accuracy of their presentation are discussed. We conclude that, to enable a full and objective interpretation of the data from the analysis of a performance, comparisons of data are vital. In addition, any analysis of the distribution of actions across the playing surface should also be presented normalized, or non-dimensionalized, to the total distribution of actions across the area. Other normalizations of performance indicators should also be used more widely in conjunction with the accepted forms of data analysis. Finally, we recommend that biomechanists should pay more attention to games to enrich the analysis of performance in these sports.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Sports / classification
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*