Analysis of diachronic relationships in successful and unsuccessful behaviors by world fencing champions using three complementary techniques

  • Rafael Tarragó Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya Universidad de Barcelona
  • Xavier Iglesias Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya Universidad de Barcelona
  • Daniel Lapresa Universidad de La Rioja
  • María Teresa Anguera Universidad de Barcelona
  • Laura Ruiz-Sanchis Universidad Católica de Valencia “San Vicente Mártir”
  • Javier Arana Universidad Internacional de La Rioja
Keywords: Tactics, lag sequential analysis, polar coordinates, T-patterns, observational methodology, fencing.


The aim of this study was to investigate diachronic relationships in successful and unsuccessful behaviors by world fencing champions using three complementary techniques: T-pattern analysis, lag sequential analysis, and polar coordinate analysis. We employed a nomothetic, point, multidimensional observational design in which we analyzed 24 bouts fenced by six world fencing champions in 2014. The actions were recorded and coded using LINCE software. The results revealed a series of behaviors that were significantly associated with successful outcomes, and also identified actions that contributed to poorer performance. One key conclusion to be drawn from the study is that the use of these complementary techniques is perfectly feasible and holds great potential in the field of sport. Lag sequential analysis of occurrences at lag 0 (co-occurrences) and analysis of basic T-patterns provided tactical insights into the different fencing actions employed. This analysis is focused on the actions and reactions of each fencer and his rival during each exchange. Insights into combat strategy, by contrast, were provided by lag sequential analysis of occurrences at lags -1 to -5 and lags +1 to +5, analysis of T-pattern clusters, and polar coordinate analysis. In the last case, we observed how prospective and retrospective behaviors, reflected in the modification or extension of certain behaviors during each bout, improved the efficacy of actions performed throughout the competition.


Download data is not yet available.


American Psychological Association (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57(12), 1060-1073.

Allison, P.D., & Liker, J.K. (1982). Analyzing sequential categorical data on dyadic interaction: A comment on Gottman. Psychological Bulletin, 93, 393–403.

Anguera, M.T. (1979). Observational Typology. Quality & Quantity. European-American Journal of Methodology, 13(6), 449-484.

Anguera, M.T. (1990). Metodología observacional. En J. Arnau, M.T. Anguera y J. Gómez (Eds.), Metodología de la investigación en ciencias del comportamiento (pp. 125-238). Murcia: Universidad de Murcia.

Anguera, M.T. (1997). From prospective patterns in behavior to joint analysis with a retrospective perspective. En Colloque sur invitation «Méthodologie d’analyse des interactions sociales». Paris: Université de la Sorbonne.

Anguera, M.T. (2007). Análisis de la temporalidad en registros observacionales de situaciones deportivas: ¿Dos caras de una misma realidad? En A. Borges y P. Prieto (Eds.), Psicología y Ciencias Afines en los albores del siglo XXI (Homenaje al Profesor Sánchez Bruno) (pp. 25-40). Granada: Grupo Editorial Universitario.

Anguera, M.T., Blanco-Villaseñor, A., Hernández-Mendo, A., & Losada, J.L. (2011). Diseños observacionales: ajuste y aplicación en psicología del deporte. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 11(2), 63-76.

Anguera, M.T., & Hernández-Mendo, A. (2013). Observational methodology in sport Journal of Sport Science, 9(3), 135-160.

Anguera, M.T., & Hernández-Mendo, A. (2015). Técnicas de análisis en estudios observacionales en ciencias del deporte. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 15(1), 13-30.

Anguera, M.T., & Losada, J.L. (1999). Reducción de datos en marcos de conducta mediante la técnica de coordenadas polares. En M.T. Anguera (Ed.), Observación de la conducta interactiva en situaciones naturales: Aplicaciones (pp. 163-188). Barcelona: E.U.B.

Anguera, M.T., Santoyo, C., & Espinosa, M.C. (2003). Evaluating links intensity in social networks in a school context through observational designs. In R. García Mira, J.M. Sabucedo Cameselle & J. Romay Martínez (Eds.), Culture, Environmental Action and Sustainability (pp. 286-298). Göttingen: Hogrefe & Huber.

Aquili, A., Tancredi, V., Triossi, T., Sanctis, D., Padua, E., D'Arcangelo, G., & Melchiorri, G. (2013). Performance Analysis in Saber. The Journal of Strength y Conditioning Research, 27(3).

Bakeman, R. (1978). Untangling streams of behavior: Sequential analysis of observation data. In G.P. Sackett (Ed.), Observing Behavior (Vol. 2, pp. 63-78). Baltimore: University of Park Press.

Bakeman, R. (1991). From lags to logs: Advances in sequential analysis. Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, 17(3), 65-83.

Bakeman, R., Adamson, L.B., & Strisik, P. (1988). Lags and logs: Statistic approaches to interaction. In M.H. Bornstein, & J. Bruner (Eds.) Interaction in Human Development (pp. 241-260). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J.M. (1986). Observing interaction: An introduction to sequential analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bakeman, R., & Quera, V. (1995).Analyzing interaction: Sequential analysis with SDIS and GSEQ. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bakeman, R., & Quera, V. (2001).Using GSEQ with SPSS. Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, 3 (2), 195-214.

Bakeman, R., & Quera, V. (2011). Sequential analysis and observational methods for the behavioral sciences: Cambridge University Press.

Barth, B. (1994). Strategia e tatticanello sport. Rivista di Cultura Sportiva, 31, 10-20.

Blanco-Villaseñor, A., & Anguera, M.T. (2000). Evaluación de la calidad en el registro del comportamiento: Aplicación a deportes de equipo. En E. Oñate, F. García-Sicilia y L. Ramallo (Eds.), Métodos numéricos en ciencias sociales (pp. 30-48). Barcelona: Centro Internacional de Métodos Numéricos en Ingeniería (CIMNE).

Camerino, O., Prieto, I., Lapresa, D., Gutiérrez, A., & Hileno, R.(2014). Detección de T-patterns en la observación de deportes de combate.Revista de Psicología del Deporte, 23(1), 147-155.

Cochran W.G. (1954). Some methods for streghning the common χ² test. Biometrics, 10, 417-451.

Espinosa, M.C., Anguera, M.T., & Santoyo, C. (2004). Análisis jerárquico y secuencial de patrones sociales “rudimentarios” establecidos por niños pequeños. Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, vol. Especial, 197-204.

FIE (2014). Reglamentos. Recuperado el 20 de junio de 2014 de

Gabin, B., Camerino, O., Anguera, M.T., & Castañer, M. (2012). Lince: multiplatform sport analysis software. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 4692-4694.

Gorospe, G., & Anguera, M.T. (2000). Modificación de la técnica clásica de coordenadas polares mediante un desarrollo distinto de la retrospectividad: aplicación al tenis. Psicothema, 12(2), 279-282.

Gutiérrez-Santiago, A., Prieto, I., Camerino, O., & Anguera, M.T. (2011a). The temporal structure of judo bouts in visually impaired men and women. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(13), 1443-1451.

Gutiérrez-Santiago, A., Prieto, I., Camerino, O., & Anguera, M.T. (2011b). Identificación y análisis del aprendizaje del judo mediante la metodología observacional. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 104(2), 46-55.

Gutiérrez-Santiago, A., Prieto, I., Camerino, O., & Anguera, M.T. (2013).Sequences of errors in the judo throw Morote Seoi Nage and their relationship to the learning

process. Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, 227(1), 57–63.

Hayes, A.F., & Krippendorff, K. (2007). Answering the call for a standard reliability measure for coding data.Communication Methods and Measures, 1, 77-89.

Hernández-Mendo, A., López-López, J. A., Castellano, J., Morales-Sánchez, V., & Pastrana, J. L. (2012). Hoisan 1.2: Programa informático para uso en metodología observacional. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 12(1), 55-78.

Iglesias, X., Gasset, A., González-Prado, C., & Anguera, M.T. (2010). Interacción competitiva y presión ambiental en deportes de combate: aplicación de la metodología observacional. Revista Iberoamericana de Psicología del Deporte, 5(2), 267-282.

Jonsson, G.K., Anguera, M.T., Sánchez-Algarra, P., Oliveira, C., Campaniço, J., Castañer, M., Torrents, C., Dinusová, M., Chaverri, J., Camerino, O., & Magnusson, M.S. (2010): Application of T-pattern Detection and Analysis in Sports Research. The Open Sports Sciences Journal, 3, 62-71.

Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content Analysis. An introduction to its methodology (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lapresa, D., Alsasua, R., Arana, J., Anguera, M.T., & Garzón, B. (2014). Análisis observacional de la construcción de las secuencias ofensivas que acaban en lanzamiento en baloncesto de categoría infantil. Revista de Psicología del Deporte, 23(2), 365-376.

Lapresa, D., Anguera, M. T., Alsasua, R., Arana, J., & Garzón, B. (2013). Comparative analysis of T-patterns using real time data and simulated data by assignment of conventional durations: the construction of efficacy in children's basketball. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 13(2), 321-339.

Lapresa, D., Arana, J., Anguera, M.T., & Garzón, B. (2013). Comparative analysis of the sequentiality using SDIS-GSEQ and THEME: a concrete example in soccer. Journal of Sport Sciences, 31(5), 1687-1695.

Lapresa, D., Ibáñez, R., Arana, J., Amatria, M., & Garzón, B. (2011). Estudi comparatiu de les accions de combat en el karate de categoria juvenil (12-13 anys) i sènior. Apunts. Educació Física i Esports, 104(2), 66-79.

López-López, J.A., Menescardi, C., Estevan, I., Falcó, C., & Hernández-Mendo, A. (2015). Análisis técnico-táctico en Taekwondo con coordenadas polares a través del software Hoisan. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 15(1), 131-142.

Magnusson, M.S. (1996). Hidden real-time patterns in intra- and inter-individual behavior: Description and detection. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 12(2), 112-123.

Magnusson, M.S. (2000). Discovering hidden time patterns in behavior: T-patterns and their detection. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 32(1), 93-110.

Magnusson, M.S. (2005). Understanding social interaction:Discovering hidden structure with model and algorithms. InL. Anolli, S. Duncan, M.S. Magnusson, & G. Riva (Eds.), The hidden structure of interactions: From neurons to culture patterns (pp. 4–20). Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Magnusson, M.S. (2015). Time and self-similar structure in behavior and interactions: From sequences to symmetry and fractals. In M.S. Magnusson, J.K. Burgoon, & M. Casarrubea (Eds.). Discovering hidden temporal patterns in behavior and interaction. T-patterns detection and analysis with THEME (pp. 3-35). New York: Springer.

Pattern Vision Ltd & Noldus Information Technologybv (2004). Theme, powerful tool for detection and analysis of hidden patterns in behaviour. Reference manual, version 5.0. Wageningen: The Netherlands: Noldus Information Technology bv.

Prieto, I., Gutiérrez-Santiago, A., Camerino, O., & Anguera, M.T. (2013). Knowledge of error in relation to the teaching and learning osoto-gari judo throw. International Journal of Sport Sciences & Coaching, 8(1), 53-62.

Quera, V. (1993). Análisis secuencial. En M.T. Anguera (Ed.) Metodología observacional en la investigación psicológica (pp. 341-586). Barcelona: P.P.U., Vol. II.

Roi, G.S., & Bianchedi, D. (2008). The science of fencing: implications for performance and injury prevention. Sports Medicine, 38(6), 465-481.

Sackett, G.P. (1980). Lag Sequential Analysis as a data reduction technique in social interaction research. In D.B. Sawin, R.C. Hawkins, L.O. Walker, & J.H. Penticuff (Eds.), Exceptional infant. Psychosocial risks in infant-environment transactions (pp. 300-340). New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Sackett, G.P. (1987). Analysis of Sequential Social Interaction data: Some Issues. Recent Developments and a Causal Inference Model. In J.D. Osofsky (Eds.), Handbook of infant development (pp. 855-878).New York: Wiley.

Sánchez-Algarra, P., & Anguera, M.T. (2013). Qualitative/quantitative integration in the inductive observational study of interactive behaviour: Impact of recording and coding predominating perspectives. Quality & Quantity, 47(2), 1237-1257.

Szabó, L. (1997). Fencing and the master. Budapest: Corvina Kiado.

Tarragó, R., Iglesias, X., Lapresa, D., & Anguera, M.T. (2016). Complementariedad entre las relaciones diacrónicas de los T-patterns y los patrones de conducta en acciones de esgrima de espada masculina de élite. Cuadernos de Psicología de Deporte, 16(1), 113-128.

Tarragó, R., Iglesias, X., Michavila, J.J., Chaverri, D., Ruiz-Sanchís, L., & Anguera, M.T. (2015). Análisis de patrones en combates de espada de alto nivel. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 15(1), 149-158.

Turner, A., Miller, S., Stewart, P., Cree, J., Ingram, R., Dimitriou, L., Moody, J., & Kilduff, L. (2013). Strength and Conditioning for Fencing. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 35(1), 1-9.

How to Cite
Tarragó, R., Iglesias, X., Lapresa, D., Anguera, M. T., Ruiz-Sanchis, L., & Arana, J. (2017). Analysis of diachronic relationships in successful and unsuccessful behaviors by world fencing champions using three complementary techniques. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 33(3), 471-485.
Monographic theme: Observational data analysis