Analyzing the Intricacies and Efficiency of One-Touch Football

Footballers demonstrating one-touch technique on the field.

There’s something undeniably mesmerizing about watching footballers play the ball with a single touch. Such a display is not only thrilling for spectators but also poses a formidable challenge for players. Dive deeper into this art form as we discuss a scientific study conducted by Alain Lemoine on one-touch football.

Read more: Analyzing the Intricacies and Efficiency of One-Touch Football

The Art of One-Touch Play Under Guardiola:

Under Pep Guardiola’s leadership, FC Barcelona displayed exemplary one-touch football. Their strategy was straightforward: players were to touch the ball only once, making the game faster and leaving opponents scrambling. With virtuosos like Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi, the spectacle was nothing short of exhilarating. Consider the video below as a testament to their skill:

The Complexities of One-Touch Football:

Onscreen, the game may look effortless, but in practice, it’s incredibly demanding. Julian Nagelsmann emphasizes this point in an interview, remarking, “While it’s a sight to behold, one-touch play isn’t effective for most teams. It’s fast but can often lead to loss of possession, diminishing scoring opportunities.”

Analyzing One-Touch Strategy with Alain Lemoine:

Alain Lemoine, from the University of Le Bailly, France, authored a detailed analysis titled “Technical and Tactical Analysis of One-Touch Playing in Soccer – Study of the Production of Information.” The primary goal of the study was to understand the efficacy of one-touch playing (OTP) strategy.

Study Design and Approach:

To grasp OTP’s nuances, Lemoine and his team observed how players managed spatial information, including how attackers moved to retain possession and score, and defenders’ responses. The study engaged 40 male footballers, ranging from provincial to semi-professional levels. The experimental game comprised two teams, with one playing one-touch against a team without restrictions. Each match lasted 4 minutes and was recorded for detailed analysis.

Brain Function and One-Touch Football:

Playing with a single touch demands a lot from footballers. Aside from their technical prowess, players must swiftly process information both on and off the ball. Information processing speed is influenced by factors like neurotransmitters, the fatty layer encompassing neurons, synapse size, neural network organization, and the efficiency of frontal lobes.

Upon evaluating the footage, Lemoine’s team dissected the data, inputting it into specialized software. This produced schematic representations of players’ positions during specific passing moments. Their findings indicate that one-touch playing is efficient and secure.

A Critical Look at the Findings:

While Lemoine’s research provides a structured perspective, it doesn’t offer practical recommendations. Their conclusions might even be somewhat skewed by counting only successful passes, overlooking technical errors. This omission reflects Nagelsmann’s viewpoint. With advancements in data technology since the study’s publication in 2005, it would be intriguing to discern the genuine success rate of one-touch football.


One-touch football, while alluring, demands a fine balance of physical skill and cognitive speed. For coaches, Lemoine’s study can serve as a theoretical backing, but its comprehensive practicality remains debatable. Stay tuned for more insights on enhancing processing speed in football-specific scenarios.


A. Lemoine, H. Jullien & S. Ahmaidi (2005) Technical and tactical analysis of one-touch playing in soccer – Study of the production of information., International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 5:1, 83-103, DOI: 10.1080/24748668.2005.11868318

Braaten, E., & Willoughby, B. (2015). Ik snap het wel, maar niet zo snel… (1ste editie). Göttingen, Duitsland: Hogrefe.

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