Category Archives: the blog

George Murray: Analysis data is a vital tool before and during games

George Murray: Analysis data is a vital tool before and during games
As a performance analysis team we tend to work at least ten days in advance to prepare for our opposition.

The math behind basketball’s wildest moves

At the moment I’m taking the Math in sports course at edX/University of Notre Dame and since you tend to see the things you focus on, math related sports or sports related math, seems to be everywhere right now.
The other day I stumbled across this fascinating video from TED: The math behind basketball’s wildest moves, where Rajiv Maheswaran talks about analysing movement. Wow! I try to extrapolate into the future and imagine where this kind of technology will take us in, say rugby in a couple of years and it’s… well, fascinating! And a bit scary too.
Have a look and see for yourself. Where do you think this technology will take us and our sports?

Bring that screen – Roccat Tusko

Having a big, rugged trunk filled with all your technical gear transported safely across the continent would be nice when you travel with your team. But it’s expensive.

So what do a small club, with limited funds, do when it’s analyst needs to have a bigger screen with him on the road, than the one that’s already on his laptop?

Look no further. Roccat Tusko are bags for transporting LED screens. It’s mostly kids attending LAN parties who uses them, but they are just as handy for a analyst on the road.

Roccat Tusko

And they’re not too expensive. I bought my 24″ version (They come in two sizes – 15-19″ and 20-24″) for $55. A bargain compared to the big trunks to keep your screen safe.
Of course it’s nothing like those big, padded trunks since you can safely check them in on an airplane but the Tusko can be brought as carry-on-luggage on some airlines and be checked in as fragile goods at the rest. and the screen is protected by the padded case. Still a nice solution to the problem.

Check out the bags here:

Disclaimer: This is not an ad for Roccat and I haven’t been paid to write anything. It’s just my thoughts about a bag I recently bought.

Definitions first, then data

In his article “Longevity, production and efficiency in rugby kickers: a re-analysis of Ken Quarrie’s kicking dataset“, Eoin Gubbins are explaining different ways of looking at the dataset on which  a study by New Zealand Rugby Union sports scientist Ken Quarrie, earlier mentioned in my post “What a study of rugby kickers can teach your business”  is built.

But – what he does, in a very interesting and well written article, is just that. He’s explaining that there is multiple ways to view a dataset.
That leads to a missing focus. So in the article Eoin introduces a focus, something he wants to study. In this case – greatness.
(To be perfectly clear, the study didn’t lack focus. On the contrary. But it wasn’t greatness that was the focus of the study.)

Eoin argues that the study doesn’t account for certain variables, but I would argue that until you’ve defined your focus, you can’t know which variables are required, obsolete or missing.

I’m also not arguing with Eoin, or the commenters of The Score, about the fact that greatness probably involves more variables than the study used, but then the study was not intended to rank players by greatness, only on a percentage altered to account for kick location on the ground, the context of the match (based on score difference and time elapsed) and which stadium the kicker was at.

So when wanting a list with the greatest kickers, Eoin has to come up with a definition of greatness – “true greatness involves production over a long period at a highly efficient rate” – to be able to create it. Greatness can be a lot of things depending on your view, but this was Eoin’s definition of it and when defining it this way, the study was lacking certain variables to be able to produce a list of the greatest kickers. So in that aspect Eoin was right.

So definitions first, so we know what we are looking for/at. Then we can select and study the data appropriate for the definition. Otherwise it’s just a matter of opinion/view and that is not what evidence based coaching and learning is about.
Thanks for a good article on some fascinating data, Eoin. And thanks for forcing me to think twice about definitions and data.