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HungryLikeTheWolf
Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05 February, 2018 17:53
My team the Philadelphia Eagles won possibly the greatest Super Bowl game ever in the early hours. Midway through the season they lost not only their star quarterback but also 3 other first team players. They then beat possibly the greatest ever NFL side, the Patriots with best ever QB, Tom Brady and best ever coach, Bill
Belichik.


How? This article is interesting in the level of analysis and moneyball stats. Rugby is nowhere near this sophisticated, but the better sides are getting there. Itís no coincidence that Alex Sanderson spent some of last summer in the States.


[mobile.nytimes.com]

 
TheGent
Re: Analysis in Sport
TheGent (IP Logged)
05 February, 2018 18:29
Turning sport into a computer run algorithm rather takes away from the game for me. No need for a fantastic coach to make big game calls if you can achieve a better result with 3rd party software.

Having watched the super bowl last night I do understand why teams do it, I just hope rugby never loses it's human element.

 
SaintsAsh
Re: Analysis in Sport
SaintsAsh (IP Logged)
05 February, 2018 18:34




There is more sophistication in rugby than people realise.

I think our problems are similar to Argentina's in this video, our decisions from 10 have been poor (partly from injuries)

We also have other problems which are hopefully being addressed.





Look at SA defence and how they work for each other (granted they gone a little backwards since)







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2018 18:36 by SaintsAsh.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05 February, 2018 19:06
Quote:
TheGent
Turning sport into a computer run algorithm rather takes away from the game for me. No need for a fantastic coach to make big game calls if you can achieve a better result with 3rd party software.
Having watched the super bowl last night I do understand why teams do it, I just hope rugby never loses it's human element.



Doug Pederson ran a 4th down trick play where our sub tight end threw to our quarterback for a touchdown. The sort of play you only see in college football. Thatís a great coach making a big game call....


If you watch documentaries on NFL, the level of psychology, mortivation, communication with fans and all those human elements are extremely important and much better than rugby but of course itís a more mature game with more money hence attracts better quality of people across all disciplines.


But going forward the best rugby sides will be using stats with those human elements.

 
herbie85
Re: Analysis in Sport
herbie85 (IP Logged)
05 February, 2018 19:56
Think your right that analysis should be and is increasing. However to make direct comparisons to American football is difficult as everything is a set play, each and every down.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05 February, 2018 21:17
Oh sure but the level of analysis is also there in Baseball, hence Moneyball reference.

For example, look at our recruitment. Very little analysis over the last few years using basic squad weightings vs net output per player (tighthead > winger for example).


I am sure Eddie Jones is strong in this area.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Analysis in Sport
Matthew (IP Logged)
05 February, 2018 22:17
It's a technique that has been applied successfully a touch closer to home as well!

[www.espncricinfo.com]



ACTUAL TRAINING FOOTAGE FROM
BEHIND THE SCENES AT SARACENS:
http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/37800000/Scrooge-McDuck-gif-mickey-and-friends-37815657-245-188.gif

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Analysis in Sport
SaintMaul (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 07:57
I wonder if it will be in our lifetime that AI coaches become banned from sport and the first AI cheating scandal

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Analysis in Sport
shendy (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 08:02
Back in 1989/90, I was at Nene College (as it still was then) doing an HND in Computer Studies, and we did projects with external companies during our second year. My group worked on a statistical system for Northants CCC - not that it ever actually got anywhere, it was more about the analysis and design process than getting a working system.
Looking back, it was incredibly basic compared to what people like Andrew Samson (TMS scorer/stats guru) do now, but showed some thinking a bit ahead of its time - I remember discussions with the Secretary and coach about identifying trends such as certain batsmen getting out to specific types of bowler.

It was fantastic for me as I was a member at the time - I lived a few minutes away and spent entire summers there watching games.
Happy days...



There ain't no Sanity Clause

 
HerbieSaint
Re: Analysis in Sport
HerbieSaint (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 09:22
I think one of the main points of Moneyball is that it was about finding value in undervalued players - using statistics and hard evidence to dig out good players who had been ignored due to the conscious (or unconscious) biases of coaches who considered themselves experts in the game. This seems like it can only be a good thing in rugby too.

It was also considering how the parts make up the whole - can a player who contributes significantly in one area but has a deficiency elsewhere still contribute by being paired with players who have complementing skills.

I don't think there's a risk of computers taking over the sport - in fact, since the publication of Moneyball a lot of baseball teams, including the Oakland A's, have moderated their approach and reintroduced more traditional scouting methods to complement the statistical approach.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 09:22
I would recommend saints allows some whizz kid undergrad to have a crack at some stats work for free (allowing them to use for cv). Darbon can use his oxford alumni to find candidates.

 
rugbymel
Re: Analysis in Sport
rugbymel (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 10:17
Quote:
HungryLikeTheWolf
I would recommend saints allows some whizz kid undergrad to have a crack at some stats work for free (allowing them to use for cv). Darbon can use his oxford alumni to find candidates.

Unpaid internships are immoral and Saints have a history.

 
Longers
Re: Analysis in Sport
Longers (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 10:31
One only has to go down to the local college/Uni and have a look at the Sports Science labs and the work they are doing today.

But this is nothing new and has been around for quite some time.

I've said it before, Robbie said it in his piece, data is one thing, how it is used is another. Looking outside rugby, at a data-centric industry - Formula 1 - see how far off McLaren are with their data use compared to Red Bull or even Williams.

The ability to measure these things has been around for a long time, but as with much of the coaching at Saints, and probably other clubs too, what is measured and how those results are interpreted, makes all the difference.

An interesting comment in one report on wearable sensors suggests - " In fact, the reason the market has not evolved much is not because of technology, but the gap between sport science practice and the team coach. "

[simplifaster.com]

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Analysis in Sport
Robby Richmond (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 10:42
I'll tell you what I'll settle for.
I'll settle for the club not relying on E-mails from Agents to recruit.
I'll settle the club not relying on Youtube to identify players from E-mails from Agents.
I'll settle the club allowing the video analysis team to actually run the numbers on players before they give them £200,000 contracts.

 
Nath-coys
Re: Analysis in Sport
Nath-coys (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 11:35
Really interesting piece HLTW.

I too follow Nfl and the attention to detail is at a staggering level.

While analysis and statistics will continue too grow, I still believe it is how it is broken down and used to improve and gain advantages where the true skill is.

As well as this, the Best coaches will always be the best for human qualities.
You can have the best stats and analysis in the world, but if you can not lead, or inspire confidence in a team it is worthless.
You also need too 'sell' these stats and analysis too the players to get them too improve.

For example you could analyse any player and say you need too improve this and that.... But putting it across in a way they take in on board and look to rectify either a fault in technique or effort or fitness is where for me top coaches are separated from the average coaches.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 12:39
Quote:
rugbymel
Quote:
HungryLikeTheWolf
I would recommend saints allows some whizz kid undergrad to have a crack at some stats work for free (allowing them to use for cv). Darbon can use his oxford alumni to find candidates.

Unpaid internships are immoral and Saints have a history.



I am not suggesting they do an internship for free. If they wanted to use Saints to help build a university thesis/dissertation then thats quid pro quo.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Analysis in Sport
Robby Richmond (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 13:40
If you didn't pay them or employ them I'd be tapping them up for the info in exchange for a couple of hundred quid if I were any other premiership club.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 14:27
Thatís why we have NDAs Robby ..... :-)

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 14:28
and realistically if the output adds value, heís fully employed as technical analyst post graduation

 
Duncan Keene
Re: Analysis in Sport
Duncan Keene (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 15:42
Thanks HLTW, good article to read.

As an NFL (Jets) fan, i have been intrigued to see the game develop over the last few years, they seem to be in a video ref mess just as much as we are especially over the catch rule, not that i imagine that is bothering an Eagles fan this week! But their protocols in that area are light years ahead of rugby.

The pass play to Foles was just brilliant, the Pats attempted pass to Brady was also a well designed play that i think he catches often enough for them to call it again. I could see a team putting two QBs on the field at some point in the future on certain downs, it just seems to open up a whole world of trick plays.

I'm sure rugby only scratches the surface on analytics.

 
fair_weather_fan
Re: Analysis in Sport
fair_weather_fan (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 15:52
US football and rugby are about as similar as apples and antelopes. However both may be analysed.

 
Duncan Keene
Re: Analysis in Sport
Duncan Keene (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 16:13

 
Deesaint
Re: Analysis in Sport
Deesaint (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 16:37
I like American Football. A great way to watch grown men who for 4 hours try to go 10 yards. Always surprises me how many coaches and back office staff there are for each team. Not far short in college football either.
While stats have a place in the modern game it would need to be coupled with good man management. i doubt Gaffney brought a load of statos with him to understand what needed to change at Saints.

Perhaps someone can help me out, what are the little boxes the players, I think every club has them, that are sown into their shirts at the back just below the neck. What do they record and how do they help teams perform better ?

 
Duncan Keene
Re: Analysis in Sport
Duncan Keene (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 16:41
GPS trackers, monitor how far \ how fast, similar to a fit bit, Garmin etc. Some debate about their accuracy.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 17:32
Quote:
Duncan Keene
One for HLTW




Thank you Duncan, I will read the article later. I was lucky enough to be on the field watching players practice before your team the Jets vs Falcons this year. Mohammed Sanu (their wide receiver) was throwing balls from the halfway to a guy in the endzone. He threw 20 balls and the guy catching didn't have to move once!

I have previously often said that NFL coaches are so conservative but it seems thats changing - so many trick plays at college level. It is the best product of any sport on the planet IMHO. And like rugby, you have to really pick a side and get into the laws of the game to start to appreciate it.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 18:03
Quote:
Deesaint
I like American Football. A great way to watch grown men who for 4 hours try to go 10 yards. Always surprises me how many coaches and back office staff there are for each team. Not far short in college football either.
While stats have a place in the modern game it would need to be coupled with good man management. i doubt Gaffney brought a load of statos with him to understand what needed to change at Saints.

Perhaps someone can help me out, what are the little boxes the players, I think every club has them, that are sown into their shirts at the back just below the neck. What do they record and how do they help teams perform better ?




As Duncan suggests I believe they show you when someone is knackered !

 
Hantsaintsrus4
Re: Analysis in Sport
Hantsaintsrus4 (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 20:31
Went to see your side HLTW when in Philly a while back. Had no idea what was going on but great pageant.
The supporters I went with were very serious followers, inconsolable when one of their favourite players was injured.
The people I stayed with thought that more than two cans beer per day = alcoholism. Every person in the house was having therapy for at least one thing.
Red kneck bars on the edge of town were my go to spot whenever I wanted conversation. Guns and alcohol mixed with hunters and Hell's Angels made for a surprisingly calm atmosphere.
The cheesesteaks were as good as described.
COYS!

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 20:51
They are as good as described but no idea how to eat one without needing a change of shirt.

 
TheGent
Re: Analysis in Sport
TheGent (IP Logged)
06 February, 2018 23:20
Quote:
HungryLikeTheWolf
Doug Pederson ran a 4th down trick play where our sub tight end threw to our quarterback for a touchdown. The sort of play you only see in college football. Thatís a great coach making a big game call....

My point being that it won't be long before those big game calls are made by a probability algorithm.

A bit like Madden with suggested plays turned on.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
07 February, 2018 00:42
love Madden, sure I get that.... didn't Larkin used to insist that very kick off was booted long so that we would get a lineout on the halfway? Didn't he run some analysis on the probability of field position when you kick short vs long from kick off. I used to hate it as a spectator, love the aggressive compete play! No idea whether his stats were right, Most sides now seem to try and pen the opposition back into the corner with as much height as possible, with a fast winger trapping the defence in the corner.

 
saracens4life
Re: Analysis in Sport
saracens4life (IP Logged)
07 February, 2018 08:29
Agree with your basic point, HLTW, and watching things like 1014 (linked above) shows how much there is to discover if you look closely enough

However, as a counter example, I submit that Ireland looked pretty bereft of ideas once they got past phase 3 or 4. (Sexton's crosskick aside). To me they look a bit over-coached. Once they've run their preset plays I'm not sure they know to think/create for themselves

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: Analysis in Sport
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
07 February, 2018 10:45
Thatís a good point S4L

I do think the weather didnít help them but as you suggest and someone else mentioned, because of the multi phase game that rugby is there is more opportunity for instinctive play. The All Blacks are particularly strong in this area.

I would also submit that Saints under Jim became over coached and under Gaffney are now playing a lot more Ďheads up rugbyí. I really donít like the multi phase pre-ordained rugby that took over post Woodward. I think Eddie Jones finds a nice balance - some great set plays, well organised but enough freedom to take chances that arise as and when.

 
ch saint
Re: Analysis in Sport
ch saint (IP Logged)
07 February, 2018 12:34
This is a subject dear to my heart, being originally educated as an engineer, and subsequently tried to use quantitive analysis in the understanding of factory productivity, and pretty much every process, particularly in the allocation of financial assets.
I believe that NFL is actually more predictable and controlled than rugby, but that is not say that statistics will not play a bigger part as coaches open their eyes to the benefits.
If you listen to the revealing interview with Gaffney on bbci player, he mentions a statistic used by EJ and himself that is a derived from several statistics and measures the activity level of a team (well this how I interpreted it). When he arrived we were at 50, against Glouc he thought we were at 56, but against Clermont we had climbed to close to 60. Then he surmised that against Sarries we had fallen back to low 50's.
Re "moneyball", Jim and the board simply didn't get it, I'm sure the new chaps will. Whereas the board and coach of Northants Cricket are all over it, they've watched the film and read the book. That's how they manage to be so successful on the smallest budget in the country. In particular they analyse certain parameters in 20/20, and use them in recruitment and tactics. To be honest I can't speak highly enough about the way they manage the cricket club. I don't really like cricket though.
If ever there was a need to analyse asset allocation it is the wage cap, but then I would never give a DOR a blank cheque in recruitment.


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