HOW TO IMPROVE DATA AND DECISION-MAKING USING STATISTICAL ANALYSIS IN FOOTBALL
The tech revolution has modified our behaviour and now it is also revolutionizing sports.
The job of a coach is to make decisions. It is choosing the best players at all times, preparing them well, and being able to manage the best way to play, to be successful. In order to complete this task, coaches are receiving more and more help and the field of science has started to take part in the decisions that are taken in the game. When finishing a training session or a match, players provide to the technical staff with data of all kinds. If they have used a GPS device, they will know what distance each player has covered during the session, at what speed, how frequently the technical-practical actions have taken place, the accelerations and decelerations, etc. If the club a sophisticated software, it will be able to collect the number of passes, throwings, the distance between players, each player’s heat map, etc. It is even possible to talk with the player about his perception of the effort exerted (fatigue) or his mood. All this data can help us make better decisions and that is why we are so interested to have this information.
However, in order for these reports to be really useful for the coaches and for the sports data scientist to fully bring in his expertise to the team, there are several conditions that should be fulfilled. In a recent work1, Martin Buchheit suggests three aspects to manage when creating reports for the coaches:
1- Having an adequate level of comprehension of the data and their analysis. It is about keeping in mind:
2- The report must be attractive and informative, with a good visual representation of the data. You must pay attention to:
3- Having adequate communication skills to deliver efficiently data and reports to coaches and players.
A strong personality is often a must to survive professionally, but having an open mind, being humble and empathetic, are some important aspects to thrive in this job.
Carlos Lago Peñas
1 Buchheit, M. (2017). Want to see my report, coach? Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal. 6: 36-43.
Although there are several studies on this topic, many of them have analyzed these demands by looking at just a few variables or using very broad timeframes. A new study completed by physical trainers from F.C. Barcelona has analyzed several of these details more closely.
The understanding of the modifying variables of the game, based on the degrees of freedom.
Sports Analytics has grown exponentially thanks to IT sciences and it also encompasses other subareas (e.g. sports sciences, behavior sciences, medicine or data visualization) in addition to statistics with a focus that is more tactical and sports performance related.