“Outliers are everything” says Ted Knutson in the title of his StatsBomb blog post. His point is about how sports analysis gets done. The most useful insights are often found at the edges of data.
What’s true for analysts is not necessarily true for everyone else in sports. Tension between the data-centric analysts and more game-centric colleagues is often a byproduct of their different outlooks. Jordan Rapp points out in LAVA, an endurance- and tri-athletes’ magazine, that information has no advantage without the critical thinking to apply it.
Outliers really are everywhere you look in sports. Sports analytics redefines what’s exceptional in all kinds of ways which exacerbates the situation.
- How one high school secondary beat the odds to send all four players to the NFL (2017-05-03, ESPN, Dan Murphy)
- Panthers tryout player Marvin Bracy might be ‘fastest guy in the NFL’ (2017-05-06, ESPN NFL, David Newton)
- Patriots inviting veteran and mega-athlete S Taylor Mays to rookie minicamp (2017-05-04, SB Nation, Pats Pulpit, Rich Hill)
- NBA’s best screeners explain the unheralded art of pick-and-rolls (2017-05-04, USA Today Sports, Jeff Zillgitt)
- Draymond Green Is Golden State Warriors’ Ultimate Playoff Cheat Code (2017-05-04, Bleacher Report, Eric Malinowski)
- The Ryan Welty story: Once a non-shooter, now a lethal three-point marksman (2017-05-03, SI.com, Luke Winn)
- Bears sold Ball State basketball player Franko House on return to football (2017-05-03, Chicago Tribune, Brad Biggs)
- Eric Dier’s versatility the basis of Tottenham’s exquisite flexibility (2017-05-01, The Guardian, Michael Cox)
- I had to prepare psychologically for life after Manchester United (The Telegraph (UK), Ryan Giggs)
Coaches and teams have their methods reconciling the information they work with. Injury information ranks high on the list of what merits attention.
- No dickheads allowed! The All Blacks’ mental coach has revealed the secret to their success (Wales Online, Simon Thomas)
- How to Use an Athlete Centered Approach to Change Nutritional Habits (Athlete Intelligence blog, Lidia Harding)
- Medical staff ‘too protective’ – Alan Pardew (Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin)
- Jose Mourinho might have to swallow a bitter pill to save Manchester United’s season from injury crisis (The Telegraph (UK), Michael Davison)
- How real life teams are using Football Manager to target their next star player (PC Gamer, Paul Walker-Emig )
- Are teams’ injury crises down to bad luck or bad management? (The Guardian, Ian McMahan)
- Who’s running the New York Mets: management or the players? (ESPN, SweetSpot blog, Dave Schoenfield)
- How has Manchester United’s injury crisis got so bad ahead of Vigo trip? (ESPN FC, Rob Dawson)
Science and research has a growing role to play in seeking, then spelling out consensus perspectives.
- Bio-banding: myths and realities (Training Ground Guru, Simon Austin)
- Football’s next generation isn’t as worried about concussions as you might think (SB Nation, Alex Kirshner)
- Examining Lingering Effects of Concussion in a Community-Wide Adolescent Population Utilizing a Case-Matched Approach (BMC Series blog, Trevor Barker & Gaytri Barker)
- Alphabet’s new plan to track 10,000 people could take wearables to the next level (The Conversation, Bennett Allan Landman)
- Seeking perfection in front of 50,000 people: why football is a pressure cooker for mental health issues (The Telegraph (UK), Mark Bailey)
- NFL, college football coaches divided on players skipping bowl games (SI.com, Pete Thamel)
- The Limits of Exercise Physiology: From Performance to Health (Cell Metabolism journal)
- Team chemistry is hard to quantify. When will sports teams figure it out? (Slate, Adam Willis)
The Breaking2 project at Nike is an important case of athletic exceptionalism that seeks to rewrite the science of what’s possible. The work involves putting lots of information to use. It also involves developing new disruptive technologies with the potential to shift athletic paradigms.
- Believe It: A Sub-2 Marathon Is Coming (2017-05-06, Runner’s World, Newswire, Michael Joyner)
- Nike’s two-hour marathon project reveals technological inequities in sport (The Guardian, Roger Pielke Jr. )
- After a Near Sub-2 Marathon, What’s Next? (Runner’s World, Newswire, Sweat Science blog, Alex Hutchinson)
- An Exclusive, Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Nike Is Trying to Break the 2-Hour Marathon Barrier (Runner’s World, Races & Places, Alex Hutchinson)
- How Traditions and Science Come Together to Make Marathon Champions (Nike News)
- Beware the hype – springy soles won’t make you run much faster (The Conversation, Glen Lichtwark, Dominic Farris, Luke A Kelly )
Of course there are many technologies with the potential to shift paradigms in sports.
- How Computer Vision Is Finally Taking Off, After 50 Years (YouTube, Nat and Friends)
- One love: Meet the wearable makers opening the doors on their secrets (Wareable (UK), Michael Sawh)
- Spit Test May Reveal Concussion Severity In Children (NPR, Shots blog, Jon Hamilton)
- Stanford Researchers Develop New Wave of Electronics (Stanford News)
- [1705.01583] VNect: Real-time 3D Human Pose Estimation with a Single RGB Camera (arXiv, Computer Science > Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition; Dushyant Mehta et al.)
- The Walls Have Eyes, and They’re Watching How You Walk (IEEE Spectrum, Jeremy Hsu)
- One Day, a Machine Will Smell Whether You’re Sick (The New York Times, Kate Murphy)
More things that I read and liked last week:
- Sidney Crosby’s long-term health at stake: neurosurgeons (May 02, CBC Sports, Jamie Strashin)
- NHL extends deal for Buffalo to host combine through 2019 (May 03, Associated Press)