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There has been a significant growth in the number of analytical books now on the market. Here is a rundown of some I have read or come across that are worth checking out. While not all will be relevant to your sport I think there is value in reading how other sports have applied the principle of analysis and discovering new and innovative ways you can adapt that to your sport. So in no particular order here is a list.
Football has always been a numbers game: 4-4-2, the big number 9 and 3 points for a win. But what if up until now we’ve been focusing on the wrong numbers? What if the numbers that really matter, the ones that hold the key to winning matches, are actually 2.66, 53.4, 50/50, and 0 > 1? What if managers only make a 15% difference? What if Chelsea should have bought Darren Bent? The Numbers Game is essential reading for football fans everywhere and will also appeal to readers who loved Moneyball and Freakonomics.
What role, exactly, do skill and luck play in our successes and failures? Some games, like roulette and the lottery, are pure luck. Others, like chess, exist at the other end of the spectrum, relying almost wholly on the skill of the players.
But in every other domain–from business, to investing, to sports–skill and luck seem almost hopelessly entangled.
In his provocative new book, Michael Mauboussin untangles the intricate strands of skill and luck, defines them, and provides useful frameworks for analyzing their relative contributions. He offers concrete suggestions for how to put these insights to work to your advantage in business and other dimensions of life.
Benjamin C. Alamar founded the first journal dedicated to sports statistics, the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. He developed and teaches a class on sports analytics for managers at the University of San Francisco and has published numerous cutting-edge studies on strategy and player evaluation. Today, he cochairs the sports statistics section of the International Statistics Institute and consults with several professional teams and businesses in sports analytics. There isn’t a better representative of this emerging field to show diverse organizations how to implement analytics into their decision-making strategies, especially as analytic tools grow increasingly complex.
Alun Carter experienced the highs and lows of the Wales national rugby squad throughout his 12 years working for the WRU. During this time, he saw a number of high-profile coaches come and go, and in Seeing Red he delivers a brutally honest account of what it was like to work with each of them.
Carter does not shy away from controversy, and he pulls no punches in his assessment of the rift between Graham Henry and Sir Clive Woodward, the personal and political situation that led to Mike Ruddock losing his job, and the difficulty of handling the group dynamics within the national squad. The former analyst also provides an informed appraisal of the remarkable 2005 and 2008 Grand Slam victories.
Drawing from Moskowitz’s original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships; the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees’ tendencies in every sport to “swallow the whistle,” and more.
“Why do England lose?”
“Why do Newcastle United always buy the wrong players?”
“How could Nottingham Forest go from winning the European Cup to the depths of League One?”
“Penalties – what are they good for?”
These are questions every football fan has asked. Why England Lose answers them. It brings the techniques of bestselling books such as Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist to bear on our national sport.
Scientific Approaches to Goalkeeping in Football: A Practical Perspective on the Most Unique Position in Sport
Do you coach goalkeepers and want to help them realise their fullest potential? Are you a goalkeeper looking to reach the top of your game? Then search no further and dive into this dedicated goalkeeping resource. Written by goalkeeping guru Andy Elleray this book offers a fresh and innovative approach to goalkeeping in football. With a particular emphasis on the development of young goalkeepers, it sheds light on training, player development, match performances, and player analysis. Utilising his own experiences Andy shows the reader various approaches, systems and exercises that will enable goalkeepers to train effectively and appropriately to bring out the very best in them.
Not really sure this book needs an intro – if you are reading this I presume you have already read Moneyball. But a quick synopsis. Billy Beane, general manager of MLB’s Oakland A’s and protagonist of Michael Lewis’s Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that’s smaller than that of nearly every other team.
Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs.
Analyzing individual and team play is essential to improving performance in soccer, but identifying the right information and putting it to good use can be tricky. This is the first book to focus entirely on match analysis in the game of soccer. Representing an essential and unique resource, this handbook looks at the very latest in match analysis research, and at the innovative technologies being used by professional clubs. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, it documents the methods by which coaches, sport scientists and fitness coaches can improve individual and team performance in soccer. Published 2006.
Performance Assessment for Field Sports: Physiological, Psychological and Match Notational Assessment in Practice
What are the most effective tools, techniques and technologies available to coaches and sport scientists in the assessment of player and team performance? This is the first book dedicated to the assessment of performance in field sports such as soccer, rugby, hockey and lacrosse. It provides detailed and clear information about the laboratory and field-based methods that can be used to evaluate improvements in individual and team performance, from basic physiological assessment to the use of video and information technologies.
What is performance analysis and how does its use benefit sports performance? How can you use performance analysis in your sport?
The Essentials of Performance Analysis answers your questions, providing a complete guide to the foundational elements of match and performance analysis for new students and beginners.
As well as a basic introduction to the sport science and theory that underlies performance analysis, the book contains many practical examples to show performance analysis in its applied context.
Modern techniques of sports performance analysis enable the sport scientist, coach and athlete to objectively assess, and therefore improve upon, sporting performance. They are an important tool for any serious practitioner in sport and, as a result, performance analysis has become a key component of degree programmes in sport science and sports coaching.
Research Methods for Sports Performance Analysis explains how to undertake a research project in performance analysis.
Notational analysis is used by coaches and sport scientists to gather objective data on the performance of athletes. Tactics, technique, individual athlete movement and work-rate can all be analyzed, enabling coaches and athletes to learn more about performance and gain a competitive advantage.
This new edition is updated with information about the latest technology and research in notational analysis. There’s also practical guidance for constructing notational systems for any sport and relating data to real-life performance and coaching.
The next quantum leap beyond Moneyball, this book offers powerful new insights into all human decision-making, because if sports teams are getting it wrong this badly, how do you know you’re not? Sometimes the decisions that teams make are simply inexplicable. Consider: sports teams have an immense amount of detailed, quantifiable information to draw upon, more than in virtually any other industry. They have powerful incentives for making good decisions. Everyone sees the results of their choices, and the consequences for failure are severe. And yet… they keep making the same mistakes over and over again… systematic mistakes you’d think they’d learn how to avoid.
The fun and easy way to get down to business with statistics Stymied by statistics? No fear this friendly guide offers clear, practical explanations of statistical ideas, techniques, formulas, and calculations, with lots of examples that show you how these concepts apply to your everyday life. Statistics For Dummies shows you how to interpret and critique graphs and charts, determine the odds with probability, guesstimate with confidence using confidence intervals, set up and carry out a hypothesis test, compute statistical formulas, and more.
Thinking Statistically is the book that shows you how to think like a statistician, without worrying about formal statistical techniques. Along the way we learn how selection bias can explain why your boss doesn’t know he sucks (even when everyone else does); how to use Bayes’ Theorem to decide if your partner is cheating on you; and why Mark Zuckerberg should never be used as an example for anything.