I was passed on a link last week and although it took me a little while to get around to it. I knew by the title of the link that I would be interested in the content. The title of the link was the title of this post. The most important word in this title is Moneyball.
Moneyball is one of the best books I have ever read. If you are interested in Performance Analysis you should read it. It’s not academic and if you are a research junkie and need everything to be referenced it may not be for you. But I come from the more practical side of things and if nothing else this book examined the concept of taking the perceived wisdom of a sport and challenging it.
Anyway, back to the link. The link led me to a video. The video was taken at a recent conference, the MIT Sloan Sports Analysis Conference. I was intrigued during the videos that they referred to a movement of statistical analysis in American Sports. I suppose it is a changing of the guard of sorts. Typically you had an age when Sports Science was perceived as hocus pocus but that changed. I think Performance Analysis is still looked at with some trepidation but it is changing quite fast.
My big take home point from What Geeks Don’t Get: The Limits of Moneyball – was the fact that you have to make statistics and analysis understandable. There is no point having great theories or concepts if the message is lost in the delivery. You have to constantly look for more efficient ways to deliver the material you collect. It’s not always about what you say – it is as important the way you say it.
There were 14 talks, all of which were videoed. A good place to start would be the this one. But if you have a few hours to spare it is worth watching the others.
What I like about this discussion is that each of the speakers feel there is something to be learned from each sport. Something that is later in evidence when you see some Football (soccer) analysts on stage.
Here is a list of the topics covered (all videoed sessions)
Alternative Storytelling: Future of Sports Journalism
Buzz-Worthy Events: The Olympics, Super Bowl, NBA Finals and Winter Classic
Developing the Athlete’s Brand
Future of Attendance: Innovations at Arenas & Stadiums
Next Generation Sports Management and Ownership
Social Media Marketing
What Geeks Don’t Get: The Limits of Moneyball
Will Future Athletes be Formula One or NASCAR?