#WLeague 2017-2018: goal scoring and game outcomes

The 2017-2018 W-League season ended at the weekend with Melbourne City’s victory over Sydney in the Grand Final.

During the season, I used the Westfield W-League match centre as my source of secondary data to monitor goal scoring and game outcome.

My analysis of the data on 57 games played is:

Scoring first and not losing

46 games were won by the team scoring first.

6 games were drawn by the team scoring first.

Scoring first and losing

There were four games in which the team scored first lost.

Newcastle v Canberra (Round 4)

Melbourne Victory v Perth (Round 4)

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane (Round 10)

Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory (Round 11)

When were goals scored?

194 goals were scored during the season: 93 in the first half; 100 in the second; and 1 in extra time. The home teams scored 103 goals and the away teams 91. There was one 0v0 draw (Melbourne Victory v Brisbane in Round 12).

In 15 minute time intervals, these goals were scored:

Shots at goal and goals scored

The W-League Stats Centre recorded 1609 shots at goal during the season of which 611 were noted as ‘on target’ (a shots per goal measure of 12.06).

Visualising Performance

Andrew Howe has visualised goals scored for and against in the W-League from the start of the competition in the 2008-2009 season. His circular plot is a very powerful interactive resource.

My search for Melbourne City’s performance in 2017-2018 before this year’s grand final revealed:

I do think this is an outstanding resource for anyone interested in the history of the competition. It also sets a standard for how we visualise performance data.

Photo Credit

Three in a row (Westfield W-League, Twitter)

We are many. Can we be as one?

My Price and Value post earlier this week seems to have struck chords with some performance analysts.

The post has become one of the most read posts on Clyde Street and there were some important exchanges on Twitter. I have been reflecting on these responses and this is a follow up post.

The title of this post comes from the lyrics of an Australian song

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come …
I am, you are, we are …

I am sorry about my naivety in using these but they do resonate with me about the next phase in performance analysis.

We have to address these kinds of issues:

Lucy Rushton

Couldn’t agree more As we have to make a stand. We cannot continue to devalue ourselves in this way Its too easy to say ‘thats football {insert sport name}’. It’s not. Its what we have created & accepted. We cant let our passion for our job continue to be exploited

Amber Luzar

And it doesn’t take long for the novelty to wear off and the 60+ hours a week you work feeling extremely undervalued…for the love and growth of sport, this must change, to keep world class analysts continuing to be world class!

Jason Lear

The same issues seem to raise its head every couple of months and its sad that no collective exists to adopt the broader industry arguments. We remain or seem fragmented and easy to deflect by employers.

Lance Du’Lac

Time seems right to come together and change that then.

I am mindful that in starting this part of an occupational culture discussion, I do have responsibilities in an actionable conversation.

My commitment is to go away and do some comprehensive research about practice that I can share with the community.

In asking if we can be one, I am not asserting an homogeneous view of performance analysis and analytics. I want to celebrate diversity and different epistemic cultures.

A starting point for me is to engage with cultures whose first language is not English. I am critical of my own anglo-centric emphasis.

A second point is to discuss gendered identity in performance analysis and the languages we use to describe performance analysis practice.

Thirdly, I want to continue to advocate for our community to share practice openly so that we can have transparent conversations about our culture. (And support those who give their time and energy to connect our community.)

Fourthly, I think this is a conversation we must have with professional organisations, institutes of sport, and sport organisations.

This is where we can become one … through mutual recognition. It is my fight but it could be our shared fight if it is right for you.

I hope you do not mind me ending with music. When I think about what we can do together, I have this kind of performance in mind, at the end of a long day concert.

I will be back, possibly on drums.

Photo Credit

Baby’s hand (Fruity monkey, CC BY 2.0)

Price and Value as a Performance Analyst

Background

This post what I think Mark Upton calls a fragment. It is my attempt to pull together some strands in a debate I need to explore.

It is a debate about valuing people not pricing them.

I have an apology to make at the outset.

In a post written yesterday,  I mentioned that I had been discussing internships with the Australian Catholic University’s  2018 cohort of the Graduate Certificate in Performance Analysis course.

I did not make it explicit (hence my apology) that it was a lively discussion and I used the word ‘slavery’ and talked about ‘minimum living wages’. It started with a question about the Leicester City performance analysis job description.

Thanks to my connector, Darrell Cobner, I learned that this conversation was going on in Atlanta too.

Amber Luzar was one of those who commented in England.

At about the time Lucy posted this, in Strathfield we had reached a Spartacus moment too:

Lance Du’Lac replied to Lucy.

Transformation

During the Strathfield conversation about the Leicester City ‘opportunity’, we discuss the role a cohort of students might play in rejecting an occupational community.

We noted the enormous numbers of people graduating in sport science and performance analysis each year and how a personal portfolio in an application might include experiences in a variety of sport settings.

My argument was that the #ACUGCPA18 Strathfield mob could accept that they are engaged in a transactional relationship with their industry and ‘volunteer’ for unpaid internships with the employer waxing lyrical about the kudos attached to working with for them without pay. And with that dreadful enticement about the possibility of paid employment at some future date should budgets permit.

We discussed the prisoner’s dilemma inherent in this transaction … if I do not do it, somebody else will (namely, “why two completely ‘rational’ individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so”).

Our conversation moved on to become a transformational performance analyst. What would it take for all of us not to be complicit in an industry that deludes us?

What if as a collective group we could take a moral stand even at a personal cost? And assert our value rather than our price (or non-price) as sentient human beings who have a passion for the analysis of performance in sport.

I had a three-hour drive home from Strathfield to think about the conversation we had.

On my way home, I stopped for coffee and this job advertisement popped up from a football team in England:

The club is recruiting a performance analyst to implement a variety of analysis strategies/methods to aid the performance of all first team players.

Reporting to First team management the successful candidate will be responsible for developing and implementing cutting edge analysis for the first team. This will incorporate:

Recording and analyse matches

To provide appropriate and effective video analysis sessions for all individual and positional groups within the first team environments

In collaboration with the first team management, monitor and evaluate team and individual KPIs

Maintain a database of games/sessions filmed for future use.

Use a variety of software packages when performing analysis tasks.

Contribute to accessibility of performance analysis support for players and coaches.

Provide motivational or supportive material to be utilised by coaches and players when required.

Liaise with coaches in preparation for analysis sessions.

Assisting with the organisation and training of students and/or interns.

Providing supportive material for upcoming and previous games

The candidate must be able to demonstrate the following:

Essential:

Hold a sports coaching/science related degree.

Level 3 coaching certificate

Experience using coding and video editing software (SportCode, IMovie, Hudl etc.).

Must be completely IT literate (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and IOS equivalents).

Experience/knowledge of the PMA system

Hold a valid full UK driver’s licence.

Must have excellent communication skills.

Must be dynamic, hardworking and enthusiastic.

Desirable:

Masters or degree in Performance Analysis, Coaching or Sports Science related subject area.

Desire to conduct research to contribute to the development of the Analysis department

Previous experiences of first team football.

Salary: To be confirmed

The successful candidate will be required to work a 6 month probation period.

I thought about driving back to Strathfield!

Dazzled by certification and accreditation

One of this year’s cohort of students in performance analysis does not have a degree. ACU used their recognition of prior learning to acknowledge the student’s twenty years in the sport industry, part of which has been to use innovative visualisation techniques to share information with coaches and athletes. The student’s day job is working with a data analytics company collecting real-time game data.

The student was surprised and delighted that ACU accepted him.

I am mindful that I no longer meet students on a daily basis but I am concerned that job descriptions regard an undergraduate degree as essential and a Masters degree as desirable for a post in performance analysis.

My concern is that performance analysts on different learning pathways in an era of open access, self-directed learning are excluded for sharing their work.

I wondered if this might change if job descriptions were an invitation to audition for the role of performance analyst. At that audition, the employer must share an explicit strategy for analysis and provide details about any mentoring or critical friend support the applicant might require or benefit from.

This dilemma of a mandated qualification is enhanced when formal accreditation such as ESSA’s sport scientist level 1 requires:

Documented evidence of a qualification in exercise, sports or movement science at Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Level 7 (or an international equivalent) leading to the award of a three-year bachelor degree.

In this context, I find it ironic that ESSA values cultural diversity (“sports scientists need an awareness of cultural diversity to enable them to shape and deliver their services in a culturally aware and sensitive manner”).

A colleague who has twenty years experience of analysis in a national sporting organisation does not meet these criteria despite being acknowledge as an industry example of better practice.

I am not arguing for no standards but want to assert that accreditation and certification are a pathway not the pathway.

Fragments

We are on the cusp of another great wave of development in performance analysis. Few of us remember the analogue era. Most are from a digital world.

My argument is that at the cusp of a post-digital occupational culture in performance analysis, we can support each other by challenging and rejecting unpaid and underpaid work.

We can in my utopian sense, celebrate our shared humanity. Performance analysis is an exciting career but not at any cost.

We should value each other and be valued by sport.

As I was compiling this, a number of other alerts came my way including:

ReGen18

ReGen18 will not be another talk-fest, but a task-force and learning ground with growing real-world impact year-on-year. It will launch a purpose-driven community to share practical tools, powerful ideas, new business models and innovative finance mechanisms to accelerate the change we need at the speed of the problems we now face.

Safe, happy and free (Tarja Halonen):

We live in a cold, harsh and remote place. Every person has to work hard for themselves. But that is not always enough. You have to help your neighbours.

Yesterday, groups in Strathfield (NSW), Atlanta, the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as the Twittersphere were thinking about our neighbours.

We can do this together but not alone.

Photo Credits

Durran Durra Fire (Queanbeyan RFS)

Keith Lyons (CC BY 4.0)