Bruce Scott Old

8101697807_0e75438a5e_zLast week, a friend shared a link to a Carl Bialik post in FiveThityEightSports.

Carl wrote about Bruce Scott Old.

“In his spare time, he brought a notebook to tennis matches and collected statistics for further analysis”.

I have a particular interest in the sociology of knowledge in sport and was delighted to be introduced to Bruce.

I should have picked up on his work when I was reading Jake Downey’s (1970) Tennis Notation text and added Bruce to the pantheon of notational analysts.

Carl provides a fascinating insight into Bruce’s analysis of tennis performance. He uses Bruce’s diary entries in his account. There is some detailed background to the research for Bruce’s first book, The Game of Doubles in Tennis. He “spent three years charting matches, analyzing his data and writing up the results”.

Bruce collected data in real time. Carl notes “based on his diary, it sounds like he drew points out on court-shaped diagrams, then extracted the stats later”.

I do think knowledge of pioneers’ work is essential if we are to develop our understanding of sport performance in a digital age.

Like Lloyd Messersmith, Bruce was an active sportsperson with a strong interest in tennis.

He led a very interesting professional life. During WWII he was an adviser on metallurgy and engineering to Julius Furer, the Research and Development Coordinator of the National Research and Development Board. He was a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee from 1951-1956 and was invited to join the Technological Capabilities Panel in 1954. At the time he was a Senior Vice President at Arthur D Little.

He wrote three other tennis books: a book on singles tennis (1962); stroke production (1971); and Tennis Tactics (1983).

Just as Charles Reep continued his interest in football into his 90s, Bruce was following tennis in his 90th year.

Bruce died in 2003.

Photo Credits

Australians John Bromwich and Adrian Quist with the Davis Cup, Pratten Park, Ashfield, Sydney, November 1939 (Sam Hood, no known copyright restrictions)

Bruce Old (image shared by the Old Family)

Game, Set, Match: IBM Slamtracker Data Wimbledon 2012

The Wimbledon Championships concluded on Sunday with the Men’s Singles Final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Before the Championship I posted about the data to be provided by IBM.

At the Championships as a whole in the Men’s draw the following events were recorded by IBM’s Slamtracker:

Of these, Roger Federer:

and, Andy Murray:

The result of the Final was:

The match details were:

The IBM Slamtracker offered Keys to each match.

Overall the Keys offered for the Men’s Final were:

By set, these Keys were:

Set 1

Set 2:

Set 3:

Set 4:

IBM provided Momentum graphs too.

In Set 1 this was the pattern (Andy Murray in purple):

By Set 4 (Roger Federer in green):

I am really impressed by the amount of data available for secondary analysis through IBM Slamtracker. As the data progresses in its detail it will be interesting to see how the visualisations of the data change too.

I could not find any link to IBM’s SecondSight data from the Centre Court.

Wimbledon 2012: Early Doors

Last week I wrote about the Wimbledon Championships’ website.

I thought I would visit the IBM SlamTracker scoreboard on Day 1.

There was a page for Match Statistics:

Three keys to success for each player:

Indication of the momentum of the game:

I could not find the SecondSight data mentioned in this press release:

Following on from the 2011 pilot on Court 18, this year for the first time on Centre Court, IBM will trial player movement tracking. With IBM SecondSight it will be possible to track the fastest moving players and how their performance changes, set by set and match by match. The system can provide new data that could help players, coaches, commentators and fans alike; and, add a new dimension to fan’s understanding of the science of tennis.