StatsBomb and Women’s World Cup Football Data

In 2018, StatsBomb announced the release of free data on women’s football (link). The announcement included this observation:

Not only do we believe that analysis of the Women’s game deserves equal attention as the Men’s game, we know that by doing this better, we will improve the overall understanding of the game. We also want to encourage more Women to enter into Analytics, Technology and R&D …

The announcement included a reference to the StatsBomb Resource Centre (link). In 2019, StatsBomb provided open data from the Women’s World Cup (link) and indicated the importance of the use of R in deciphering these data (link).

StatsBomb noted:

We’d like this to be as approachable as possible for as many people as possible. We want you to feel comfortable jumping in and having a play around. With that in mind, we’ve put together a little primer for working with our data in the R programming language.

StatsBomb has created the StatsBombR package (link) and is shared as a repository on GitHub. The package requires a User Agreement (link) that notes “StatsBomb have made this data freely available and accessible to encourage and facilitate research and the shared analytical understanding of the game of Football. This is aimed to be a research tool, and is intended to be used as such”.

Information about the StatsBombR package can be found on GitHub (link). An example of the use of these data can be found in the FCrSTATS Github repository (link) including some getting started guidelines (link). Ryo Nakagawara has been using ggplots with some of these data (link) and shared them with #TidyTuesday visualisations (link).

Photo Credit

Officiating (FIFA’s Women’s World Cup)

Transforming performance: Simona

Simone Halep has defeated Serena Williams in the Ladies’ Singles Final at Wimbledon 2019, 6v2, 6v2 (link).

What struck me forcefully about this game was the precision of Simona’s play. One set of data suggests that she made just three unforced errors in the whole game.

Her 56-minute performance demonstrated how athletes can transform performance and combine the physical, psychological (link), technical and tactical (link) in an integrated way that takes performance to a new level.

Such performances redefine what it is to compete and encourage observers to consider the game as a world best (link).

Photo Credit

Simona Halep (Wikipedia)

Paul’s PhD

Paul Perkins has completed his response to three external examiners’ comments on his PhD. The title of his thesis is Can a modified, low-risk form of boxing achieve significant communiity uptake? (Link)

The final version of his thesis is availble on Issuu, a platform that “gives anyone with digitally bound content the ability to upload and distribute their publications worldwide” (link).

Paul’s Overview

Boxing has long been surrounded by debate. It has been subject to criticism on medical, legal, ethical and sociological grounds. Conversely, supporters argue that it is an excellent sport for physical fitness development, embodies egalitarianism, builds character, offers hope to depressed population sectors, has inherent aesthetic qualities and provides a cathartic outlet for emotions that otherwise could lead to anti-social activities. Recent years have seen small- scale emergence of modified versions of boxing aimed at retaining positive aspects of the sport but eliminating negative aspects. The research reported in this thesis was directed at determining whether such a version could attract substantial community uptake.

I was fascinated by the approach Paul took to this project. I see it as a great example of a qualitative action research project informed by some profound quantitative and technological issues. I am looking forward to the next step in this process and the arrival of Dr. Perkins.