FeaturedTechnology

Can computer software calculate how to concede less goals?

March 27, 2017

main

FeaturedTechnology

Can computer software calculate how to concede less goals?

March 27, 2017

Share on

Disney is most commonly known for their wide range of films, but they are currently researching software that can change coaching forever.

There are many different forms of software out there which collect data in sports and put it in a form that coaches then use to develop their team. Examples of this can be seen weekly on the post match analysis where pundits critique a player on what they should have done in certain situations, and we have to take their word for it.

analysis

Now, thanks to new analysis technology made by Disney, coaches and pundits will be able to figure out the best possible outcome. While most analysis tools focus on a certain player, and what they could have done individually, this one takes into account both team’s positioning and calculates the best possible position and movement for each player, but how will coaches and players use this tool to improve?

The technique the software uses is called ghosting, and, on the macro level, will allow coaches to place players in the positions they believe would be most effective, and the software calculates that chances of a successful attack/defence. This allows coaches to not only demonstrate to players the correct positioning on the pitch, but provides visual and statistical proof to drive home the point. The best part is, it can be used in almost every team sport out there!

Arsenal GIF

On the more micro level, the technology can prove to be very important since it is able to collect data on teams and individual players in order to predict how the individual will react to a situation. An example provided showcases a goal where the chances for a team scoring on a drive are 69% based on the two teams positioning. Using the software, the demonstration simply moved one player two steps forward, and the chances of a goal dropped significantly to 42%. This data can then be shared with the defender in practice, and can teach them better positioning to create a more solid back line. The advanced software addresses not only the individual player, but how they interact with teammates and how/when they switch from zone marking to man to man.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 3.32.11 PM

Another practical application of this software would be in the transfer market. If a player has played enough games to create substantial data, coaches are able to simulate how that player would fit into the team. They are then able to use that information to decide if they should bid for the playe and even how they would fare in a different position.

Of course, no amount of data can 100% accurately predict human error or other variables, so what is the point of the software? Although calculating human error is impossible, using statistical data to build a team has been successful in the past. One of the more famous examples of this is documented in the book and film Moneyball when Billie Bean (pictured below) used stats to take one of the lowest paid/ranked teams in American Major League Baseball to challenge, and even beat, the best teams in the league.

Billie Bean

Although this technology is still very new, it could prove to be a useful tool to coaches in some of the worlds largest sports leagues, and may even allow lower league teams to finally get a competitive edge against their opponents.

If you are interested on learning more about the project, click here.

Written by Brandon Johnson

Brandon Johnson

University Student studying International Business at Richmond, The American International University in London and Intern at WePlay Digital Sports Agency.

Brandon Johnson

University Student studying International Business at Richmond, The American International University in London and Intern at WePlay Digital Sports Agency.