Analytics changing the sports world


author: nathan mccarville | sports writer

Have you ever even used a calculator, jock?/Jaecy Bells


Math does actually work in sports

With the ever-increasing advent of statistics in the sporting world and the constant analysis of such, the growing presence and prevalence of analytics begs the question, “How will statistics shape the way teams organize their roster?”

This question relates to anything from how a team scouts for prospective players, how the team is organized, and the way a team strategizes given what it has in terms of skill and talent as exemplified in the raw numbers that the athletes produce in their chosen sport.

As statistics become more accurate, easier to access, and as new ways of capturing data are made and popularized, the decision makers of teams, from the university level to national and international leagues, will be able to make more accurate decisions based not on assumptions and inhibitions alone, since the environment around sports changes to a place where choices become easier with more calculated through analysis. However, all this being said, the hurdle that exists in the subject resides in understanding the analytics of each respective game.

Though analytics may sound like a wondrous advent that will change the sporting world in the years to come, an understanding of how analytics work needs to be acquired to accurately think of ways a team’s roster can be manipulated to produce a more favourable outcome for any given season. Even then, when one understands what is going on with the analytic and statistical side of sports, it can be hard to differentiate between what someone can do based by their prediction and what is within the realm of possibilities.

Given all of this information, Benjamin Alamar and Vijay Mehrotra give an insight into the world in their article in their article “Beyond Moneyball: The future of sports analytics”, saying that if sports analytics are used properly they could completely change the decision making system in sports as people become less reliant on intuition, background knowledge of the game, and on the seniority of the decision makers. This leads to a shift of a part of that responsibility over to the experts in the field of analytics whether their areas of study include economics, computer science, or data analysis. These three topics are now included in Syracuse University’s curriculum in the new field of sports analytics.

As stated by Benjamin Alamar and Vijay Mehrotra in regards to the growing number of institutions that provide education on understanding and synthesizing sports analytics,

“[Sports franchises] will have a larger, more credible and more broadly skilled pool of talent to choose from. Right now organizations are essentially reliant on individuals who may have some of the skills needed and are passionate about sports. As the institutions are developed, organizations will be able to more efficiently look for and identify individuals with the right mix of capabilities and training, and will also have a wider range of people to draw on.”

Dr. Rocco P. Porreca aptly describes how this new field of concentration of sports analytics can be applied in his article General Managers and the Importance of Using Analytics, where he says,

“This overwhelming amount of information helps to generate and provoke thought. All it took for the Moneyball theory to come to life was a new idea.”


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