Sunday, 19 July 2015

Every step you take

Analytics in sport has taken a giant leap, with advanced statistics, sophisticated video analysis and player tracking at the forefront.

On the eve of the 2012 UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich, Petr Cech, the Chelsea goalkeeper, was given a two-hour DVD of every penalty kick that Bayern had taken since 2007. It was enough to calculate the probability of which way the ball would be placed when a penalty was taken. Chelsea went on to win the match following a penalty shoot-out and thereafter Cech said, “Six penalties the right way and I saved three, so basically the homework was very good.”
This March, at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, Michael Niemeyer, Bayern’s head of match analysis, said of Pep Guardiola, the famed former manager of Barcelona and the current Bayern boss, “As he came to Bayern, the first thing he said was: ‘The match analysis department is the most important department for me.’ The second thing was: ‘I see a big part of my work in the auditorium.’ The auditorium is the place where he has video sessions.”

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