Sports Medicine Corner

Dr. Don Kirkendall



Southern Soccer Scene publisher Ray Alley gives me about 1000 words each month to present sport science topics. If I expand my definition of sport science research beyond physiology and medicine to ‘the match’, a whole new world opens up, including that popularized by the book and movie Moneyball: the field of Sport Analytics.

Analytics has been around many professions for a long time. Finance, retail, health care all have a long history with analytics, but the advent of BIG DATA, where enormous datasets are analyzed has only recently made an impact in sport, including soccer.

Most teams in the top league of a country have an analytics group. What they do with the data they get is anyone’s guess. Big, big, big money decisions hang in the balance.

Now that NBC has gone wall to wall with the EPL, the match watching public will start seeing more data presented on the screen to help with your viewing enjoyment – possession, distance covered, etc. What will inevitably happen is that some long held assumptions and biases will likely be challenged, for fan and fantasy manager alike.

Two recent books have come out and deserve your attention, if you want to learn more about the game. Player, parent, coach, spectator, doesn’t matter. There is plenty here to peruse.

One book is The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong by Chris Anderson and Davie Salley. These

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