Frees; From the Ground or the Hand – Updated

Back at the start of Summer I wrote a piece (here for background detail) about an interesting trend I had spotted; namely that frees from the hand, contrary to popular opinion, were outperforming frees from the ground.

In the back of my mind I did wonder if the mix of games I had charted had somehow skewed the results. I had charted one full season and the early parts of another season. Had this led to more ‘lower grade’ games thus perhaps capturing more below average free takers?

As such I revisited the numbers after two full seasons (I think we’re over 60 games now) and … the gap has increased!

The table below shows that 61% of frees from the ground are converted whilst 77% of frees from the hand are converted. The initial post had shown a 63%-75% split.

Shots Scores Success Rate
Ground 304 185 61%
Hand 439 336 77%

Before proceeding just another quick reminder of how the pitch is segmented

GAA pitch

In the earlier study there was a discrepancy between shots inside and outside the 20m line with frees from the ground inside the 20m line outperforming frees from the hand. The reverse was true outside the 20m line. This is no longer the case.

One interesting point to note is that, despite the wider trends, frees from the ground right in front of the posts (sectors 5 & 8) outperformed frees from the hand. The easier the frees the better you are in placing the ball on the ground. The wider out the pitch you go the better you are taking the free from the hand.

Emmet Ryan over at the action81 website posited that perhaps the ability of free takers to steal a few yards, whilst taking frees from the hand outside the 20m line, might explain why the returns are better for this method out on the wings. This is by far the most plausible reason as to why this could occur. It could also be that players taking frees from the ground are straining for distance/accuracy and that this is upsetting a well honed regimen. It is going to be very hard to (dis)prove either however.

For now we’ll just have to contend ourselves with the knowledge that, irrespective of the reason, your free taker is better taking his shots from the hand.

Segment From Shots Scores Success Rate
4 Hand 68 46 68%
Ground 53 25 47%
5 Hand 100 82 82%
Ground 55 49 89%
6 Hand 73 47 64%
Ground 62 30 48%
20m to 45m Hand 241 175 73%
Ground 170 104 61%


Segment From Shots Scores Success Rate
7 Hand 46 34 74%
Ground 12 10 83%
8 Hand 90 83 92%
Ground 23 23 100%
9 Hand 28 27 96%
Ground 24 18 75%
inside 20m Hand 164 144 88%
Ground 59 51 86%

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2 Responses to “Frees; From the Ground or the Hand – Updated”

  1. Review of Basics | dontfoul Says:

    […] variables • Where on the pitch the shot was taken from. The pitch is divided into 9 segments (see here) using the large parallelogram on the vertical and the 21m & 45m lines on the horizontal. These […]

  2. Frees from the Ground or the Hand; (’12 – ’15) | dontfoul Says:

    […] rates for frees from the hand and the ground were covered in two early pieces (see here and here). Just like now the catalyst for the original piece was commentators bemoaning the lack of a […]

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