Review of Basics

For those new to the blog, or who haven’t visited in a while, below are some definitions as to the various terminologies used as well as some background as to how the numbers are created.

Definitions
Possession
Any time a team has control of the ball (can come from a kickout, a throw in, gathering a breaking ball from your own shot or a turnover). “Control” at times can be subjective but ~98% of the time it is clear. Your possession ends with either (a) a shot or (b) the opposition gaining control of the ball.

Up until the start of the 2015 season possession was defined as having control inside the opposition’s 45. From 2015 onwards that is now an attack.

Attack
When a team has control of the ball inside the opposition’s 45 or takes a shot from outside the 45 (without having crossed the 45).

Attack Rate (%) = (attacks / possessions)

Shots – unlike mainstream calculation of shots (wides + scores) this includes all shots including those that are blocked, saved, hit the woodwork or drop short. 99% of the time this is straight forward however occasionally a call has to be made as to whether a shot was indeed a shot or a lob into the square (prime example being the debate around Fionn Fitzgerald’s injury time equalizer in the 2015 Munster final).

Shot Rate (%) = (shots / attacks)

Scores = (points + goals)

Success Rate (%) = (scores/shots)

avgs – these are taken from 74 games charted in the 2012-2014 Championship seasons. I also charted 36 games in the 2010 season, which are no longer used but would have fed in to the earlier calculation of averages & weighting. The averages are updated yearly as we get more data – note that if reviewing older games I do not retrospectively update the averages. Those were the applicable averages at the time the piece was written.

Deadball – free, 45, sideline or penalty

Weighting (also called “Return Vs Expected” or ”Vs Expected”)
Ultimately whilst useful none of the above stats go any way towards informing us about the type of shots taken. If the average return for shots from play is 46.5% how good a day did the player scoring 3 from out on the wings have? Similarly is getting 4 from 8 (50%) from in front of goals an “average” day? The weighting attempts to rank these two very different shooting displays against the average (how the weighting is created can be viewed here).

In its first incarnation the weighting looked at two 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 were used as they are constant throughout all the pitches and easily identified on the TV.
• Whether the shot was from play or a deadball

Doing the blog it was obvious that, whilst instructive, there wasn’t enough in just those two variables. During the years two relatively easy and obvious tweaks were made
• Shots from 45s were originally treated separately from other deadballs. I have since weighted sideline & penalty attempts separately as well. There are now five categories of shots; frees, sidelines, penalties, 45s and shots from play
• Shots from sector 8 were divided into shots at goal and shots for points.

Note once I make a change I have not gone back and reran the weightings – bear this in mind if reviewing old(er) entries.

Kickouts
A kickout is “won” by whomever emerges with control of the ball.

Length wise kickouts are divided into
“short” – landing inside the 45
“mid” – landing between the 45 & 65
“long” – landing past the 65
Again this can be subjective as a player catches a high ball around the 65 or the lines are not obvious on the broadcast.

Sometimes the width can be described as “right” or ” left”. This can be accurate to gauge as there is no markings out the field however generally the D is used as the marking so anything left og the D is ” left” etc.

Turnovers
Only when the opposition gain control of the ball is a turnover considered to have occurred. The type of turnover can be very subjective – when a long pass is given, and misses the target, is that due to the player passing in the ball or the player receiving? If it is a long ball into Donaghy on the square – and it lands on the square – is that the pass? Donaghy losing a contested ball? Or just good defending?

This is being collated at player level however I generally don’t publish given the above points. You can only see so much from TV coverage.

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23 Responses to “Review of Basics”

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  11. Kevin Says:

    Can you explain what is an attack and how is this different from a possession.

    • dontfoul Says:

      Hi

      If you’ve been following the blog from the start (all three people) then you’ll know its ever evolving! But I’ve been remiss in not updating the definitions page – I’ll get to that asap.

      Essentially possessions up until the start of this season was having control of the ball inside the opposition’s 45. From 2015 onwards that is now an attack. The reason being that I wasn’t measuring how good teams are at transition the ball from the back. A possession now becomes anytime a team gets control of the ball – a possession ends with a shot or a turnover.

  12. pat naughton Says:

    In you definition of a possession you say e.g.Any time a team has control of the ball (e.g. can come from a kick out,…..) .But in the Boden v Clonmel figures not all their own ko’s they win turn into possession can you clarify why?

    • dontfoul Says:

      You’re right – that’s a legacy issue on my part (fixed now). Thanks for pointing it out.

      That “possession” count should be an “attack” count. The blog has grown and expanded over the years. Initially a “possession” was control of the ball inside the opposition’s 45. That’s now an “attack”. I never updated the heading on the kickout table to reflect this.

  13. pat Says:

    Sound view of Derry- Tyrone.
    The “necklace” of passes is so reminiscent of past games I’ve seen e.g.involving Kildare ( not recently though), pre McGuinness Donegal and others. Now we have a tag for it…. necklace.
    There’s a big difference between recycling as a team probes a defence and the necklace, and the figures seem to show it. By the way can you give a link to the expected score diagram, I can’t seem to find it.
    I still believe Tyrone were vulnerable on occasions e.g. where they followed the laterally moving ball leaving the previous Derry man unmarked but Derry unfortunately moved predictably and didn’t spot the opening.

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