Fandom - ESPN Playbook: Serge Ibaka
Who says the game isn’t played on paper? At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference taking place March 1-2, eight studies are vying for research paper of the year, presented by SAP and 42 Analytics. One paper also will win the fans’ choice award, presented by The Mag. Naturally, that’s where you come in -- you can read each finalist at espn.go.com/ssac, then vote for your favorite. To activate your neurons, we offer teasers for each study here. Game on.
The Hidden Foundation of Field Vision in English Premier League Soccer Players
By Geir Jordet, Jonathan Bloomfield and Johan Heijmerik
The big idea: In soccer, with 22 players trying to put one ball into two nets on a 7,000-plus-square-yard field, accurate passing is everything. This study looks at the relationship between “visual exploratory behaviors” -- movements (to more clearly see your surroundings -- and performance. The result? Players who scan the field before receiving the ball tend to be more effective passers.
And we quote: “The maximum effect [from exploratory behavior] can be gained for midfielders when they attempt to hit creative forward passes.”