Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Disney Researchers use automated analysis to find weakness in soccer coaching strategy

14.08.2013
Review of 380 games suggests away teams should be more aggressive

Investigators at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, are applying artificial intelligence to the analysis of professional soccer and, in one application of the automated technique, have discovered a strategic error often made by coaches of visiting teams.

The common wisdom that teams should "win at home and draw away" has encouraged coaches to play less aggressively when their teams are on the road, said Patrick Lucey, a Disney researcher who specializes in automatically measuring human behavior. Yet the computer analysis suggests that it is this defensive-oriented strategy, and not officiating, that reduces the likelihood of road wins.

The researchers from Disney Research were assisted by Dean Oliver, Director of production analytics at ESPN. The team presented its findings at the Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD 2013) in Chicago.

Though soccer was the focus of this study, the researchers say their techniques are applicable to other team sports that feature continuous play, including basketball, hockey and American football.

An analysis of all 380 games from a 20-team professional soccer league's 2010-2011 season found that performance measures such as shooting and passing percentage were similar for home and visiting teams.

"My intern, Joe Roth, first noticed this while digging into the passing patterns of different teams. He found that they had approximately the same passing and shooting percentages at home and away. But where they had possession was very different," Lucey said.

At home, the team had the ball in its opponents' defensive third more often – and thus had more shots on goal – than when on the road and played a more defensive, counterattacking style. It was a pattern the researchers discovered held true for nearly every team.

"Visiting coaches are setting their teams up for failure from the get go," Lucey said of the common strategy. "They're not opening themselves up for randomness. The fault doesn't lie with bad calls from the referees."

Though human experts may have a feel for the game that no computer could match, Lucey said computers also have advantages over humans. "An expert might have a gut feeling," he said, "but an expert wouldn't be able to remember all details of all 380 games."

Professional sports teams today increasingly use quantitative methods to analyze performance. Some sports, notably baseball, lend themselves to such analysis because games are naturally divided into plays and sets. Soccer, on the other hand, is continuous and low-scoring, which makes analysis difficult, even though data is plentiful.

Rather than track player positions, for which data is scarce, the Disney researchers used ball action data – time-coded information about everything that is happening to the ball. This information is typically used for online visualizations of matches and is manually compiled by Opta, a commercial sports data supplier.

For the 2010-2011 season, that amounted to 760,000 ball action notations. The Disney software uses this data to infer the position and possession of the ball for every second of 380 games. It then divides the field into different areas and then counts how many times the ball was in each area over a specified time.

This yields "entropy maps," which model the uncertainty of a team's behavior in different areas of the field. Teams with high entropy spread the ball around and are harder to predict; low entropy teams have players who tend to stay within certain areas of the field.

By combining these entropy maps with commonly used match statistics such as passes, shots on goal and fouls, the automated analysis can distinguish between teams with high accuracy, the researchers have found.

The analysis of road team strategy is just one application of this automated technique, Lucey said. It could become a tool for coaches to track their team's progress or to provide insights for developing game plans, as well as an aid to television commentators.

Iain Matthews and Peter Carr, both of Disney Research, Pittsburgh, also were part of the research team. More information is available on the project web site at http://www.disneyresearch.com/project/spatiotemporal-data

About Disney Research

Disney Research is a network of research laboratories supporting The Walt Disney Company. Its purpose is to pursue scientific and technological innovation to advance the company's broad media and entertainment efforts. Disney Research is managed by an internal Disney Research Council co-chaired by Disney-Pixar's Ed Catmull and Walt Disney Imagineering's Bruce Vaughn, and including the directors of the individual labs. It has facilities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Boston and Zürich. Research topics include computer graphics, video processing, computer vision, robotics, radio and antennas, wireless communications, human-computer interaction, displays, data mining, machine learning and behavioral sciences.

Jennifer Liu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.disney.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Method of Characterizing Graphene

Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer inks from the woods

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>