Let me preface this by saying that it's a response to some of the feedback we've received in our attempt to make the site even better for you. If you haven't let us know what you think and would like to see from 7500 to Holte in the future, please take a minute to do so when you can. It will be greatly appreciated by the four of us, and there's a good chance your requests can be implemented.
One of the first requests we got, and one that was seconded by a few people, was for more writing on tactics and strategy. I love this idea, but it has a few problems. As you know by now, the main sports world I come from is baseball. There is no more analytical group of fans than those who follow baseball. Additionally, it's a sport that lends itself to precise record-keeping that tells 99% of the story of a game. As a result, if you want to know some statistical information, it probably exists.
The same can't be said for soccer. I've had it in my mind to write a tactical or strategy related post more than a few times, but the time that would be required to put it together was simply too much. Unlike baseball, there aren't vast repositories of data with regards to soccer, at least in regards to anything other than scores.To a certain extent, this makes sense. Baseball gets a chance to reset in between most every event on the field, and players are generally static in one position. Soccer is constantly in motion, both as a game and with regard to the players themselves. How does one collect data points from something that is always going? It's possible, but not nearly as easy as it is in baseball.
So that's the problem, but I've got an idea, and I'd like to know if it would be met with any interest from our readers and readers .
About a year ago, Graham MacAree did a series entitled Sabermetrics 101 at Lookout Landing. It was an attempt to give an educated baseball fan an introduction to the world of Sabermetrics, the statistically-oriented movement to make baseball more about facts and less about vague instincts. I'd like to do perhaps an even simpler version of that for our site. Aaron and Kirsten do a great job in writing about tactics, but it's such a time-consuming thing that it wouldn't hurt to have someone else writing about it too. Unfortunately, I'm not that well versed in these things. I'm a more than casual, but less than analytical fan. So if I'm going to write about this stuff, I need to learn about it, and I imagine I'm not alone.
This is where the parallels to Graham's earlier work come in. I'd like to do a series that outlines what resources are available to fans, what they mean in terms of tactics, and how these things affect the team(s) we follow. It would be a way for me to dive into this stuff and also get some hopefully helpful posts up on the site. I can do it on my own time, but if people would be interested, it would be really easy for me to post it here as well. Additionally, I hope to have an interview with Graham about the work he's doing at We Ain't Got No History. While what he's doing is statistical analysis rather than tactics (as he pointed out to me), I think it could conceivably have some impact on tactics and strategy. It's important to note, as Kirsten pointed out to me, that stats and tactics are different things. I may dabble a bit with statistics, but I'll try to keep that germane. For instance, how the statistics apply to the more concrete idea of what shape a team plays in, and how they utilize both the time and space on the pitch.
So let me know what you think. If this would be helpful, I imagine the series would start closer towards summer. That way I have more time and it would provide some relief from the endless stream of ZOMG TRANSFER RUMORS!