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  • 23 Nov 2017

    Kasparov’s Law

    In 1997, IBM’s chess-playing computer Deep Blue became the first machine to beat a world champion, in Garry Kasparov. Since then, computers have become part of the fabric of the game, competing in tournaments as well as providing training assistance for players.

    ‘Freestyle’ tournaments have also grown in popularity, where humans compete both with and against […]

  • 17 Aug 2017

    Everything else is just noise

    Thinking clearly under pressure was one of Sir Clive Woodward’s favourite mantras as coach of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning side. In order to ensure his players were able to make the right calls when the heat was on, Woodward sought to recreate pressurised scenarios so that his team had already practised the thought processes […]

  • 09 Mar 2017

    Talking the talk

    The football industry is going through a period of change in which establishing joined-up football services off the pitch is a key strategic goal and often a major logistical challenge. To be able to succeed in this respect and introduce the new ideas that are central to its advancement requires a certain bravery on the […]

  • 18 Aug 2016

    The overrated factor

    With less than two weeks until the transfer window closes, boardrooms are increasingly required to make quick decisions under pressure.

    In this environment, we often try to evaluate complex choices by relying on small pieces of simple information. In some cases, this can be useful – last year we encouraged clubs to ‘make three rules’ as […]

  • 13 Apr 2016

    I cannot make bricks without clay!

    “Data, data, data!” [Holmes] cried impatiently. “I cannot make bricks without clay!” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

    The brilliant detective of Conan Doyle’s creation is not alone.  Today, key decision-makers in most fields rely on a healthy supply of objective, accurate data and analytics in order make the decisions on which their […]

  • 03 Mar 2016

    In defence of intuition

    Intuition has historically been a decision-maker’s best friend in business and sport. Then data came along and the value of intuition seemingly diminished – an objective challenger to the notion that we’re capable of understanding something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning or numbers.

    The commonly held assumption that intuition is nothing more than pure […]

  • 25 Feb 2016

    In defence of decisions

    Decision-making in football is a thankless task. Such is the diversity of opinion that even sensible action – selling an ageing player for example – is likely to attract the ire of some. Media narrative is often deliberately contrarian and fans can be passionate beyond reason. Inaction, no matter how sensible or justified, can also […]

  • 04 Feb 2016

    A successful flop

    "Someone once bet me I couldn't clear a stuffed leather chair.  Not only did I lose the bet, I also broke my hand in the crash landing." In attributing these words to anyone, I suspect few would turn to the list of past Olympic jumping champions for inspiration, yet these are the words of Dick Fosbury, 1968 Olympic High Jump Gold Medallist, recalling a college incident.
  • 21 Aug 2015

    Where do we rank?

    In February, ESPN released a feature titled The Great Analytics Rankings. In it they rated every major US sports franchise on its “analytics staff, its buy-in from execs and coaches, its investment in biometric data and how much its approach is predicated on analytics,” producing a top 10, bottom 10 and headline assessment of each team.At a professional sports club it would be difficult to perform a similarly comprehensive overview of the competition, but there are enough rumours and ongoing knowledge exchange to at least hazard a guess.