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More Thoughts on Statistics

So I’ve got two weeks of statistics now. I’ve basically been looking at how well my leadoff lags hold up (using number of balls the opponents have to throw at it as the measuring stick), how often my non-leadoff lags successfully make a point, and how often my shots connect (although my two teammates are better shots than I am, so I haven’t been shooting much at all this season). I think I’d like to keep track of how often my leadoffs touch the pallino, and how often I bump opponents’ balls for the point or drag the pallino away from their balls, but this sort of record keeping gets a little more involved and it’s probably more than I want to do while playing – trying to keep track of all of that and write it down as it happens is going to take my mind off the actual game.

While continuing my search for other bocce statistics collections (mostly to get an idea of what data other people think are important to keep track of) I found this Bocce Socrebook. The format is pretty elaborate, but one good point is that by keeping track of the game frame-by-frame and noting initial positioning of the pallino you can look for trends based on short games, long games, games up against the sideboard and games in the middle of the alley. I know my own strengths pretty instinctively (I like playing *very* close to the board, mostly because I’ve found I’m a lot better than most people at keeping the ball close to the side, since the shape of the alley tends to bring balls back to the middle – on the negative side, though, it’s generally a lot easier to shoot balls close to the sideboard), and I have a rough idea of where most of the guys in my league are strong and weak, but if I had real data on that type of performance based on pallino position I think I could really exploit it. Collecting that would be basically impossible without a league-wide effort.

On the wider scale, I’m watching how many balls I play compared to how many points we score and give up. A net points per ball thrown stat would be a pretty good indicator of a team’s league-wide dominance, but I’m not sure if it makes much sense for individuals since a strong player and a weak player together will tend to drag each other’s average to the middle.

So, along those lines it would be nice to come up with something similar to baseball RBIs. Points earned, or responsible for, or something. For example, if player A throws two junk balls, then player B makes a shot that suddenly makes A’s balls in scoring position, B should get some “RBIs.” Figuring out a meaningful way to score that is pretty tricky, though. For example, with the opponents out of balls, player A might play his last ball in a way that blows the pallino wide open, allowing B to drop two easy lags in for more points. B may not have made those without A’s good play. Should A or B get the credit? If B’s balls had already been there and out of scoring position, and A simply moved stuff around to bring them into scoring position, he would get the credit, so why should this be different just because the order was reversed? Perhaps these could be accounted for with “assists” or something, but now we’re getting into crazy complicated stuff. I’m going to just keep it simple for the rest of this year and see how it goes from there.

In the results-oriented world, we had a pretty good week. We went in Wednesday night tied for first place but behind a bit on the tiebreak, and we played the team we were tied with; we got blitzed in the first game 4-12 but came roaring back and took the next two 12-4, 12-1 to move into sole possession of first place. There’s a long way to go, though.

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