From day one, our plan was to provide passing statistics. No surprise, really, as passing happens more than anything else in soccer / football. We were very excited as we had over 40 awesome statistics that help with defending, attacking and controlling the match. Then, when we beta tested in the hands of beginners, our world was at risk of crumbing down. The problem was that beginner Scribes couldn’t keep up with the gestures and wouldn’t last more than 3 minutes. The problem was that passing takes approximately 10 times more gestures than without passing. It was devastating. We had a simple choice. We had to either drop 30 statistics and track mostly passes or drop 6 statistics and track passes indirectly.
We decided to go with the option that provides teams with more statistics. This was a fair trade off as we knew we could reintroduce the passing gestures for experienced Scribes and deliver all our statistics at a later date. Also, we knew we still had passing statistics because we measured passing outcomes.
There are two types of passing statistics…
- Precision-based passing statistics
- Purpose-based passing statistics
Precision-based passing statistics are the most obvious as they measure obvious aspects of passing. Examples include the following:
- total passes
- pass success
- number of passes in a series
- time between passes
- longest number of passes in a series
- average number of passes in a series
Precision-based passing statistics have a few challenges:
- They are a target range, not a desired maximum like other statistics (like number of shots in a match). This complicates the management and presentation of the statistics.
- They are influenced greatly by the environment. Field size influences the target range and the skill level of the opponent influences what is realistic.
- When the precision-based passing statistics are not well designed and managed, players might become demotivated and players and coaches will have a harder time connecting.
Purpose-based passing statistics are not as obvious as they measure the outcomes or objectives or effectiveness of passing. There are three sequential objectives of passing:
- to control the match
- to find opportunities to advance the ball up the pitch
- to pass for scoring opportunities
Control the match
A team that successfully links passes in a match is able to control a portion of a match. The real question, however, is knowing which team takes greater control of the match. This is where possession statistics are beneficial.
- The Possession Statistic. Possession is the desired outcome to passing. If your team has possession, it has control.
- The Possession chart. The possession chart presents possession on a time scale and this gives deeper insights. Maybe the team maintains possession throughout a match, maybe it loses possession toward the end of the match, maybe a strategic change makes a difference in possession.
Find opportunities to advance the ball up the pitch
Once a team has control of the ball, next they want to find opportunities to advance the ball up the pitch. We measured movement of the ball with the following statistics.
- The Ball Location Statistic. Ball location measures which half of the field the ball has been on more often. Regardless if the team has high or low possession, if the ball is in the offensive half more often, that is a good thing. This is often called pressure. If the team has high possession, but play is more in their own half, then the team needs to work on advancing the ball.
- The Ball Location Chart. The ball location chart measures the effectiveness of passing over time. When viewed with the possession chart, we can see when the team had higher scoring potential.
Pass for scoring potential
Sometimes an opportunity to advance the ball up the pitch includes an opportunity for scoring. Otherwise, once the ball is in the attacking third, the team then needs to pass for scoring potential.
- The Counter Attacks Statistic. Counter attacks is a measure of the team’s ability to make successful long ball and through ball passes that takes the team to the attacking third.
- The Goal Appetite™ Statistic. Goal Appetite tells the team whether they have high quality passing into those tight spaces that have scoring potential.
Purpose-based passing statistics gives your team meaningful measures of performance. Once we have designed precision-based passing statistics that best serve the needs of the team and the player-development initiative, you will see it available in the goFooty app.