Transforming Tough Matches to Wins
In PKL - Success Story
Author: Darshan Yandigeri
While analysis regarding players has a lot to do with what occurs on the playing field, at times it is all about what is taking place between the ears of the players. One such instance of note came to the attention of our analyst while he was working with a team in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL).
The problem in this situation was that the team was losing a lot of points in the closing stages of the game. A lot of different factors could be playing a part in such a case and our analyst was tasked with finding the solution to the question at hand.
With the data being collected in 10-minute intervals, our analyst noted that one defender in particular was attempting a lot of high-risk advanced tackles during the last 10 minutes of the game. This in turn meant that the team was losing a lot of points in that interval.
An initial look at the data revealed that this player was seemingly attempting these risky advanced tackles only when he was closer to achieving a high-5 and a deep dive was required to see if this was the case.
Firstly, what is a High-5? A High-5 is achieved by a player when he scores 5 or more tackle points in a game, which is an impressive feat. The reward for such an accomplishment was a cash bonus for the player for every match that they managed to achieve it in.
This created an initial hypothesis that the player was chasing this target when he had 3 or 4 tackle points entering the final phases of the game.
Here is an initial look at the tackle numbers and success rate on average for the player in different intervals of the game.
It was concluded that the tackle success rate decreases with an increase in attempted tackles towards the end of the game for the player.
Now to validate the hypothesis, two metrics in Tackle Rate and Advanced Tackle Rate were created to see if there was a case to be made regarding the said player.
These metrics can be defined as
Tackle Rate is the ratio of tackles attempted by a player in the last 11 minutes of the game when he is closer to High 5 compared to not-closer to High 5, it captures the tendency of increased tackling.
Advanced Tackle Rate is the ratio of advanced tackles attempted by a player in the last 11 minutes of the game when he is closer to High 5 compared to not-closer to High 5, it captures whether those increased tackles were also more aggressive than usual.
A look at the Tackle Rate metric revealed that the player in question ranked 4th on the team at 1.71, but that alone doesn’t determine if they are attempting risky tackles in late-game scenarios and that is where the Advanced Tackle Rate metric comes in.
The hypothesis was proven to be correct once we did look at the Advanced Tackle Rate, as the player did come out on top at 2.41, which indicates that there is a massive jump in his tendency to attempt riskier tackles if he is close to attaining a High-5.
Once this information was shared with coaches and management, the player was closely scrutinised in the upcoming matches, and it was evident what was going on. Subsequently, the decision was made to bench him in the last 10 minutes of games and the team fared much better in the closing stages as a result of it. As stated earlier, at times it is all about what goes on between the ears of athletes and not what goes on, on the field.
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PIC Credit – Prokabaddi.com