Data analytics legend Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight.com have done some amazing things with data and statistics over the years in politics, sports and elsewhere. Now, at least for a moment, they have turned their attention toward Ultimate. In two articles today (one | two), the web site addresses the lack of strong statistical information so far in our sport.
As the AUDL’s The Dish puts it, “The thrust of both pieces is that the entirety of ultimate and its development in the future is suffering from a rudimentary approach to the game due to a dearth in stats and analysis of them.”
One way to move forward is easy to identify if a little more difficult to put into action — along with all the stats our league already keeps for every game (touches, drops, goals, assists, Ds, etc.), we would need to incorporate position data for each of those actions. This is well described in Ultiworld’s detailed post today responding to the FiveThirtyEight articles. We agree. New technology is out there on the horizon for pro ultimate that could greatly facilitate this effort, so the future of ultimate analytics may not be too far away.
FiveThirtyEight.com articles on Ultimate Frisbee Statistics