New Season Ahead

Hey y’all!  Most people already know, so it’s no surprise that I am heading back to England for the season.  Just left warm and sunny Florida with my freshly tan kissed skin and already looking forward to losing my bronze complexion with every passing minute I’m in the UK.  I’m so excited to embark on my 5th season overseas!  However, this season will be a bit different than my past 4 seasons.  Instead of playing I will take on a coaching role with the same team I played for last season: Nottingham Wildcats!  Words can’t describe how grateful I am for the club giving me an opportunity to be a part of the team in another way other than playing.  In addition to being a part of the Wildcat family again, I will also coach the same college boys team I coached last year (New College Nottingham).  So, this season I’m sure will present itself with its fair share of challenges.  Hell, not playing in and of itself is going to be a challenging thing to deal with!  Playing is not in the cards yet because of my ankle.  However, I remain hopeful and very focused on recovering and getting my joint as healthy as it can be!  So my patience will continue…

I type this from the Dublin, Ireland airport as I wait for my connection to Birmingham, England.  I slept about an hour on my flight from the States, which is quite shocking considering I never EVER am a successful sleeper on planes.  So, I’m quite proud and satisfied with the  1 hour of sleep I’m running on at the moment.  I’ve got another couple hours until I board my next flight and we all know I ain’t sleeping a lick, so I thought I’d divulge into a bit of what I intend on doing this season on this blog.

Let me start with a bit of background about myself that will help to explain another interest of mine (outside of basketball and bicycling).  Some of you who know me are well aware I’ve been a “numbers” girl starting from my childhood.  From mom tutoring me in algebra at a very young age, to taking Calculus BC in high school, and to loving my statistics classes at Michigan, I’ve always been into the mathematics and analysis of things.  Why?  Maybe its because I tend to be a natural over-analyzer in all realms of my life.  Or maybe it’s because I’ve just always hated reading and writing, so I naturally loved the math and sciences more!  Regardless, I guess I’ve always felt that using numbers and data is the most efficient way to justify why things work the way they do.

So, moving on now… several years ago I discovered basketball analytics.  Analytics itself has been a huge buzz word across professional sports all over the world and when I found out about it and how heavily it has become involved in the NBA, I was immediately attracted to the idea.  There are a plethora of definitions of sports/basketball analytics and by no means am I an expert (yet), but my personal interpretation of what basketball analytics entails is simply taking any data pertaining to the game and making it meaningful and helpful.  This is more than just the box score of a game.  Analytics can include anything from scouting reports, medical reports, psychological profiles, or film studies.  My favorite part of analytics is the numbers part, tho.  Being able to prove why successful teams are successful based on how they statistically perform on the court is so interesting to me.  So, basketball analytics ever so perfectly combines my passion for the game with my love for numbers.

So, with this blog I’d like to dive into some basketball analytics of the league I played for last season and will be involved with again this season:  WBBL (Women’s British Basketball League).  There are tons of software and tools that have been created to help analyze the game of basketball outside of your standard box score.  Thankfully, the WBBL has a contract with Synergy Sports Technology this season, which allows coaches to use the web-based program to see detailed reports and clips of games.  This is great for someone like me as I intend to take those numbers and attempt to make significant correlations to not only look at the league as a whole, but also improve the success of the Wildcats. 🙂

There are so many topics that have been researched and number crunched on the game of basketball.  For example, is it better to send 1 or 2 players back on defense or is better to crash?  Is it better to switch screens or hedge or trap?  Is it better to take a midrange jumper or take it all the way to the basket?  Are the answers to these questions solely based on personnel or coaching style OR can they actually be backed up by meaningful data patterns?  Many advocates of basketball analytics believe that they can be backed up with numbers.  However, there are so many variables involved with the game of basketball, so others believe that basketball should be kept as an instinctual game instead of over-analyzing every movement and decision on the court.  Personally, after playing the game my whole life, I’m an advocate of instinct AND numbers.  If basketball analytics can put you or your team at even the slightest advantage, then why not incorporate it?

Boarding my flight in 5 minutes, so it’s time to wrap it up.  Stay tuned as I start to experiment with my own analytics relating to the WBBL.

Until next time… Cheers from Dublin!

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