20 August 2008

The stars of Worlds

Strap on your helmet, fasten your seatbelts, we're entering Stats World...

Here are the player statistics for WUGC2008. I have put the data online as a spreadsheet too, for anyone to analyse. It is a list of the players, in order of goals caught plus assists thrown, per game played.

You can pull some interesting stories out of these numbers, despite their limitations.

Lets sift through this data a bit to find the stars of Worlds 2008.

Firstly, Juniors should be in a separate category. The junior divisions are still mostly uneven playing fields, with a wide range of abilities and athleticism on many teams. Some junior players will go on to become superstars but don't show it now, whereas the older divisions have a bit more "what you see is what you get". Many of the non-North American juniors have only been playing for 1 or 2 years.

So we'll pull them out of this list, and put them in their own category.

Now to the level of ultimate played. The big stats from players on weak teams are less representative of elite play. There is a decently sized pool of players who could throw or catch numerous goals playing with weaker players against weaker teams. But only the best can do so on a strong roster in the top pools. So I have pulled out players whose team finished in the bottom third of their division, an arbitrary cut-off point (I'm all ears for a more objective method for filtering out weak games).

Those left behind are the stars.

Somewhere down the track, WFDF may put in the manpower to track who plays which point, and we can get more reliable goals per point (GPP) and assists per point (APP) stats, as opposed to the current per game stats. Actually these current numbers are not even true GPG and APG stats as we don't know who sat out games in this list.

In this statistically measured future, I feel we need a scaling factor to account for the far larger number of possessions a player starting a point on O faces compared to a D player.

Alternatively, we need to separate the stats into Goals per Offensive Point (GPOP) and Goals per Defensive Point (GPDP), and likewise for assists.

I'll finish with some questions.

How good an indicator of player performance is points plus assists per game? I did a simple comparison to subjective opinion in 2006. The Australian selectors for World Games 2005 picked 6 men from across the country in that year. One year later, 5 of those players were in the top 6 Australian male scorers at World Clubs (I'll try and put those stats online soon too). That's a solid correlation. I am certain we can find better measures though.

How does Ultistats show this info? Does it have different stats? I can't remember what it showed when I last used it.

And lastly, does this list have anyone at the top who looks ridiculously out of place?

I believe it passes the "laugh test".

Rank Division Team # Name Goals Assists Points Avg
1 Open JPN 12 Yohei Kichikawa 23 35 58 5.8
2 Masters GBR 80 Merrick Cardew 23 29 52 4.73
3 Masters NZL 46 Gary Jarvis 5 44 49 4.45
4 Open JPN 10 Masahiro Matsuno 23 20 43 4.3
5 Masters NZL 47 Shane Vuletich 20 26 46 4.18
6 Women JPN 8 Sanako Inomata 12 29 41 4.1
7 Open CAN 7 Michael Grant 21 19 40 4
8 Women AUS 14 Diana Worman 20 22 42 3.82
9 Women GER 44 Sara Wickström 14 24 38 3.8
10 Mixed CAN 98 Brendan Wong 28 10 38 3.8
11 Open VEN 11 Pablo Saade 5 32 37 3.7
12 Women COL 37 Andrea Trujillo 15 22 37 3.7
13 Women AUS 2 Lauren Brown 28 11 39 3.55
14 Open SWE 17 David Wesley 31 8 39 3.55
15 Women JPN 9 Eri Hirai 31 4 35 3.5


  1. you only see one canadian and no americans in Open..but it would be a tough argument to say that alot of those players arent "stars of worlds". they simpyl suffer on the stats sheet because there are so many players that can get it done. I am sure if you put Mike Neild or Alex Nord or Chase or something on teams that dont have such an even spread of talent then you would see different results. Interesring though, its a better indication than simpy goals or assists across the board (although cat phillips would have been a good fantasy pick)

  2. I agree that this stat is not the best indicator of who the best players are, or who played well at Worlds. Players on deep teams are disadvantaged. But it does show us "stars" - players dominating in the context of their team and division, who did a lot of work.

    But if you were to pick the best North American player in Open, is Mike Grant an unreasonable name to appear at the top? I don't think so.

    Am keen to discuss better measurements.

  3. Not sure weather you were talking about this one or not. But all the stats they kept on the juniors were pretty good. Completed passes, pulls in and out, who was on the line for each score and who was on for each point scored against to give an idea of what players played well or played essential lower scoring roles or were d machines. I think I remember Piers saying that in 06 Tarrant had the highest amount of team scores while on the field / points played reflecting his awesome teamwork skills and what he did apart from scoring and assisting.

    So maybe some of these more detailed stats are always good. But was that what you were already tlaking about?

  4. What the juniors had sounds pretty comprehensive, and would likely provide the next level of detail. It would help inform a team's decisions on tactics, and I'm sure it did that for Thunder.

    If you could do that across an entire division, you would learn a lot.

    One thing I liked on the Dingos is that we noted who threw each pull and graded each pull (see earlier post on pulling), to determine who our best pullers were.

  5. PS "whether" not "weather". We've got to convince the blogosphere that smart people read this blog.

  6. slighty OT to this post - what were your criteria for grading pulls? I know your measure for A/B/C, but do you include the number of free passes the O gets off? I think that's a good a measure as any.

    PS - Nice to meet you in person at worlds, Oshep.

  7. For more objective measures, what about including the number of players on a team in the stats? Players more stats on a team with fewer players gets weighted dowwards, to even out with players with few stats on deep teams?

    Admittedly, you don't have much data to work with with points played and such.

  8. Hey Farmer.
    The pulling grades we gave were the ones here. We didn't count the free passes the O gets as that depends on what D you're playing, where the handlers run to, and how fast the D runs down. That is probably a better measure of overall team D effort combined with pulling, which would be feedback for the D team, not just the pullers.

    With player numbers, its really hard to tell if the last player on the roster played onepoint a game, or an equal percentage of points. So it's hard to weight stats that way.

  9. Damn, sorry about the weather. Should have learnt that one in year 4. :P