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Weekly Round-up 01.02.2022

Hello and Happy New Year! Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2022.

As we all begin to think ahead to 2022 with our individual hopes and aspirations I reflect back one year to the beginning of 2021 and the hope that it would be a different year to 2020. Well, on reflection it was slightly better but still not without periods of intense difficulty for everyone.

One positive though, was that in 2021, we had uninterrupted sport.

Casting my mind further back, to the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, and those early months of incredible uncertainty we also for a period of time, lost sport. Of course, this should be placed in important context against a global pandemic but it's only when something is gone that we really appreciate the power it has. I would certainly say sport whether watching or participating has this power.

I remember when the English Premier League returned in June, without crowds of course, with a televised match between Aston Villa and Sheffield United. With no disrespect to these teams, this wouldn't be a game I would have normally prioritised watching. However, here I was in front of the television loving the fact I was watching live, unpredictable sport once again.

The match itself wasn't particularly entertaining. A 0-0 draw between the two teams but still managed to generate one major incident. Following a Sheffield United cross, the Aston Villa goalkeeper clearly carried the ball across the goal line. Everyone saw it, but with the very reliable goal decision system (Hawkeye) in place, were waiting for the referee to be notified electronically. He wasn't, apparently because all the various camera angles the system uses were covered by players standing in the goal. The 'goal' wasn't given and suddenly, debates were ranging, Twitter was trending and the commentary team and pundits were discussing the pros and cons of technology in sport. Sport was back, and it was great! If you want to relive that memory, or indeed, view it for the first time, check out the highlights here.

OK, enough New Year nostalgia, following the recent posts by CJ and Mo. Hello! I'm Simon and I complete the trio of the new members of Sports Viz Sunday team and was proud, surprised and pretty blown away to be chosen to join the team at the end of last year. I've learnt so much in participating in Sports Viz Sunday and the team across the years of Simon, Kate, James, Spencer and Chris have all been huge inspirations to me. I'm buzzing about 2022 and all the things this great community can achieve together.

Onto this weeks selection. Like every week there is always an incredible selection on offer and this week is no different. First up, Naresh is one of my favourite authors and it's not difficult to see why. His designs are always visually stunning and packed full of content. His latest effort is no different which looks at fatalities and serious injuries in F1. Being a fan of F1 I spent a long time looking a this. The huge strides in safety in F1 are certainly impressive compared to what must have been an exhilarating but frightening time in the early years of racing.

Next, Yash takes a look at goal kicks in the Premier League. In this clean and easy to understand viz it's clear to pick out the teams that like to build up play from the back and retain possession versus those that go for a more territorial approach by playing the goal kick longer. Nice work, Yash!

I don't recall seeing many ski-jumping vizzes before so this was really interesting to look at from Klaus Schulte. Klaus explores whether athletes are now at the limit of their jumping abilities as jumping records have become rarer since the introduction of greater hills. I love the design of this and the polygons to depict the jump advancements are spot on.

Such a visually appealing viz from Mark looking at the on-ball actions of three key Manchester City players. Certainly easy to see why Bernardo Silva is drawing such high praise this season with his all-action displays.

Soumyajit uses StatsBomb to go deep into the science of passing triangles for Barcelona in comparison to their opponents. The viz below is very interesting but I'd thoroughly recommend reading the link in the tweet as well as it goes into the incredible detail behind it. The science behind sport nowadays really is amazing.

John Muller of The Athletic uses a really nice, and some have said, seasonal looking, design to show how players are rewarded with contract extensions following a high performing season. The article goes on to explore how this might have backfired for certain clubs with contract extensions given to players where performance for one year isn't sustainable for the longer term.

From StatsBomb themselves, is Antonio Conte getting the best out of Harry Kane? Based on the data below it would certainly seem so and as an England fan, I'd like to hope this continues throughout 2022 and takes this new found form into the Qatar World Cup.

Bhuvanesh provides a really insightful view of football goalkeepers with this pyramid view grouping the top 5 leagues custodians in three buckets (sweeping, claiming and saving). I love the fact that there are now different 'types' of goalkeepers and this kind of work really brings that to life. Are the keepers that like to save a lot putting themselves in harms way by not sweeping and or claiming more?? Well done, Bhuvanesh.

Cover Shadows - Luis provides a useful way of explaining the positioning of defensive players to try and eliminate passing options from the opposing team. Certainly more elegant than when I played in Sunday League Football where my captain simply shouted "Spilt them!" when I was facing up to a goal kick and had to try and stop the goalkeeper playing out to the two centre backs!

Ross has colated this absolute epic analysis of player minutes in the Rugby Union English Premiership 20/21 season. Every team and every player is available in the interactive version on Tableau so do check that out. It's interesting to see so few players that have participated in every match demonstrating the physicality of the sports and the need for a strong squad.

Not a viz, as such but a fantastic piece of sporting art from Steph who displays the 2021 game day posters for the Dallas Mavericks NBA team. The feedback on this tweet has been incredible and rightly so with some absolutely stunning work here from Steph.

In this viz from Tim, showing the best and most unlucky Premier League fantasy players, he does a great job in using a table to cleanly and crisply show the data. Interestingly the top most effective players are all from Liverpool. Tim also shows that Harry Kane is potentially the unluckiest player so far with the biggest variance between actual points and expected points. Nice job, Tim!

In this American Football viz, Tej looks at the decision making of punt returners and whether across three different decision types they have made the right choice. Again, I strongly encourage you to check out the link as well as it explains the science that has gone into this particular piece. Nice work, Tej!

Kate looks back on her golfing year with an interesting take on identifying her best round. Usually, it's easy to just look at the number of shots taken or perhaps Stableford points but Kate has compared her scores by looking at the score's differential. I'm impressed by a number of things here, 1) the viz itself is clean, crisp and very interesting to explore 2) the number of rounds Kate has played is equally impressive and some of these scores are seriously good too. Well done, Kate, all round!

Now, an important lesson! The last entry is from me and would have been included in last weeks roundup had I not made the fundamental error of getting the #SportsVizSunday tag wrong! Do check those tweets before sending them!! I won't review my own entry but I was happy how it turned out with what I am hoping is a balance between a good amount of detail from initial viewing with a degree of interactivity for those that want to explore deeper. One of my hopes for 2022 is to witness a similar F1 season to last year. If it gets anywhere near as close to the intensity, rivalry and drama of 2021 it's going to be great!

Aside from the vizzes there are a couple of extra pieces certainly worth sharing. It's been noticeable lately that a huge amount of Football related vizzes have used Statsbomb as the datasource. If anyone is interested in expanding their knowledge further then check out this course.

If you haven't had the chance yet, do check out the recap post of the #IronQuest and #SportsVizSunday 'Sporting Heros and Legends' collaboration from Sarah Bartlett. The blog showcases the amazing work and also links to a recorded feedback session with Sarah and some of the Sports Viz Sunday team.

Wow! What a great week, if 2022 continues with this quality and variety then it's going to be very enjoyable indeed. Finally, on behalf of all the Sports Viz Sunday team here's to a great 2022 with many happy memories to be created and shared with our loved ones. Do check out our 2021 recap post which was published yesterday here.


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