Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

10 Great Sports Analytics Books (For All Levels)

Sports analytics have become increasingly important in modern sports, with clubs seeking innovative ways to gain a competitive edge. From data models like xG to advanced match analysis, analytics can significantly improve performance on the field. If you’re interested in exploring the impact of analytics in association football and other sports, there are plenty of books that delve into this subject. In this article, we’ll take you through 10 of the best sports analytics books that cater to beginners and those with existing knowledge. Let’s dive in.

Book #1: The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong by David Sally

Published in 2013, “The Numbers Game” by David Sally was one of the earliest books to explore the innovative changes happening in soccer due to data analysis. Co-authored with former professional goalkeeper turned statistics guru Chris Anderson, this book challenges conventional wisdom and dives deep into the impact of numbers on the modern game. From predicting winners and losers to debunking myths, “The Numbers Game” is a must-read for any soccer enthusiast looking to understand the influence of analytics.

Book #2: How to Watch Football: 52 Rules for Understanding the Beautiful Game, On and Off the Pitch by Tifo – The Athletic

Tifo Football Podcast and Tifo YouTube channel have been instrumental in introducing tactical concepts to football fans. Their book, “How to Watch Football,” takes their expertise to the written form. It challenges readers to change the way they experience football matches by becoming more observant and analytically focused. While some concepts may initially seem confusing, the ideas presented in this book can revolutionize your viewing experience and enhance your understanding of the game.

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Book #3: The Expected Goals Philosophy: A Game-Changing Way of Analyzing Football by James Tippett

“Expected Goals” (xG) is a widely-used metric that analyzes the quality of scoring chances in a football match. James Tippett’s book, “The Expected Goals Philosophy,” explores the theories and applications of xG in talent identification and overall match analysis. Understanding xG is essential for anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of modern football analytics.

Book #4: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

While primarily focused on baseball, “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis remains highly relevant for sports analytics enthusiasts. This book tells the story of how the Oakland Athletics baseball team used data and analytics to level the playing field against teams with much higher budgets. The principles and insights shared in “Moneyball” can be applied to any sport, including football, and provide valuable lessons on the power of analytics in achieving success.

Book #5: Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football by Wayne L. Winston

Mathematics plays a crucial role in understanding and analyzing sports. Wayne L. Winston’s “Mathletics” demonstrates how mathematics can be used to evaluate statistical and probability-related questions in baseball, basketball, and American football. This book provides a practical exploration of how mathematical tools can enhance coaching, player evaluation, and overall performance, making it a valuable resource for coaches, managers, and sports enthusiasts.

Book #6: Net Gains: Inside the Beautiful Game’s Analytics Revolution by Ryan O’Hanlon

Ryan O’Hanlon’s “Net Gains” offers an in-depth examination of the rise of analytics in soccer. Through interviews with scientists, coaches, managers, scouts, and psychologists, O’Hanlon explores how analytics has shaped the modern game. This book provides valuable insights into how analytics has expanded our understanding of football and pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the sport.

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Book #7: Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski

“Soccernomics” takes an interdisciplinary approach to delve into the economics, statistics, psychology, and business behind soccer. Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski challenge common assumptions and explore counter-intuitive truths about the sport. This book asks thought-provoking questions and offers new perspectives on topics like England’s performance, America’s international dominance, and the success of the German national team. A must-read for anyone interested in the deeper dynamics of football.

Book #8: Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim

“Scorecasting” by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim challenges long-held beliefs in sports and highlights hidden influences that impact game outcomes. While not specifically focused on football, the insights shared in this book can be applied to any sport. By questioning conventional wisdom and using data-driven analysis, “Scorecasting” provides a fresh perspective on the factors that truly determine success in sports.

Book #9: Football Hackers: The Science and Art of a Data Revolution by Christoph Biermann

Christoph Biermann’s “Football Hackers” explores the data revolution in football and its impact on the sport. The author interviews scientists, coaches, managers, scouts, and psychologists to understand how data is shaping the game. This book offers a glimpse into the future of football analytics and provides valuable insights for those interested in the evolving landscape of the sport.

Book #10: Outside the Box: A Statistical Journey through the History of Football by Duncan Alexander

Duncan Alexander, co-founder of OptaJoe and Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Analyst, takes readers on a statistical journey through the history of football in “Outside the Box.” Using the OptaJoe archives, Alexander traces the evolution of statistics in football and explores how analytics have influenced the Premier League and other top competitions. This book is a comprehensive overview of football analytics, making it an essential read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the role of data in the sport.

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In conclusion, these 10 sports analytics books offer a wealth of knowledge for readers of all levels. Whether you’re new to the subject or already well-versed in analytics, these books will expand your understanding and appreciation for the role of data in sports. So grab a copy and delve into the fascinating world of sports analytics!