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Do advanced stats really tell the story?

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Old
08-29-2013, 06:53 PM
  #51
Roulin
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Originally Posted by sandysan View Post
if they had the value you describe, how often do you think that the coach is aware of these numbers in real time ? How often will the stats department send notes to the coach to suggest "better" line combinations ? Or do you think that a coach makes these decisions based on what he sees from the bench ?

Coaching is largely intuitive, you ride guys on a roll and if sit guys who are dogging it irrespective of how they did previously. coaches play hunches all the time and the guys on the ice are not automatons.
I am absolutely sure that knowing which players perform best in specific situations can be of great value to coaches, and that some metrics can add to that information. I have no idea how many and which coaches use what kind of statistics in their decision making (I doubt they would make that information public). I also have no idea which coaches rely heavily on watching video and consulting with scouts between games. I hope Therrien does more of all this, and does it well, rather than playing hunches.

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08-29-2013, 07:05 PM
  #52
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No they don't and i'll give a very small exemple :

Josh Gorges has 200 hits
Scott Stevens has 200 hits

Only by looking at the stats you would think both of these guys are pretty equal when it come to hitting but what the stats don't tell you is that Stevens hits much harder than Gorges and thus a more effective and feared hitter who can change the tide of the game by laying down someone with a bone crushing check. You would only know that by watching them play and not by looking at stats.

Now that's just a very basic and small exemple but it apply to other things as well. Intangibles would be part of those. That said advanced stats are not a bad things and should be used as well. However just using stats is not an effective way of analyzing the game. In other sports maybe but not in hockey

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08-29-2013, 07:25 PM
  #53
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Originally Posted by Roulin View Post
I am absolutely sure that knowing which players perform best in specific situations can be of great value to coaches, and that some metrics can add to that information. I have no idea how many and which coaches use what kind of statistics in their decision making (I doubt they would make that information public). I also have no idea which coaches rely heavily on watching video and consulting with scouts between games. I hope Therrien does more of all this, and does it well, rather than playing hunches.
Oh, THAT part you know they use. But you can be pretty sure that they don't look at an individual's GA on the PK as much as they keep track of how the team's PK% is doing with one group vs any combination they may have tried before. Someone might actually have a good GA/60 mins ice time, or whatever metric, but if we happen to know that his PK load was reduced over the course of the season and that the team's PK% actually increased, how much do we care how good his GA/60 mins looks in a spreadsheet?

Anyone watching, "even" without the aid of spreadsheets, might easily notice, and conclude that the player shouldn't necessarily be held in the same regard as other "top" penalty-killers around the league - no matter where a certain rate stat ranks him versus his peers. I imagine it would be really hard for someone armed only with end of year statistics in a spreadsheet, and possibly a few online game write-ups for reference, to make any other conclusion, though.

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08-29-2013, 07:38 PM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
Oh, THAT part you know they use. But you can be pretty sure that they don't look at an individual's GA on the PK as much as they keep track of how the team's PK% is doing with one group vs any combination they may have tried before. Someone might actually have a good GA/60 mins ice time, or whatever metric, but if we happen to know that his PK load was reduced over the course of the season and that the team's PK% actually increased, how much do we care how good his GA/60 mins looks in a spreadsheet?

Anyone watching, "even" without the aid of spreadsheets, might easily notice, and conclude that the player shouldn't necessarily be held in the same regard as other "top" penalty-killers around the league - no matter where a certain rate stat ranks him versus his peers. I imagine it would be really hard for someone armed only with end of year statistics in a spreadsheet, and possibly a few online game write-ups for reference, to make any other conclusion, though.
I'm skeptical about the value of either individual GA/60 or unit PK% over the course of a season, let alone a portion of a season - too small a sample size, more goaltending craziness than ES, I suspect that PP players have more impact on a kill than PK players, and I generally don't think the public stathead community knows enough about penalty killing yet (maybe some teams have made advances in that area).

If you are making the larger points that some stats are more useful than others, that looking at how combinations of players perform with and without each is useful, and that context matters, then I agree.

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08-29-2013, 07:48 PM
  #55
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your post is a perfect example of why watching games will always be better than looking at (micro) stats.
Hell must have temporarily frozen over because I am agreeing with ECW.

Gallagher may have had a good Corsi but he was completely neutralized by Ottawa. Two goals and zero assists in five games with -7.

Corsi says that he did well.

My eyes saw Gallagher struggle as he was being punished by the physical Senators players.

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08-29-2013, 07:51 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Andy View Post
Like the whole Shawn Thornton won the Bruins the cup argument? lol
Momentum does not exist in Corsi nor in NHL 13.

On the ice during a playoff series, momentum determines the winners and losers.

You do not understand it. You cannot measure it. Therefore, you dismiss it. A lot of people saw the momentum change in that series.

What did Corsi tell you?

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Old
08-29-2013, 07:56 PM
  #57
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When one uses the term "traditional" as opposed to "advanced", what else could be implied? We even know that advanced stats are a relatively new tool (especially compared to the "traditional" goals, assists, +/-, etc), so...

There are simple stats which still "usefully" separate players on at least some level; even just by themselves. You can compare 50 goal scorers to 20 goal scorers and make a range of conclusions based just on that. Same for 80 point players vs 40 point players. Guys with 200+ hits are almost always going to bring a physicality that you know you won't get from a guy who struggles to get over 50. Etc, etc. If a guy has a Corsi of -8.00 on the Panthers and another guy has a -4.00 on the Capitals, how useful is that information by itself? You can often take simple things like goals/points and more easily generalize over a larger group in differing environments. Heck, it's how the Art Ross winner is determined.

See, I think the basic "traditional" stats are in many ways better at distinguishing players by themselves (not that they're more reliable at separating a large variety of player/type), and that advanced stats only become useful the more you bundle together and try to form a bigger picture.
I'm not saying simple stats aren't useful, but advanced stats bring us more clarity and a greater understanding of simple stats.

For example, you might see two 20-goal scorers and traditional stats wouldn't show you a difference between them. But looking at advanced stats we might see that one of the players had really easy QoC and zone starts and he needs to be sheltered in order to reach the level of production that the other player did.

I also agree that advanced stats are better when looking at large trends as well. For instance, someone made the point of a game-changing hit that can't be quantified. That is true, but by looking at stats over a season we know that Fenwick Close would be a better judge of how good your team is as opposed to hits.

It also helps in distinguishing success that is sustainable or a fluke. PDO has predicted the collapse of a few teams like Minnesota and Toronto when fans who used their eyes swore that their teams were just awesome. Advanced stats is not the only tool we should use, but it is definitely very useful.

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08-29-2013, 08:09 PM
  #58
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I appreciate any tool that helps me understand and evaluate the game better and I really appreciate the people who commit a lot of unpaid time to developing these stats - it's awesome!

I'm surprised that these threads generally turn into arguments over what can be accurately measured when one doesn't watch the game. Who out there is proposing that you shouldn’t watch the game in order to evaluate it? The people who are developing advanced stats, I would think, do so because they enjoy watching hockey and want to understand it better. I don’t think their goal is to replace all qualitative analysis – isn’t it being done to enhance (or complement) more traditional ways of evaluating the game?

I think some of them definitely ‘help tell the story’ – and I thought that was the point – not to tell the ‘whole story’.

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08-29-2013, 08:14 PM
  #59
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That's doesn't necessarily mean that those two players are bad. Maybe the fill ins they called up were amazing players.


Not likely, though.
This means nothing, whether the players replacing were better or not. The pens have had a better record without crosby, the avs without sakic, the avs without forsberg and on and on. It was likely unsustainable though. Sometimes **** happens, even weird ****.

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08-30-2013, 10:13 AM
  #60
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Originally Posted by SouthernHab View Post
Momentum does not exist in Corsi nor in NHL 13.

On the ice during a playoff series, momentum determines the winners and losers.

You do not understand it. You cannot measure it. Therefore, you dismiss it. A lot of people saw the momentum change in that series.

What did Corsi tell you?
I call BS. Momentum is nothing more than a team's ability to exploit the weaknesses of their opponent. Those with little understanding of the finer nuances of the game call it momentum.

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08-30-2013, 10:17 AM
  #61
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I'll remind the stats lovers that it took computer programmers decades of work, among hundreds of talented and brilliant individuals, to develop software that could manage that game better than the most effective humans.

The statistical Gods of hockey are less intelligent than those computer programmers, less educated, less numerous, they have put in less effort, and they are analysing a more complex system with a greater number of mutually-interacting moving parts.

We should think of stats as a supplement (a good one!) to our understanding from watching the game, not as a replacement.
I would agree with that.

Sometimes I wonder if people on here think NHL coaches actually form an opinion on a players value/productivity by primarily using stats. It is simply a handy tool that is only useful when in the hands of a knowledgeable and competent analyst. I know too many people that allow metrics such as Corsi to establish their opinion about a player, it is absolute foolishness to do so.

Hockey is too much of a team sport with too much fluidity in the action to ever really create an accurate way of analyzing players through statistics. Those that try to do this are the ones who don't understand the game and can't comprehend what their eyes/brain are showing them. I have seen people completely change their opinion on a players performance after a game because they looked at the advanced stats.....the proper response should be to understand why reality is misrepresented by the statistics and not to take the stats as the be all and end all.

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08-30-2013, 10:37 AM
  #62
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I call BS. Momentum is nothing more than a team's ability to exploit the weaknesses of their opponent. Those with little understanding of the finer nuances of the game call it momentum.
That is not the truth either.

Momentum absolutely does not exist in the context that it is a tangible source from which players draw from. It is confidence that is almost always mistaken for momentum. Confident players simply play better because they are assertive in their actions and don't hesitate to pause or wallow in momentary self-doubt. The result is two fold as the more confident team is able to push the play towards the less confident team thus increasing "momentum" on one side while breaking down the confidence and decreasing "momentum" on the other side.

When the confidence pays off with positive results it only amplifies the "momentum" effect. It often takes a significant event on either side of the confidence scale to jar this effect into a more neutral position or even reverse the effect.

The irony of this situation is that momentum may not actually exist but it is the athletes belief in this phenomenon that actually results in the evidence that points to momentum and breathes life into this long standing myth. If a player truly believes that momentum is on their side then they will be even more assertive, even though there is no evidence to support the existence of any such force at play......it is almost as crazy as Inception when you really get into it.

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08-30-2013, 10:54 AM
  #63
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I call BS. Momentum is nothing more than a team's ability to exploit the weaknesses of their opponent. Those with little understanding of the finer nuances of the game call it momentum.
Only those who have never been close enough to the game to understand the finer nuances discredit the idea of 'momentum', how it feels/manifests, and how it impacts the flow/results of games.

When you're down by two mid-game, are able to make a defense/goalie crack under a bit of sustained pressure, and the guys on the bench beside you start shouting "One more, boys! Just one more!" there's a much different feeling/"force" giving you the impetus to get up and go than, say, when you're sitting on the bench down by 2 goals watching the last 20 seconds of a game wind off the clock, for example.

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08-30-2013, 11:05 AM
  #64
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
Only those who have never been close enough to the game to understand the finer nuances discredit the idea of 'momentum', how it feels/manifests, and how it impacts the flow/results of games.

When you're down by two mid-game, are able to make a defense/goalie crack under a bit of sustained pressure, and the guys on the bench beside you start shouting "One more, boys! Just one more!" there's a much different feeling/"force" giving you the impetus to get up and go than, say, when you're sitting on the bench down by 2 goals watching the last 20 seconds of a game wind off the clock, for example.
It is called confidence. Using the scientific method, there is zero evidence in favour of psychological momentum. To say that in the absence of proof that momentum does exist as the default position is a case of special pleading and is a logical fallacy.

At this point every tidbit of scientific evidence points to the fact that this type of momentum does not exist.....it is a myth derived from nonsense and perpetuated by ignorance. I am not calling you ignorant btw just referring to the general practice of ignoring facts in favour of fiction.

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08-30-2013, 11:07 AM
  #65
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Originally Posted by Estimated_Prophet View Post
That is not the truth either.

Momentum absolutely does not exist in the context that it is a tangible source from which players draw from. It is confidence that is almost always mistaken for momentum. Confident players simply play better because they are assertive in their actions and don't hesitate to pause or wallow in momentary self-doubt. The result is two fold as the more confident team is able to push the play towards the less confident team thus increasing "momentum" on one side while breaking down the confidence and decreasing "momentum" on the other side.

When the confidence pays off with positive results it only amplifies the "momentum" effect. It often takes a significant event on either side of the confidence scale to jar this effect into a more neutral position or even reverse the effect.

The irony of this situation is that momentum may not actually exist but it is the athletes belief in this phenomenon that actually results in the evidence that points to momentum and breathes life into this long standing myth. If a player truly believes that momentum is on their side then they will be even more assertive, even though there is no evidence to support the existence of any such force at play......it is almost as crazy as Inception when you really get into it.
I don't often agree with you, but these last two posts are bang on.

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08-30-2013, 11:10 AM
  #66
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I don't often agree with you, but these last two posts are bang on.
The start of something special

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08-30-2013, 11:18 AM
  #67
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Originally Posted by Estimated_Prophet View Post
That is not the truth either.

Momentum absolutely does not exist in the context that it is a tangible source from which players draw from. It is confidence that is almost always mistaken for momentum. Confident players simply play better because they are assertive in their actions and don't hesitate to pause or wallow in momentary self-doubt. The result is two fold as the more confident team is able to push the play towards the less confident team thus increasing "momentum" on one side while breaking down the confidence and decreasing "momentum" on the other side.

When the confidence pays off with positive results it only amplifies the "momentum" effect. It often takes a significant event on either side of the confidence scale to jar this effect into a more neutral position or even reverse the effect.

The irony of this situation is that momentum may not actually exist but it is the athletes belief in this phenomenon that actually results in the evidence that points to momentum and breathes life into this long standing myth. If a player truly believes that momentum is on their side then they will be even more assertive, even though there is no evidence to support the existence of any such force at play......it is almost as crazy as Inception when you really get into it.

Not to disparage all of the advanced stat-ers but I find myself regarding their position the same way that I regard the position of the anti-fighting zealots, who CONTINUALLY assert that fighting adds nothing to the game and could be disposed of in its entirety without fundamentally changing the nature of the game because it would more appropriately align with their own personal vision of the game.

The problem is that the players coaches GM's and pretty much everyone professionally associated with the game disagrees with them, yet they still cling to their extreme minority position and beleive it to be true. I find the advanced stats people are in the same camp, compile a bunch of facile metrics and then assert that this gives you some deep fundamental understanding of the game that is hidden from to the majority of fans ( who just use their eyes) or the coaches and GM's. I dont think that being good at excel makes you a hockey savant.

I think that if there is any value in these stats it might be at the end of the year to evaluate personnel moves but that's pretty much it and even then it likely will only serve as a tie breaker which is completely subserviant to the personal evaluation of players by the coach/coaching staff and GM. I think the likelyhood of these stats overiding the decisions of coaches in real time is essentially zero.

to the advanced stats advocates, are you suggesting that everything that happens on the ice can be appropriately quantified or are you suggesting that if it cant be measured then it cant be important ? Because I think on the first front there are GAPING holes. If the relative fitness of a player is different based on two different metrics, which one do you chose ? Do you integrate all metrics ( increasing the likelyhood that you incorporate metrics that at best confound the issue) or do you give differential weights to different assessments ? If so what is the basis for giving these different weightings ? Are these metrics contextual and if so who determines the context ?

On the second, this position would be in complete contradiction to the opinion of the overwhelming number of players and coaches and GM's who know that there are millions of little things, largely inperceptible to the data compilers that can absolutely change a teams fortunes on the ice.

I'm not against advanced stats, if that's your bag have at it.

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08-30-2013, 11:21 AM
  #68
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It is called confidence. Using the scientific method, there is zero evidence in favour of psychological momentum. To say that in the absence of proof that momentum does exist as the default position is a case of special pleading and is a logical fallacy.

At this point every tidbit of scientific evidence points to the fact that this type of momentum does not exist.....it is a myth derived from nonsense and perpetuated by ignorance. I am not calling you ignorant btw just referring to the general practice of ignoring facts in favour of fiction.
Sorry, but I'm not exactly interested in how science has failed to grasp the idea of momentum within the context of game flow in team sports (this coming from a Chem. major, Physics minor graduate, btw, who played just about every team sport under the sun growing up). After all, if a scientific model can't predict its manifestation or duration, or clearly identify a finite number of factors controlling it, then it must be a mystery, and can't possibly exist, right? Let's just say that I'm not surprised to find out that science can't explain why a specific set/order of events can give one group confidence against another, while the same set/order of events might not give a separate group equivalent "boost" against another opponent at another time in another place. You simply can't predict how different groups of humans will collectively react to the same chain of events, but the cumulative result in some cases can certainly be referred to as a "momentum change", imo.

Referring to it as confidence instead doesn't change the fact that it's an observable phenomenon that, because of a "peculiar" chain of events, the ice seems to become "tilted" temporarily in favour of one team. What they do with it or whether they can capitalize on it is another thing. But any athlete who has sat on the bench and felt this is more than comfortable referring to it as "momentum", whatever the clinical psychologists claim is "right" according to their laboratory studies and success/failure at coming up with labels that fit within their models.


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08-30-2013, 11:33 AM
  #69
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Sorry, but I'm not exactly interested in how science has failed to grasp the idea of momentum within the context of game flow in team sports. After all, if a scientific model can't predict its manifestation or duration, or clearly identify a finite number of factors controlling it, then it must be a mystery, and can't possibly exist, right? Let's just say that I'm not surprised to find out that science can't explain why a specific set/order of events can give one group confidence against another, while the same set/order of events might not give a separate group equivalent "boost" against another opponent at another time in another place. You simply can't predict how different groups of humans will collectively react to the same chain of events, but the cumulative result in some cases can certainly be referred to as a "momentum change", imo.

Referring to it as confidence instead doesn't change the fact that it's an observable phenomenon that, because of a "peculiar" chain of events, the ice seems to become "tilted" temporarily in favour of one team. What they do with it or whether they can capitalize on it is another thing. But any athlete who has sat on the bench and felt this is more than comfortable referring to it as "momentum", whatever the clinical psychologists claim is "right" according to their laboratory studies and success/failure at coming up with labels that fit within their models.
Like I said before, you are using special pleading.

There isn't a mystery to be found. This myth is easily explained as I have just shown. I f you want to call it "momentum" go ahead......you could also call it the "flying spaghetti monster effect" if you so please but it won't change the fact the this phenomenon is the result of the combination of inflated and deflated confidence.

Do you actually believe that there is an unexplainable force that creates a disparity in play between two opposing teams, for multiple games at a time in some cases??

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08-30-2013, 11:38 AM
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Not to disparage all of the advanced stat-ers but I find myself regarding their position the same way that I regard the position of the anti-fighting zealots, who CONTINUALLY assert that fighting adds nothing to the game and could be disposed of in its entirety without fundamentally changing the nature of the game because it would more appropriately align with their own personal vision of the game.

The problem is that the players coaches GM's and pretty much everyone professionally associated with the game disagrees with them, yet they still cling to their extreme minority position and beleive it to be true. I find the advanced stats people are in the same camp, compile a bunch of facile metrics and then assert that this gives you some deep fundamental understanding of the game that is hidden from to the majority of fans ( who just use their eyes) or the coaches and GM's. I dont think that being good at excel makes you a hockey savant.

I think that if there is any value in these stats it might be at the end of the year to evaluate personnel moves but that's pretty much it and even then it likely will only serve as a tie breaker which is completely subserviant to the personal evaluation of players by the coach/coaching staff and GM. I think the likelyhood of these stats overiding the decisions of coaches in real time is essentially zero.

to the advanced stats advocates, are you suggesting that everything that happens on the ice can be appropriately quantified or are you suggesting that if it cant be measured then it cant be important ? Because I think on the first front there are GAPING holes. If the relative fitness of a player is different based on two different metrics, which one do you chose ? Do you integrate all metrics ( increasing the likelyhood that you incorporate metrics that at best confound the issue) or do you give differential weights to different assessments ? If so what is the basis for giving these different weightings ? Are these metrics contextual and if so who determines the context ?

On the second, this position would be in complete contradiction to the opinion of the overwhelming number of players and coaches and GM's who know that there are millions of little things, largely inperceptible to the data compilers that can absolutely change a teams fortunes on the ice.

I'm not against advanced stats, if that's your bag have at it.
I don't think this reply was meant for me.......

I would say that we are almost completely in agreement.

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08-30-2013, 11:50 AM
  #71
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Originally Posted by Estimated_Prophet View Post
That is not the truth either.

Momentum absolutely does not exist in the context that it is a tangible source from which players draw from. It is confidence that is almost always mistaken for momentum. Confident players simply play better because they are assertive in their actions and don't hesitate to pause or wallow in momentary self-doubt. The result is two fold as the more confident team is able to push the play towards the less confident team thus increasing "momentum" on one side while breaking down the confidence and decreasing "momentum" on the other side.

When the confidence pays off with positive results it only amplifies the "momentum" effect. It often takes a significant event on either side of the confidence scale to jar this effect into a more neutral position or even reverse the effect.

The irony of this situation is that momentum may not actually exist but it is the athletes belief in this phenomenon that actually results in the evidence that points to momentum and breathes life into this long standing myth. If a player truly believes that momentum is on their side then they will be even more assertive, even though there is no evidence to support the existence of any such force at play......it is almost as crazy as Inception when you really get into it.
Well written.

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08-30-2013, 11:53 AM
  #72
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Originally Posted by Estimated_Prophet View Post
Like I said before, you are using special pleading.

There isn't a mystery to be found. This myth is easily explained as I have just shown. I f you want to call it "momentum" go ahead......you could also call it the "flying spaghetti monster effect" if you so please but it won't change the fact the this phenomenon is the result of the combination of inflated and deflated confidence.

Do you actually believe that there is an unexplainable force that creates a disparity in play between two opposing teams, for multiple games at a time in some cases??
No, I know that at a certain point, a collection of individual "boosts in confidence" can manifest itself in a "momentum change" that causes the flow of the game to be observably different from what it was before the "peculiar set of events" that I refer to earlier. Furthermore, there's no predicting whether the "confidence boost" of one player will be enough to impact the flow of the game, or whether it takes multiple players experiencing the same thing creating a "synergy" that results in a feeling that tilting the ice in their favour "all of a sudden" starts coming easier than had been the case earlier in the game (i.e. "favourable" momentum).

But to nip this in the bud, you might as well start discrediting the notion of team/line "chemistry", since there's no value or predicting the very real impact IT has on the outcomes of games or sequences of events, either. "Science" can poo poo on either of these ideas all they want. Everyone in the game knows they're real, regardless of how comfortable nerds outside the game are with the labels they feel forced to use by laymen.

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08-30-2013, 11:56 AM
  #73
sandysan
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I don't think this reply was meant for me.......

I would say that we are almost completely in agreement.
Yeah, sorry man. my bad.

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08-30-2013, 12:00 PM
  #74
Estimated_Prophet
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
No, I know that at a certain point, a collection of individual "boosts in confidence" can manifest itself in a "momentum change" that causes the flow of the game to be observably different from what it was before the "peculiar set of events" that I refer to earlier. Furthermore, there's no predicting whether the "confidence boost" of one player will be enough to impact the flow of the game, or whether it takes multiple players experiencing the same thing creating a "synergy" that results in a feeling that tilting the ice in their favour "all of a sudden" starts coming easier than had been the case earlier in the game (i.e. "favourable" momentum).

But to nip this in the bud, you might as well start discrediting the notion of team/line "chemistry", since there's no value or predicting the very real impact IT has on the outcomes of games or sequences of events, either. "Science" can poo poo on either of these ideas all they want. Everyone in the game knows they're real, regardless of how comfortable nerds outside the game are with the labels they feel forced to use by laymen.
You clearly don't understand what I am trying to say and I don't have the energy to bother trying to further explain myself. You are drawing irrational parallels that are leading to even more irrational conclusions.

I do suspect that we are closer in beliefs than our correspondence would indicate but semantics has reared it's ugly head in this thread and has resulted in some potential miscommunication.....let's just leave it at that

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08-30-2013, 12:08 PM
  #75
impudent_lowlife
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
Only those who have never been close enough to the game to understand the finer nuances discredit the idea of 'momentum', how it feels/manifests, and how it impacts the flow/results of games.
Really? I've played enough to know that any "momentum" shift is due to coaching strategy or opposition over-confidence (sitting back on a lead) or luck. Usually a combination.

But if you want to believe that momentum is some sort of metaphysical ubiquitous force that teams can collectively tap at will like some sort of mass epiphany...

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