sports analytics 101: metric framework examples

Sports Analytics 101 is a series of blog posts outlining the core concepts behind sports analytics in non-technical terms. You can find all available installments in the series here.

Over the previous six posts, I introduced a “The Metric Framework,” a framework for thinking about an individual sports analytics metric. Here, I’m going to apply the framework to a few simple, widely-used (and not-all-that-advanced) metrics. If you haven’t yet read the previous posts outlining the framework, I’d suggest starting there before reading on.

We’ll start with Total Goals in soccer, considering it first as a metric to quantify how many goals were scored by a player and next as a metric to quantify the inherent offensive talent of a player.

Now onto an ever-so-slightly more advanced metric: field goal percentage in football. It’s calculated as:

Field Goal % = Made Field Goals / Total Field Goal Attempts

We’ll break it down as used to quantify a kicker’s inherent kicking skill.

Finally let’s look at a metric commonly cited in basketball media: a player’s number of triple-doubles. A player achieves a triple-double if they get ten or more of three of the following stats in a game: points, assists, blocks, steals, or rebounds. For example, a player with 22 points, 10 assists, and 11 rebounds in a game would have a triple-double.

We’ll break down a player’s Total Triple Doubles over a season as used to quantify a player’s inherent basketball skill.