In the world of elite sport, the tiniest of margins in performance can have the wildest applications for the score of an individual match, and even the course of a team's entire season.
That's why teams and their analysts, as well as the players, look for every possible avenue to increase performance, whether this is through making player diets healthier, employing new tactics on the training pitch, or changing matchday personnel to bring different qualities into the team's play.
Making informed decisions in professional sport is an essential part of the job description, with titles won and lost against the backdrop of poor decision making, either on a squad level or an institutional level at every level of a club's hierarchy.
Sporting teams and their respective enterprises are worth hundreds of billions of dollars collectively, with lucrative marketing opportunities for businesses who sponsor world-famous teams, as well as astronomical television deals that give the clubs considerable financial resources.
It's no surprise then that significant investment has gone into sports data science, with clubs looking to extract every bit of value from their players by analyzing endless amounts of data and applying that to strategy and decision-making.
Read on to find out more about the applications of data science in elite sports, and how these data analytics processes help teams to achieve their success.
Maintaining player fitness
An essential aspect of consistent and effective sporting performance is maintaining player fitness. When a team loses one of their important players to injury, it can derail their season, causing them to lose games and struggle to replace the lost value.
This is why data science is of such immense value to a club's backroom staff, as it can be used to make extremely precise and informed decisions on the training regime of players, allowing them to recover as quickly and safely as possible while keeping a balance by engaging in appropriate exercises.
With backroom staff completing data analytics training, and employing fitness monitor technology such as smart vests, highly specialized and flexible training plans can be completed to optimize players to their fullest.
Creating effective strategies
Data science plays a crucial role in the creation of effective team strategies.
While the data collected from individual players is undoubtedly essential to the management of the team, collective data analysis of the team can provide critical insights into what the team is doing well, and what needs improving.
This can also be applied to the opposition, where effective analysis of their players and strategies can prove to be vital in gaining an edge when on the pitch.
Less to do with athlete performance and more to do with the general running of a club, data science can be extremely useful in creating effective ticket pricing that strikes the balance between profitability and being value for money for the fans.
For example, teams can analyze how the team's performance has correlated with attendance, and make adjustments accordingly to ensure fans are still incentivized to come out and support their teams in person.