Are We Using Stats Correctly? image
Posted on February 15th 2019 by Richard Hicks

Are We Using Stats Correctly?

As we have no Six Nations this week I thought I'd take a look back at the stats from the England v Ireland game! As you'll see below, pure stats can be misleading. From a comparison of these you would say that the dominant technical side was Ireland with superiority in all skilful activities! However, as we know England scored 4 tries and tactically outplayed Ireland, so are these stats of any value in developing coaching practices?

Passes Runs Metres Made Defenders Beaten Offloads Tackles Made Tackles Missed
Ireland 194 156 299 26 4 102 26
England 108 106 263 13 5 160 13

The one stand out stat that England had dominated was in the breakdown! Ireland conceded 14 breakdown turnovers compared to England’s 5!

Are we using stats properly post-game? Should we be focussing more on decision making and how our team reacts to certain scenarios?

Video: Coaching Decision Making At The Breakdown

What we need to do as coaches is have a system in place that allows us to assess how skills are used in various contexts. This should especially focus on how the team plays from scrums, lineouts, restarts, from rucks etc. It is then far easier to assess the team's decision making!

Create your own tool for assessing how you make decisions basing it on the skills you have and how you use them. Keeping it simple helps you understand how you can then coach development and work on the lacking components!

For Example:

Context Go Forwards With Support Continuity (Rk/Ml/Offld) Apply Pressure (yes/no)
Play from Scrums - - - -
Play from Lineouts - - - -
From Restarts - - - -
Counter Attacking - - - -

In the next 6N game or in your own game use this table to focus not on what your skill sets are but how they are used in tactical situations. You'll easily see how you can develop certain areas of your tactical game!

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