Thursday, May 22, 2008

Repetetive Error

I was watching a basketball game last night. It occured to me that the bulk of the game rested on error. In fact, it is possible that the winners, whoever they were, actually made more errors than their opponents. If you are able to make more shots per minute, you are able to make more errors per minute, but you are also able to make enough shots to win.

The most dominant players seemed to make as many (or more) errors as anyone else, but they were back almost immediately to try again. I'm not trying to take away from their skill, I'm sure they are likely more accurate than those less able to get the ball. It was clear, however, that their ability to recover from their previous failures and try again with little or no analysis was the primary driver for their scoring ability.

This is probably one of the reasons I don't like sports very much. If I do make a mistake, I want to know how to avoid it in the future. Unfortunately, there are those mistakes that one simply can't avoid, being west of Eden and all. But I can avoid sports, especially since there seems to be a limit to how accurate one can train to be, and thinking about the task (like making a basket) appears to make accuracy worse.

I wonder if one can develop predictions based on the rates of error in sports. It would be quite tedious to catalog every attempt to make a shot and then calculate the rate of error, but perhaps it would be more predictive than more traditional variables. I suppose the rate of error with other tasks, like passing the ball, may figure into the process too. Again, a bit tedious, especially since the researcher would have to guess intent in some cases.

No comments: