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Oh what a comeback game that was yesterday! Great cheers for the Boomer; great bottom of the ninth (!), two out comeback; and then the exciting finish in the 12th. It's a thrill to tune in whenever

I love Jeter's leather this time of year.

I have heard Yankees fans, conscious of the team's pitching deficiencies, say that the Cardinals will go all the way this year.

Cstuart - to become a high level athlete you pass through numerous high stress situations. Playoffs, tryouts, etc. much of the time, those situations are as stressful as anything.

 

Whatever the explanation, there's simply no data that identifies the effect you're talking about.

 

Eta: the entire process of moving from a non-elite to an elite athlete is the process of moving through increasingly high pressure and high stakes environments.

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Choking happens. I've discussed choking exactly as the nyt talks about numerous times here. There are two issues:

 

1. It's rare at top levels and hard to identify through statistics.

 

2. Choking is not operating w/in a margin of error. Knoblach's choke looks very different from arod's "choke".

 

Eta: Mitchells read thee article. A big point is that you train away the choke. To make the PGA, you basically have to do that (which is why the more experienced LPGA players were calmer. Also ab's surgeon point.) this is why high level athletes drill all the time.

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AB and Adrian, don't you believe that players handle pressure situations differently? Is hiring sports psychologists a waste of time and money?

Lets go back to your golf data set from earlier. It's an interesting paper and I admit to not knowing shit about golf and generally think plowing under most courses and turning them into nature preserves is a good first step.

 

So basically those guys collected data going back to 1983 that showed that on average guys shot .4 strokes worse on Sunday than on the rest of the week. But more importantly the entire tour over that time can be described by a range of a bit more than a shot and that 2/3rds of the tour was .2 to .6. That impact is almost always going to be overwhelmed by almost anything else. I mean a shot separates the most clutch from the least clutch? Is that congruent with you narrative?

 

 

The other interesting thing is that there are several studies that attempt to see if players out or underperformance persists across seasons - and they've all been inconclusive - which means they don't. .

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Have you ever seen those articles about how we're not experiencing global warming because it was below the seasonal average yesterday?

Funny you say this but when someone has a less than stellar meal at an esteemed restaurant we almost automatically assume it's going downhill. Why no cry for data?

 

Data and sports is a funny thing. You can look at QB ratings, BA's, all sorts of indexes, time players, etc. But they are poor substitutes for true understanding of how the games are played and the players who play them.

 

I'm a NY Giant fan and have season tickets. We watch every game, go to training camp, etc. When they are on the road and we listen the announcers rave about this player or that based on statistics, or talk bad about another player based on some others, we laugh because the announcers have no context for the statistics they spout. They clearly have not watched the games. And I think that is happening with this whole thread.

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Last post and I'm done. Anyone see the Ranger game last night? They won game 7 2-1 over the Flyers. The Flyers goalie, Steve Mason, had a save % of .939 vs Lundquist's .963. Lundquist played well but the goal he did give up was a bit weak. I'm sure there will be some announcer or fan who will spout how great Lundquist was in Game 7 while never even mentioning Mason. If you watched the game, you'd know that if Mason didn't play as well as he did, the Rangers would have won 5 or 6 - 0. He was incredible. But you'd only know that if you watched the game and didn't refer to the stat sheet the next day.

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He can hit!

 

If we were professional reviewers, we'd be obligated to get more data. Our budget precludes us from getting a significant sample at EMP (though we still get 20 courses).

 

Choking is a very specific phenomenon. We can think of specific cases - Knoblach, Patrick Chan (maybe), Asafa Powell (maybe), Sergio Garcia (maybe, though I'm really not sure). It happens and it's rare. What it's not is minor deviations from a central mean that follow a normal distribution and are entirely predicted by a Bayesian analysis.

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Last post and I'm done. Anyone see the Ranger game last night? They won game 7 2-1 over the Flyers. The Flyers goalie, Steve Mason, had a save % of .939 vs Lundquist's .963. Lundquist played well but the goal he did give up was a bit weak. I'm sure there will be some announcer or fan who will spout how great Lundquist was in Game 7 while never even mentioning Mason. If you watched the game, you'd know that if Mason didn't play as well as he did, the Rangers would have won 5 or 6 - 0. He was incredible. But you'd only know that if you watched the game and didn't refer to the stat sheet the next day.

 

Sure. Guys can have a great game. I've played high level sports, I've had great and poor games. But those games take place within a range and you can't really predict when those games are going to come, one way or the other. It's not "choke" or "clutch".

 

Think about the Canadian National Hockey Team in the Olympics. Incredibly unlucky. They dominated their competition by every measure (Corsi was like 65% or something) and had difficulty scoring despite most of their shots coming from a high percentage area. If you watched the games, the dominance was remarkable. There were reasons for they had trouble scoring - strategy by opponents was one, "hot" goaltending was another, maybe the goalies got "up" for the games. But it's hard to show that statistically. The best we can guess is that if the tournament went on a few more weeks, Canada would mean regress and score more. Similarly, the Toronto Maple Leafs - the bottom of the league in the stats most correlated with winning - eventually mean regressed over the course of the season. They weren't clutch, the stats weren't leading us astray, they were a lucky team and luck caught up with them

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Answer one question: down 1, 10 seconds in the 4th quarter of game 7, who do you want with the ball? Strictly by data?

 

I want the highest percentage shot, given all the circumstances. I'm worried more about that than a "choke". And I don't think that, if I could repeat this over and over, one person is going to predictably outperform their personal mean in this situation. You want to generate the best possible shot. How many games have you watched where teams force a shot to their best player as opposed to playing for the best shot. Do you think that's the best strategy?

 

If Vince Carter is your best player, and you're playing the Sixers in 200, if the three is your best shot, and he misses, I'm not going to claim he "choked".

If Vince Carter isn't your best player, and you're playing the Spurs in 2014, if the three is your best shot, and he makes it, I'm not going to say he discovered his "clutch".

 

Is there some chance that Carter is systematically a "clutch" player or a "choker"? Sure. Can I look at reams of data, massive amount of analysis, and point to anything that confirms that feeling? No I can't.

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Ok, forget "choke", "clutch" or any word.

 

Down 1, 10 seconds left, game 7 in the Finals. Any player in history at the top of the key with the ball. Who do you want?

 

(it better be the wing/guard with the highest shooting % ever or you're shooting yourself in the foot)

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