Friday, January 16, 2015

Antti Harju tells about future of sport statistics in Orienteering

Antti Harju is one of the key person in Kalevan Rasti (coach of men team) and in the Finnish team (National coach).

Antti! You know that in game sports decisions about new contracts with athletes are primary based on the games statistics. E.g., in basketball key statistics is points (from different shooting positions or game situations), rebounds, assists, etc. In baseball/softball players estimation is based on batting, baserunning, pitching, fielding statistics. Different statistical indicators and indexes help to calculate overall game efficiency of particular player.

Actually using of sport statistics is the main way to evaluate skills of player and make estimations of his value and potential role in the team (or usefulness for some particular game situations).

Actually there is no transfer market in Orienteering and decision about new runners are based on some mix of intuition, experience and other runners opinions.

If I ask you: who is the best night relay runner, then probably you will say me about Olle Bostroem, Alexandr Kratov, or Philippe Adamski. Some other sport managers/coaches will create another list, but I am pretty sure that there is no certain ranking of best night leg runners; most stable international relay runners; top first leg runners; technically or physically strongest runners, etc. All what we have are just expert opinions and simple results analysis.

1) What is your opinion about current situation with statistics arrangement in Orienteering?
2) What kind of indicators, statistical aggregates/indexes, profile characteristics can we use in Orienteering (to make better information content in our sport and particularly help in sport management)?
3) I am pretty skeptical about IOF efforts in this direction. I am interested to start crowd-funding initiative for creating of new statistical/performance analysis tools in Orienteering (I am thinking about Jan Kocbach like a main specialists) . What do you think about perspectives of such initiative?

"1) Personally, I´m quite interested in statistics, for example all-time results in WOC and Jukola. At the moment, internationally we are lacking a good statistics site, Worldofo / runners is good but you can´t find all info from there and it´s not updated regularly. In Finland we have quite a nice result statistics site: , mostly based in national champs result statistics but you can also find  for example all-time WOC medal statistics from the site:

2) In statistics of Orienteering we could try to go behind the results and try to find the factors which are measurable and this way it´s possible to make statistics of individuals skills and performances. In orienteering competitions we already have splits from each leg, which is a good tool for making analyses and statistics. For example in Finland we have quite a good performance analysis program for orienteering, and I think with small adjustments this kind of program could be a base for skills-statistics in our sports:  It would also be interesting to see some kind of statistics of relay performances, for example runners night-o skills and other relay abilities.

3) I think it´s a really good idea you have, and I wish you luck with the project.  For IOF it may not be the first thing in the long to-do list purposed to push our sport forward, but if you ask me, Worldofo might be the site for statistics. Jan Kocbach has already shown how well he masters “the work behind the scenes”."

P.S. Photo is from - Antti Harju got a prize like Coach of the Year in Finnish Orienteering (2012)


Your opinion is important to set up priorities! Please, mark one or more points from list:
- Relay performance/skills
- Complete/detailed results overview, including historical statistics/ranking
- Statistics of different legs types 
- Pacing/speed analysis
- Safety/mistakes analysis 

Explanations and comments of these points you can read in the post Leonid Novikov tells about future of sport statistics in Orienteering.

Click button "ГОЛОСОВАТЬ" to VOTE.

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