This is not about a relief pitcher resting horizontally on a comfy couch as he spills his deepest darkest secrets to a furrowed, bearded psychologist, nor is this about prescribing medication to a team’s severely depressed kicker who just missed the game-winner. We’re talking about sports psychology, but not the kind of stereotypical psychology you’re used to. Instead, we’re talking about psychometrics– how to measure the ways that a player’s psyche (thoughts, feelings, opinions) relates to the most important thing imaginable for sport teams: performance.
Seeing is believing
Counting the yards that a running back gains after contact or the runs prevented by pitching independent of defense are advanced numerical methods of breaking down a player’s performance. Most of the traditional analytics work the same way; a player’s previous performance is charted, observed, and dissected to make a projection about how that player will perform in the future. A team’s forecasted performance is usually the sum of the individual players’ projected performances. This is (generally) the state of analytics in a nutshell.