Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 Australian Open, Sport Psychology & Focus

In our book, "Who Will Win the Big Game?" we study concepts of sport psychology and try to back up these ideas with statistics. For tennis, we developed an interesting statistic that attempts to study a tennis player's focus and performance on "big points." While it is difficult to isolate specific factors in sporting events, one of our project's goals is to move forward in this direction: to measure these "elusive intangibles."

How is this measure performing during this year's Aussie Open? Starting in the fourth round of the tournament, we used our "Big Point Performance" (BPP) to predict how players might perform in the next round of the tournament. So far, this indicator has been 6-3 in men's and women's matches, starting in the quarterfinals.

The indicator correctly predicted some of these upsets:
  • N. Li over Venus Williams
  • Cilic over Roddick
  • Murray over Nadal
Some upcoming match predictions:
  • Murray over Cilic
  • Federer over Tsonga
  • Henin over S. Williams
We'll continue to track this indicator (build our database for BPP) as well as other statistics that help improve athletic performance and development.