Stats Perform is pleased to announce that it is now accepting proposals to present at the 2022 Pro Forum, which will be returning to in-person hosting in central London on Wednesday 23rd March.
As a result of restrictions arising from Covid-19, the 2021 Forum was forced to take place online. However the ongoing popularity of the event was reflected by the fact that delegates from over 150 professional teams, federations and leagues all tuned into the event’s livestream to learn about new and innovative approaches of using event and tracking data to inform decision-making relating to performance analysis and recruitment.
2022 will see the ninth staging of the Forum and bring together industry practitioners working across elite professional football. As well as welcoming 300 people in London, invited delegates unable to attend due to travel restrictions or other commitments will also be able to access the event remotely via an exclusive online portal, where they will be able to watch each presentation live and interact with presenters via a digital Q&A.
Expanding the Number of Research Questions
For delegates working with clubs, the Pro Forum provides a rare opportunity to move away from the day-to-day, and learn from and connect with some of the some of the sharpest, most innovative analytical thinkers currently working in different industries, academia and within the wider analytics community.
At Stats Perform, one of our major goals is ensuring that each Forum presentation addresses a key challenge, relating to either recruitment and performance analysis, which is relevant to not only supporting a current working process, but crucially, can be applied across a broad range of clubs, of varying size and infrastructure.
These challenges are reflected in the research questions that have been put forward by leading practitioners working at two professional clubs: AS Monaco’s Head of Sporting Technology and Insights Tyler Heaps, and Luton Town’s Head of Recruitment Analysis Jay Socik. These make up two of the Forum’s five proposal categories.
This year also sees the introduction of a new category, comprising a tracking-led question posed by Stats Perform’s Chief Scientist and competition judge Patrick Lucey.
Tyler, Jay and Stats Perform’s AI team will also support the presenters on their respective topics, using their expertise and detailed knowledge to add a further layer of depth to the presentations. Those who have a proposal accepted in the open categories will also work closely with a club analyst, who will act as a ‘mentor’ to support with any key questions during the process.
Submissions that cover any of the below will be considered:
– Open submission: event data
– Open submission: event and tracking data
– AS Monaco-led proposal:
Identifying and evaluating the efficiency of runs made by a team’s players, to distinguish proactive running from reactive running.
Distance covered metrics are frequently cited to measure a team’s collective work rate, but how can we measure the effectiveness of the runs made by a team’s players, in and out of possession? Using tracking and event data, what variables, combinations or new KPIs can be applied to distinguish proactive running, such as runs to create space when a team is in possession, or runs to press or close down passing lanes out of possession; from reactive or inefficient running?
Proposals should outline the key characteristics of efficient and inefficient running, as well as provide a methodology for how comparing individual player and collective team running performance can be utilised to inform a performance analysis process.
– Luton Town-led proposal:
Strategies to assist the identification and evaluation of centre backs, who can consistently limit goal threat in defensive situations, using only event data.
This project should focus on building recruitment strategies that highlight centre backs who, through either defensive actions or decision making, consistently limit attacking goal threat.
Analysis should include detail on how to quantify a centre back’s defensive contribution to limiting goal threat, as well as which variables, combinations or new KPIs can be applied to define the involvement and impact of a centre back in defensive situations.
– Stats Perform-led Proposal
Early Event Detection: Predicting Counter-Attacks Before They Occur
This project should focus on the methodology, development and creation of a method of predicting the start of a counter-attack 1 second, 2 seconds and 3 seconds before it occurs. Specific focus should be on creating interpretable features which can alert/trigger a high likelihood of a counter-attack.
Submissions should outline the criteria set for first detecting a counter-attack, as well as including applied examples of how it can enhance an existing operational process relating to either opposition analysis or recruitment.
As well as selecting the strongest proposal in each category, Stats Perform will also recognise the standout submission from an undergraduate, who will receive the Dr. Garry Gelade award, which was launched in memory of one of our industry’s leading pioneers in applied data analytics, who sadly passed away last year.
Request a Tracking Sample to Enhance Your Proposal
For the second year in succession Stats Perform has partnered with LFP – the French Football League, who will be making a full season of anonymised tracking data from the Ligue 1 Uber Eats competition available for each successful applicant in tracking-related categories.
As well as allowing the successful candidates to work with a large volume of tracking data, utilising Stats Perform’s most advanced optical tracking files captured from the SportVU system, we are also delighted to announce that for the duration the submission period, candidates will also have the opportunity to request a ten game sample of tracking files to assist with the composition of their proposals.
This marks the first time in the history of the Forum that tracking data has been made available to support proposal applications and will help the winning candidates familiarise themselves with the structure of the files they will use on their final projects.
Alongside tracking, an event-only data sample is also available on request. To access either sample, please email email@example.com with ‘Pro Forum 2022 data request’ as the subject.
As well as indicating the data sample you require, the email body should include a very brief introduction to your idea or proposal.
The Judging Process
All initial proposals received will be anonymised and reviewed by five judges, assessed against the following criteria:
Innovation: Is the idea new? Has it been seen or tried before? Has it even been thought about or discussed before?
Relevance: How useful is this research to professional teams? Does it answer the ‘so what?’ question?
Application: How can this research be applied by a club? This may relate to recruitment processes, tactical analysis, player development pathways or additional areas
With an extensive background in football analytics, the Pro Forum judges are:
Laurie Shaw, Lead AI Scientist, City Football Group
Devin Pleuler, Director, Analytics, Toronto FC
Thomas Seidl, Lead Data Scientist, VfB Stuttgart
George Syrianos, Nottingham Forest FC
Patrick Lucey, Chief Scientist, Stats Perform
What to Include In Your Proposal?
Proposals should focus on answering a specific question, sharing insight on the approach taken and how this research can be applied within the professional environment and crucially, how it can help teams win.
Previous presentations have covered topics such as quantifying the performance of a player’s defensive contributions, crediting players for creating space, evaluating the efficiency of each player in a team’s press, showcasing optimal strategies for creating opportunities from throw-ins and the innovative application of deep learning processes to identify recurring match scenarios from tracking data across a season.
Proposals should include the information below, be a maximum of two pages and sent in a Word document. Images, videos and external links can be included along with any other relevant information.
– Contact information
– Are you submitting on behalf of a commercial organisation (yes/no)
– Submission category
– Title of project
– Research question
– Objective of this research
– Rationale for chosen topic
– Your approach to answering this question
– The applications of this research within a professional football environment and how this work will help teams win
Please submit proposals via our Pro Forum event microsite by clicking on the ‘Submit Your Proposal’ button.
The deadline for submissions is Monday 29th November.
Need Further Information?
For more information on the 2022 Pro Forum, including examples of previous presentations at the event, please visit our event site or alternatively, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.