10 Must Read Sports Analysis Books

By Duncan Ritchie

24-March-2020 on News

8 minute read

Today we present to you a selection of books related to the field of analytics and coaching which we think might be of interest to our users.


There are some old favourites, with battered spines and turned down corners, which you might have already read, alongside some hidden gems that might just pique your interest.


So, without further ado, let’s continue!

1. Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won

by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim


In Scorecasting, University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost.



2. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

by Michael Lewis


Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.



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3. Astroball: The New Way to Win It All

by Ben Reiter


When Sports Illustrated declared on the cover of a June 2014 issue that the Houston Astros would win the World Series in 2017, people thought Ben Reiter, the article's author, was crazy. The Astros were the worst baseball team in half a century, but they were more than just bad. They were an embarrassment, a club that didn't even appear to be trying to win. The cover story, combined with the specificity of Reiter's claim, met instant and nearly universal derision. But three years later, the critics were proved improbably, astonishingly wrong. How had Reiter predicted it so accurately? And, more important, how had the Astros pulled off the impossible?Top of Form



4. Sports Performance Measurement and Analytics: The Science of Assessing Performance, Predicting Future Outcomes, Interpreting Statistical Models, and Evaluating the Market Value of Athletes

by Lorena Martin


This is the first real-world guide to building and using analytical models for measuring and assessing performance in the five major sports: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis. Unlike books that focus strictly on theory, this book brings together sports measurement and statistical analyses, demonstrating how to examine differences across sports as well as between player positions. This book will provide you with the tools for cutting-edge approaches you can extend to the sport of your choice.



5. Soccermatics: Mathematical Adventures in the Beautiful Game

by David Sumpter


Football – the most mathematical of sports. From shot statistics and league tables to the geometry of passing and managerial strategy, the modern game is filled with numbers, patterns and shapes. How do we make sense of them? The answer lies in the mathematical models applied in biology, physics and economics.

Soccermatics brings football and mathematics together in a mind-bending synthesis, using numbers to help reveal the inner workings of the beautiful game.



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6. Soccernomics

by Simon Kuper


“Why do England lose?”

“Why do Germany & Brazil Win?”

“How have Spain conquered the World?”

"Penalties - what are they good for?"

“What is the price on achieving success and the true cost of failure?”


These are questions every football fan has asked. Soccernomics (previously published as Why England Lose) answers them. Written with an economist's brain and a football writer's skill, it applies high-powered analytical tools to everyday football topics.



7. Hockey Analytics: A Game-Changing Perspective

by Stephen Shea (Author), Christopher Baker (Author), Craig Custance (Foreword)


A fraction of a second can be the difference between a one-timer finding the back of the net and a blocked shot that starts transition the other way. In the fast and fluid game of hockey, time and space drive success.

But hockey analytics hasn't appreciated these two most important factors. It hasn't respected the complexity of the game...until now.



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8. Sports Illustrated Blood, Sweat and Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today's Game

by Tim Layden


The modern game of football is filled with plays and formations with names like the Counter Trey, the Wildcat, the Zone Blitz and the Cover Two. They have become part of the sport's vernacular, and yet for many fans they remain just names, often confusing ones. To rectify that, Tim Layden has drilled deep into the core of the game to reveal not only how these chalkboard X's and O's really work on the field, but also where they came from and who dreamed them up.



9. Break the Line: Analysis & Method in Attacking Rugby

by Rick Ferrara


This is a comprehensive book of tactics for attacking in either the fifteens or sevens format of rugby union, dedicated in its entirety to the tricks and tips needed to defeat defenses in open-field play while keeping the ball in hand. With a new take on rugby diagramming, the author breaks down each rugby movement and its important steps, using color diagrams that clearly show the reader how to win each type of encounter. By being so ultra-focused, Break the Line is a guide for players of all skill levels who wish to gain some advantage in understanding what makes for sharp, efficient, and winning offense. From Simple to Complex Open-Field Tactics & Methods; Notes and Tricks to Winning Situations; “Spoilers” that Ruin Offensive Attacks; Tips for Applying Open-Field Tactics and Philosophy to Structured Play; Strategies for Reading Defenses and Establishing Field Vision.



10. Coaching Better Every Season: A Year-Round System for Athlete Development and Program Success

by Wade Gilbert



Maximize the development of your athletes and team throughout the year, and just maybe win a postseason title in the process. Coaching Better Every Season: A Year-Round Process for Athlete Development and Program Success presents a blueprint for such success, detailing proven coaching methods and practices in preseason, in-season, postseason, and off-season.


Any Recommendations?


So, there you have it. Some of our favourite books in the field.


Have we missed any that you particularly like and want to add to the list? Let us know. You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter.


Happy reading!


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