Time of Possession: technical aspects

This blog post summarizes the technical details of how the data and graphics in Analyzing time of Possession in 7s were generated. Writing that blog post was an educational exercise to get familiar with the Python statistical programming ecosystem. Up until this point, most of the analysis work at Starting 7s was conducted in the R programming language. Inspired by the words of educational technologist Seymour Papert*, who famously said “You can’t think seriously about thinking without thinking about thinking about something,” this analysis and blog post were conducted in a similar spirit. You can’t seriously learn to use a new tool without learning to use the new tool to do something.

The remainder of this blog post describes the tools and techniques used to conduct the possession analysis in Python.

* Perhaps not coincidentally, it is worth noting that Seymour Papert was South African, and occasionally used rugby examples to animate his thought experiments.

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Analyzing time of Possession in 7s

 

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World Rugby tracks time of possession for all World Rugby Sevens Series matches. Starting 7s recently published an analysis of time of possession data from the 2014-2015 series in order to understand its impact on 7s gameplay. The analysis considered:

  • The relationship between possession and scoring
  • The relationship between possession and winning
  • The impact of possession in matches including non-core teams

This blog post discusses the article’s findings and shares some directions for future analysis.

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