Sunday 14 November 2021

Football Analytics' Big Own Goal

Just a small vent regarding what a poor job the early analytics community did and continue to do when naming metrics. I know it's been widely pointed out, but "expected goals" is an awful name for the premier metric and nothing screams elitism and jargon than almost always going to acronyms. xG, PSxG, xA, NSxG may be easily understood by anyone who has immersed themselves in the topic, but as someone who has tried to get these ideas to a wider, more general football obsessed audience, they are an immediate barrier. It's almost certainly too late to begin using titles that use everyday language *and* are self explanatory, chance quality, for example rather than expected goals or on target chance quality, rather than post shot expected goals, (which isn't even accurate!). If you need a glossary to write an article about a team or player, who've failed. If you need to write "expected goals, which is"........... The same. Numerical values and decimal places are usually enough to disengage otherwise passionate fans of a sport. Chuck in jargon and you're almost inviting a negative reaction, regardless of the points you are trying to highlight. Three rules of naming metrics. 1) Don't use acronyms. 2) Use familiar language, ideally associated with the sport. 3) DUA

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