A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I wanted to become a copywriter. I dreamed of writing television and billboard ads. One of my ad copies did appear on a billboard. I worked a lot on social media. Sometimes I can be quite creative. But, somehow, in the end, I ended up working on a more analytical type of job. Although, I consider what I do as a great combo of creativity and analytics. Recently I had a conversation about gaming which got me thinking. I played a lot of video games while growing up. But, was my passion and long tradition of playing Football Manager responsible for the further development of my analytical side?
How is a Football Manager connected to analytics?
In Football Manager you manage large data sets (for example budgets, player stats, training stats, etc.). Through data analysis, you can make changes that can have an effect on the final outcome. And this is the base of analytics. Your club is your client, the club’s data is your client’s analytics and final outcomes are your client’s business objectives.
Running match analysis:
You can buy any player you want if it suits your budget. Somebody else would say if you’re cheating, you can buy anybody, it works the same way as in the real world. But, that’s not me. For example, if you are looking for a great striker, you clearly should look for a player that will have high finishing ( macro conversion) as one of the attributes. You should also check what is his current form, is he scoring etc. You got a lot of data to check before you make your final decision. Don’t forget about micro-conversions — his moral, the frequency of injuries, or for example team adjustability. Everything is important. Also, if you catch a player that’s popular, you may sell more t-shirts (unlike when Barcelona signed Paulinho, no pun intended).
You can check which tactics brought you the best results and utilize them to beat your competitors. If you run a competitor analysis, you can get many insights into which tactics can be perfect while playing against them (focus on their bad sides).
Setting up tactics:
Everything, as in business, comes down to analysis and getting insights. If you skip that, you can only rely on luck. Since I’m not a really lucky person by nature, I always prefer to rely on data.
If the statistics are boring, you’ve got the wrong numbers. Edward Tufte
Use the data you have and start with a plan. And a backup plan. If all falls down, get harder in a nick of time and pull a backup plan for that plan. Remember that it isn’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. Get that “plan Z” from your sleeve and change tactics on the current real-time data you have. If someone isn’t playing ok, pull them out. If you can’t keep possession, focus on shorter passes and keeping the ball longer. Don’t be a coward. Never stop fighting. Give it all you can. If “plan Z” doesn’t work, burn it down, switch to overload and consider luck after all. Comfort yourself with cute Corgi gifs.
Just kidding. Never give up! Here is an example of a wise strategy built on data analysis and insights:
It’s sure I don’t play Football Manager as I played it when I was a teen. I have a more strategic approach and I try to use what I do at work to get better (*crunching data sounds*). I analyze better. I get insights from data better. Did Football Manager (or any other game) had a real influence on the development of my analytical side? Who knows. All I know is I enjoyed this analytical game before and I enjoy it now (in a bit different way). That’s enough for me.