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Sports Analytics: A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and Other Decision Makers Hardcover – 2 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (2 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231162928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231162920
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 448,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Authors

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Product Description


This quick, interesting read is a valuable addition to the sports management field. It brings together information that is proprietary, to a significant degree, in the sports industry and therefore not readily available. It will appeal both to readers looking for guidance in setting up a statistical analysis system for their sport organization, as well as to general readers who have an interest in professional sport and team decision making. -- James Masteralexis, Western New England University Outstanding! This is a serious look at the challenges of bringing analytics into the 'actionable' realm within an organization, with great ideas and stories based on some of Benjamin C. Alamar's own experiences. -- Roland Beech, director of analytics, Dallas Mavericks Getting coaches and general managers to listen and understand the numbers is a classic problem for high-level stat geeks in pro sports. In this brisk narrative, Benjamin C. Alamar takes us inside that process, using telling anecdotes from his colleagues and his own experience as a consultant with the Oklahoma City Thunder. This is a great read for job seekers, teams interested in improving their own analytics platform, and smart fans wanting a peek inside team decision making. -- Zach Lowe, staff writer for Grantland Alamar combines first-hand experience as an analytics consultant with investigative research to provide an insider's view of team sports decision making. Using industry examples instead of complicated formulas or equations, he is able to bridge the gap between the executive suite and sports fans. This is a great read for anyone interested in learning more about how the sports world operates behind the scenes. -- Brian C. Kopp, vice president of strategy and development and head of Sports Solutions Group, STATS LLC

About the Author

Benjamin C. Alamar is a professor of sport management at Menlo College and a sports analytics consultant/researcher. He has consulted with a variety of teams in the NFL and NBA, including five seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and with a variety of companies in sports analytics. He has published numerous research studies in sports analytics and has written on sports analytics for outlets such as ESPN, Analytics Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Additionally, Alamar is the founding editor of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, the first peer-reviewed academic journal for research in sports analytics. Dean Oliver is the director of Production Analytics at ESPN, leading the development of sports analytics for the network. He worked for seven years in the NBA with the front offices of the Denver Nuggets and Seattle Supersonics, using analytics to improve trades, free agency, the draft, and coaching tactics. The contents of his book, Basketball on Paper, are now used broadly across the NBA. Oliver has a Ph.D. in engineering and has years of experience as an advance scout, collegiate scout, and coach.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The guidance in this book is bland, generic and uninspiring. The tools, methods and issues discussed will be familiar to many people because they have been comprehensively and more engagingly documented in general business books. There is little here that is unique to the analytics function in a sporting organization.

A disappointing effort because Ben Alamar has considerable experoience in this area. Maybe there isn't enough in the subject matter to warrant a whole book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Opens up the thoughts of how information within a sports community should be arranged and managed. Thought it spoke a lot of sense with new ways on how managers and decisions makers, as they call them in the book, should be given information. Very american orientated with the sports they discuss and how they put their theories into practice.
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By MARIONA SALVADOR on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's one of the most useful books on sports analytics. I recommend it to anyone interested in sports and statistics.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Very generic and basic 12 Nov. 2013
By Wes Lindon - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I expected something else from this book. I was looking for discussions about specific cases of sports analytics impacting decision making and making a difference in the output of a sports agent (be it an athlete, a team, a scout, a sports investment fund). I was looking for discussions about specific KPIs, how they are captured, the reasoning underlying their conception and why they add (or fail to add) value.

Instead, I found the book to be quite generic and basic, containing very little that someone who has any experience as an analyst in any industry would not know.

Also, I felt that the book reads more like a manual, with a very bland narrative and no story telling.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gameplan & Context Long Overdue 6 Aug. 2013
By Tony DeFeo - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The concept of analytics in sports and the prospect of its ultimate utility resulting in competitive advantage has progressively gained traction at the organizational level in professional sports. However, despite its growing legitimacy, many executives and decision makers have struggled to employ a comprehensive strategy to realize the full potential of an analytics initiative. Many times these efforts are impeded due to the daunting challenge of forming and integrating a complete analytics program that can compliment and support the goals of the organization, which without help can be a massive undertaking that can be discouraging, easily procrastinated, or only partially executed.

Mr. Alamar has done a masterful job in providing those decision makers and fans alike a comprehensive blueprint from which they can gain a contextual understanding of the distinct components that need to be configured to ensure success. I found this book to be extremely through in explaining both the advantage an analytics program can have in an uber competitive setting, but also the role of quality personnel and processes as the prime ingredients of a successful analytic plan. Whether it is the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, or the Champions League, success is always at a premium and sustained winning is usually found in the margins. This book offers a unique resource that competently describes the interaction among leadership, data management, information systems, and predictive analysis required to produce new data in a timely manner for more efficient decision making that ultimately promotes more successful outcomes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Introduction to Sports Analytics 11 July 2013
By Andres Rodriguez - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Alamar sets forth a comprehensive, yet easily readable in depth introduction to sports analytics. The book is a perfect mixture of concepts, explanations and stories, which makes the book very enjoyable and addictive (I read it in two days). This is a sport neutral book (only anecdotes and examples are sport specific), which makes the content applicable to all sports. It is a must read for anyone interested in sports, from a decision maker at a team, all the way to the most casual of fans as it is an understandable introduction to a very complex and increasingly influential facet of sports.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great book, easy read 30 July 2013
By Barry Cohen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Alamar writes a very informative and entertaining book detailing the importance of data analytics in sports. This is a fascinating read for any saber-minded sports fan, and an absolute must read for serious fans of the NBA. In "The Blind Side," Michael Lewis compares Alamar to Bill James and like James, Alamar is able to break down serious data metrics in a clear, insightful, and lively manner. Getting an inside peek into the front offices of major sports franchises is fascinating. I highly recommend this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating and Accessible 9 Aug. 2013
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I'm not directly involved in either sports or analytics, I found this book compelling. The writing is clear and comprehensive. I particularly appreciate Alamar's Blueprint for Analytic Success.
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