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Clueless Finn » Blog Archive » Friday fun: Animating passing patterns

Friday fun: Animating passing patterns

In social network analysis world there are tools to visualize static networks, like friendship, communication, trade, etc. Examples of such tools are Pajek and Netdraw and more programmatic tools like GUESS. However if one wants to visualize the change of network over time, possibilities are much more limited. One can for example calculate various network metrics (like centrality, betweenness) on different time points and plot these values on a graph. Another possibility is to use SoNIA. Some time ago I experimented with that tool using ultimate passing data as a data set.

The game in question is women’s final in WUGC 2004, and the animation is for Finnish team as the players on Finnish team were easier for me to recognize from the DVD than Canadian players. I have similar data for men’s final for both teams (Condors and Furious George) so I might try in the future to create an animation of those teams too.

The numbers of the players in this animation are not jersey numbers, they are just sequential numbers starting from 1. Names or jersey numbers would be more descriptive. Black arcs are completed passes, green arcs goals, red arcs are turnovers. The length of the arcs corresponds to the length of the passes. The players were also divided in two groups using cluster analysis (the players in the right were more in the same lineups than with players from the left, and vice versa).

Judge yourself, is this kind of animation of any use or not. For one, it shows different pass patterns (like cyclic pattern such as give-n-go’s, and strings of players a to b to c to d), but still… hmmm…

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