Welcome to another edition of “Monday Metrics”, our weekly feature where we discuss statistics and analytics with various coaching staffs across all levels of hockey.
This week, our guest is Joel Beal, Associate Head Coach at Sacred Heart University. The Pioneers have been harnessing the power of analytics for three seasons.
“Each year we have been able to tweak our reporting and our data collection to further understand what is occurring during those 60 minutes of a game from a statistical standpoint. The customization ability of the Bench Metrics software has been crucial to our ability to grow and learn and understand some of the finer points and details of what is occurring on the ice. We have fundamentally changed the way we evaluate what a “scoring chance” is, and the software has provided us with the ability to alter how those chances are generated and tracked on a team and individual basis.”
Beal notes that the software works well with other tools the team is using. “We are now able to sync up our data entry with the video program we are currently using (Steva Hockey) so that after we have a game broken down on film the data entry process into the database is seamless.”
It doesn’t take long for the strength of analytics to be evident. “The depth of the data is most noticeable right away,” Beal states. “What I mean by that is that in the past we have been able to accumulate a lot of data manually but it was very difficult to analyze trends over a larger sample size (last 5 games, last 10 games, road games, etc.). We now have an entire database at our fingertips to be able to analyze a lot of different variables instantly.” He adds, “The quantity of various reporting is also a huge asset. In the past, various reports has been time consuming and difficult to produce – we can produce reports instantly on a variety of different metrics. While we collect a variety of statistics, but the primary stats we look at nightly are scoring chances by system, corsi, face-offs, penalties, and time on ice.”
“Keeping our stats in a database and now having data at our fingertips has saved us a lot of time, which allows us to focus on other aspects of our team – that has been huge for a program like ours with a limited staff compared to some other teams. For us, analytics is not used as the ‘be all, end all’ in terms of our decision making, but it certainly helps guide us in certain directions or validate our beliefs with concrete numbers. It has helped us also in terms of planning and preparing our team for the upcoming week of practice based on certain things we need to work that has shown up in the analysis.”
Check back next week for another edition of “Monday Metrics”.