Wrestlers Deserve Elite Stats

 Posted: 1-Jun-2019   |    Author: Gardner Wheeler
 Keywords:  Wrestling Stats Do More With Stats Time For Change

When comparing stats available in folkstyle wrestling to stats available in other sports, we come up lacking. And, that is our focus at 3D Wrestler Stats -- to Do More with Stats!

Aim Higher Photo by Gardner Wheeler - Path to Glaciers on Unsplash

A Shift in Thinking

A long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far away, I talked with my wrestling teammates after our high school wrestling banquet and the following conversation ensued:

  • Teammate(s): Wheeler, you know the only reason you got the Most Reversals award, right?
  • Me: What do you mean, I deserved that award! (possibly somewhat defensively)
  • Teammate(s): Yeah, maybe, but the real reason you got it was because you suck at takedowns!!!

I don't remember what I said at that point, but I remember what I thought. Damn, their right. And, almost in the same moment how could I calculate that? Lastly I remember thinking: why wasn't there an easy way to see that number? As an 18 year old semi-dedicated high school student I had no idea. In other words, questions but no answers. But the questions resonated with me somehow.

Lots of Questions

Back to the Future

I'm guessing this conversation sounds familiar to you, because a very similar conversation happened at my son's high school wrestling banquet a few years back. The same comparison was made and the kid with the most reversals was once again derided by his teammates. It was literally a back to the future moment.

At this point, with many years of calculating software performance metrics for IT projects and having started volunteering as my son's wrestling team's statistician --> I knew I could calculate something with more depth than # of reversals. I knew I could start figuring out how to do more with wrestling stats than just count occurrences.

I started some rudimentary calculations and kept thinking about it from time to time. About 6 months later I woke up one morning with an idea on how to take all of the stats and turn them into tools to help wrestlers of any skill level up their game.

Just 1s and 0s

Digging Deeper

After several rounds of analysis, conversations with other coaches, as well as reviews by colleagues in the IT field, I've been able to refine an approach that enables teams to gain deeper insight into wrestler performance and starts to provide the greatest sport with better stats. The approach is called the Wrestling Analytics Power Rating System (WAPRS©). Special thanks to coaches Mike DeRoehn from UW-Platteville and Jeff Humpherys from Copper Hills HS for their reviews and handiwork in making the system better and cross-checking the numbers to confirm accuracy.

In doing this I focused on three aspects:

  1. Taking a 3-dimensional approach to comparative analytics -- Relying on just 1 number is definitely not enough. Having 2 numbers is better, but adding in the 3rd comparative operator usually gets you much closer to true data analytics that can drive wrestler performance in a positive direction. For example our Neutral Power Rating (FPR) compares: times on your feet vs. your takedowns vs. how many no takedown situations occurred.
  2. Using a common scale to represent the comparative analytics -- I landed upon the scale of 0.000 to 1.000, thinking of the baseball term, he's batting a thousand (1.000) so that a common scale could be utilized for all ratings. This even works for existing comparative stats, e.g., Converting the "Dominance Score" to the WAPRS© scale, i.e., the Team Point Efficiency Rating (TPER) results in the following:
    • A 4.5 (out of 6) Dominance Rating converts to a 0.750 TPER
    • A 3 (out of 6) Dominance Rating converts to a 0.500 TPER
  3. Finding a way to the data -- still working on the full solution to this one, but teams with quality match action (takedowns, reversals, etc.) data in their TrackWrestling season's OPC - or teams with their season's matches in TrackWrestling or FloArena with quality match action data, can already see great things.

In Conclusion

We hope you enjoy the stats we've put together for some of the top college wrestlers in the country on our Hodge Stats Analytics Page and consider hiring 3D Wrestler Stats as your team's virtual statistician.

The Building Blocks

3D Wrestler Stats
What I love is getting back to coaching & designing practices I know will help our wrestlers, not to mention spending more time with my family. 3D Wrestler Stats lays out wrestling stats in an easy to read format for my team & for each individual wrestler, saving me hours of time and paperwork as well as providing valuable insights into each wrestler's performance.
Coach Jeff Humpherys