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Showing posts from October, 2014

If Data Falls in a Forest

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A friend of mine recently related a conversation he had with an experienced team sport scout. This scout valued completeness and correctness very highly and has a philosophy of:

"The scout file is a document unto itself, for its own sake."
I would actually argue the opposite, that it is only a scout document IF it is used for the purpose it was intended. 
Rather than having a philosophy that capturing every possible thing is critical in order to be thorough, I believe the emphasis should be on capturing as little as possible that doesn't end up getting used. Surely this is a better use of resources?
The problem here is that this philosophy fights a perception that being incomplete is the same as being incorrect. But this is not the case. Sometimes (often) 'completeness' is irrelevant. If I split a $100 dinner bill with two friends, we each owe $33.333333333333 recurring cents. But this level of completeness, while accurate, is meaningless in practical terms.
I&#…

Pyramid Schemes

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There is a theory in sport development called the Sports Participation Pyramid. Fundamentally, it says that you progress through stages of Participation and Development through to Elite. It also says that the more athletes you have in Participation, the more will progress to Elite. Basically, it is saying sport development is natural selection.


This makes sense.

Hang on, it actually makes no sense at all. The 'pyramid' only actually says that, through natural selection, some proportion of the entire playing population will end up being better than the rest of that same population. Which I'm happy to concede. The problem is that there is no guarantee that your best will be competitive with the rest of the world's best, that your best will be the same as the rest of the world's 'elite'. (Unless you play a sport that no other country in the world plays! Yes, I'm talking about you American Football and Aussie Rules Football!)

International competition is …