by Kimball Kjar
I’ve been perplexed in media coverage, particularly here in the US, to see a rampant case of what I call “Apples to Oranges Reporting.”
A number of notable bloggers and reporters of rugby here in the US use a method of comparative analysis to assess a team’s strength and their related performances.
For example, with Team A beating Team B by 15 points and Team B beating Team C by 10 points, it stands to judgment that Team A should beat Team C handily in a possible fixture.
Rhetorically, if Team C beats Team A, how do we settle this break down in logic?
For decades the majority of reporting rugby here in the US has only been scores and short summaries with little to no actual video footage for people to assess.
And as such, I can hardly blame them for using this “Apples to Oranges Reporting” method. They’ve had little else to rationally measure the total competitive landscape of rugby here in the US.
The problem with this brand of reporting, besides it obvious lack of effort and research, is that the general rugby public, coaches, players and fans alike, seem to have fallen into this same pitfall of assessing the game of rugby and the teams they coach or play for or against.
All too often I talk to coaches who compare their performance in a game against the performances of a future opponent, whether supposedly superior or not. And most of the time, because of scheduling, those coaches haven’t even seen their future opponent play and only have past scores on offer.
And from these scores it seems the coaches then not only discuss how they will do against their future opponent, but more surprisingly, begin to build game plans around what they’re going to do in that respective game.
Why is this harmful?
Well, I don’t believe I need much column space to explain the answer, but please it to say evaluation of one’s self or another shouldn’t ever be done in context of a third party. It’s like deciding if you’re fat or skinny by looking into the appearance-warping circus fun-house mirrors.
The analysis of a team, one’s own or another, should use the following basic method:
This is a very high level view on the use of reading a game.
The point is that coaches and players a like fall into the “Apples & Oranges Reporting” method by just looking at scores without really looking in depth at the performance of a team.
Looking at the performance with a critical eye, rather than as a fan, requires focus and consistency.
To help me do this when I was a player, I’d keep a personal stat sheet of any game I watched, whether my own or of another set of teams. This forced me to keep track of the true happenings within a game—set piece won or lost, line breaks, turn overs, poaches, etc.
After doing this the subtle strategies and tactics of the game came to view for me, and more importantly, the execution of the players and how well their performances were on the day, were more readily noticeable.
Reading a game is a talent that can be developed and honed with practice, just like any other rugby-related skill.
And for a coach of the rising generation of rugby players, the better we can read a game, then the better they will be able to read a game as well.
Get away from reading scores on websites and even the PR spin from coaches or players on how a game was won or lost. With the game growing at its current pace and with the onset of greater video and social media technologies, this is becoming more and more available to coaches, players and even fans.
Approach any game you’ve not seen in person with skepticism. Not only will you save yourself the chance of losing a game before it’s even played, but you’ll also become more aware of the issues that need attending within your own team.
As the mantra goes: “Seeing is believing.” Especially in the game of rugby.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.