Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blog versus Spy

When I go on Google Analytics, a hit tracking web application, I notice the increased number of hits from cities of teams that we'll be competing against this weekend. I've made an effort not to speculate or report too much on our teams status for regionals. Not that I think I'll reveal some key secret, but why risk playing around with team and individual psychology when there's no need to.

Are there team risks with a member of your team regularly posting on the blog-o-sphere or even RSD, and should each team have a policy on what there teammate can and can't reveal or discuss? A similar topic of discussion can be viewed here. Both interesting questions, especially for a sport that lacks media attention and the majority of the information is passed online by those who participate in the bigger events.

First off, I guess we need to question what information could a person reveal that would cause an impact. The play book, if a team has one, is obviously a private piece of information that has some value, but without an audible indicator it is hard to guess (though certain cuts become obvious) what a team will do even if you know the possible plays they run from a set stack. Knowing a team's philosophy in terms of what they want to on defense and how they're going to counter your particular style of play might give you insight on how to throw back a curve ball or break down their defense. However, with any sort of scouting, all this information should be available or inferable if you're willing to take the time.

I'm somewhat convinced that even if a person had access to all the personal communications that go on in a team, the benefit would be small. This, however, does not mean that a team should simply give away that small benefit. We play a game of slight advantages, and the closer you get to the top, the games get much tighter in terms of what a small advantage can do.

This brings us to team policies for external communication. Initially, you have to trust your teammates and expect that they won't give away an advantage, and expect that it's an unwritten rule that the team secrets are...secrets. If you sense that too much information is getting out, than maybe a captain or coach needs to step in and deal with the situation.

Finally, what if one of your captains is the one writing on the web? Similar rules apply, and only when it's a perceived problem should someone mention it.

So, what about speculation as opposed to information dissemination? This ones a little trickier. Should you be speculating on how your team will perform in a particular tournament? Personally, I can't see how speculation could influence performance, but that's for me. From what I've discussed with other people, speculation can cause some strange things to happen in people's minds. It's another one of those grey areas that doesn't seem to be a factor, but for the sake of the team, it might be better to avoid speculation and not to risk anything.



Danny Karlinsky said...

this was a great post. i was actually going to touch on it as well with my college season coming up.
good luck, make it to the show.

Robert said...

wall board material can be a strong motivator. posting odds or predicting results in games that you are going to play in often gets comments from other teams... i know.

mostly what i do is in fun but you will note that i did not predict cuc masters results because i did not want to cause any distractions to my team or motivate anyone else.

league playoffs on the other hand... fair game

The Pulse said...

I had a moratorium on strategy/player posts during the summer imposed by my coach, and I expect the same to be true in the spring even if it's not expressed verbally.

Besides, after a few college tournaments and ultivillage clips, it will be far more interesting to talk about the *other* teams.