How the “High Ball Recovery” Statistic is Helping Football Teams Win

Data is absolutely crucial in football nowadays and the "High ball recovery" statistic can help a team improve its performance and realize its full potential.

High Ball Recovery statistic writen on a football pitch

Football has come a long way from the days when dusty chalkboards and gut instincts were the main drivers of strategic brilliance. In the modern era of football, data has completely reshaped the competitive landscape and has become the reliable sidekick of most coaches across the highest levels of competitive play.

Not too long ago, you had to purchase a newspaper or a sports magazine just to see how your favorite team was performing during the season. Nowadays, we can extrapolate thousands of unique data parameters that can give light to even the smallest of details connected to player and team performance.

With football becoming more dynamic and competitive by the year, the usage of data analysis has become integral to every aspect of the game, from scouting and player recruitment to tactics and strategic approach.

Why is Data in Football Important?

In the current state of football, where strategic prowess and structured team play are the foundations of nurturing a winning culture, understanding the capabilities of your assets and the best ways to utilize them is critical to performing at the highest level of play. And similarly to other new technologies, it might be difficult for some to grasp the value of big data technologies in football and even harder to appreciate its impact.

In the most basic of terms, however, data provides teams, coaches, and technical staff with much-needed answers to their utmost burning questions. “Which formation would be most effective against this team?”, “Who should I start at midfield today?”, “Could this player become the next Messi?”. And although we do not have a magic ball that predicts the future (yet), the conclusions we can derive from data explore a much deeper level of football, one which is imperceptible to the human eye.

The Power of Data

Nowadays, cutting-edge AI technologies and custom indexes allow for the instantaneous generation of game scenarios and events that provide custom insights and metrics that go far beyond the common offensive and defensive parameters we often see in the media. Although one might view data as just a bunch of random numbers, it is those details that separate the good teams from the great ones.

A critical area where data has helped clubs improve their performance is in tracking high-ball recoveries. The highball recoveries index refers to the number of times a team can regain possession of the ball in the opponent's first third of the pitch.

This is a crucial metric for teams to measure, as it allows teams to regain possession in areas where they can quickly transition into the attack and create scoring opportunities. Kama.Sports data science team has developed an algorithm that automatically calculates the number of high recoveries for each team, providing valuable insights into each team's tactics and strategies. We applied the highball philosophy to the 2022/2023 TIM Serie A season and the results are quite interesting.

High Ball Recoveries per 90 Minutes

ACF Fiorentina is currently the leader in highball recoveries, maintaining a season-high average of 3.8 high recoveries per 90 minutes. The Florence-based team is followed by SSC Napoli and Atalanta B.C. who average 3.6 and 3.5 respectively. However, the data goes even more in-depth to provide us insights into the effectiveness of teams at converting high recovery situations into scoring opportunities.

High Ball Recoveries per 90 Minutes in the Serie A.

High Ball Recoveries Resulting in a Shot on Goal

AC Milan is the most effective team in this regard, with 35.4% of high recovery situations resulting in a shot on goal (HR > 70m + fin), five of which directly resulted in a goal. These statistics highlight AC Milan's ability to quickly and effectively transition from defense to offense and take advantage of their opponents’ turnovers to create scoring opportunities.

High Ball Recovery Situations Resulting in a Shot on Goal.

High Ball Recoveries From Goal Kicks

On the other hand, Lecce records the highest number of high ball recoveries from opponents' goal kicks, followed by SSC Napoli and FC Internazionale Milano. This indicates that Lecce has a tendency to press high up the pitch and force opponents into attempting long balls or clearances, which allows them to win the ball back and use their number’s advantage to quickly transition into the offensive zone.

High Ball Recoveries from Goal Kicks.

The above-described parameters are just the tip of the iceberg and provide a mere glimpse into the impact and vitality of data in modern football. For a team to achieve its goals, avoid failure, and establish itself as industry leader in performance and technical capacity, it needs to stay in touch with the newest technologies and take full advantage of their capabilities. This is where Kama.Sports come into play.

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About Kama.Sport

Kama.Sport is a cutting-edge software and data science company specializing in sports data, digital transformation, web services, and the 4.0 industry. Kama provides high-tech solutions that enhance the outcomes of both tactical and strategic decisions, support a team’s competitive development, and aid in their digital transition.

Kama’s all-in-one platform integrates the world’s most advanced sports data and technology to help coaches, teams, leagues, and federations structure their work and operate more efficiently. Kama’s tailored solutions allow teams to simultaneously analyze both proprietary and third-party inputs, streamlining operations and providing football teams with an edge in a highly competitive industry.

Learn more about Kama here.