It’s a simple game, Lacrosse. Score more than the other guy and you win. To score more however, you need to typically have the ball more than the other guy. You can accomplish this in several ways (make more saves for one) but the chief statistic we use and one coaches harp on repeatedly, is the looseball.
A looseball is a ball that is not in the possession of any player and therefore can be obtained by any player on the floor. Collect a looseball and your team can score. Miss a looseball and you can find yourself trudging to the bench after being scored upon. Win the looseball battle and you win the game 9 times out of 10.
The question though is, are all looseballs essential to the team’s success or are certain types of looseballs MORE important to a victory than others? Since Lacrosse boils down to goals and goals are the product of scoring chances or shots it would seem that in some instances a looseball that either denies an opponent a shot attempt or gives your team a second consecutive shot attempt would be more important to team success than picking up a looseball at mid-floor.
We at LiveLaxBlog have decided to study this phenomena which we call, the Looseball Plus (or LB+). A LB+ occurs when an offensive player recovers a ball for his team AFTER a shot at net and which leads to a subsequent shot attempt in the same possession. For the Defence, a LB+ occurs when a defensive player or goalie recovers a ball BEFORE any shot attempt by the Offence on that possession. All other looseball recoveries are simply Looseballs for the purpose of our experiment.
With that in mind, we will be using the 2012 NLL season as a barometer of the effect of LB+ on a team’s winning percentage. For each game we will be tabulating Looseballs and LB+ for each player. We will publish a weekly update, usually on Wednesday, with that week’s LB+ Leaders and the LB+ season leaders for both individuals and teams. Consider it our effort to push the analysis of the sport to a new level.
On top of that, we will be looking at a couple of other new statistics and will debut them as the season progresses. It is our hope that we will find new stats that show how effective (or efficient) an individual player is and how positively (or negatively) they impact their team’s success.
Look for our LB+ stats next week. One game in a weekend is not enough to get a true feel for the statistic. If you have any questions or comments please contact us. We are always happy to discuss and fine tune things to make them work for the game.